Spain’s famous toy chain – Imaginarium – closes stores

by Deborah Cater
Imaginarium. Photo by Leonora (Ellie) Enking Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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One of the most famous toy shops is almost completely disappearing from the streets of Spain. Imaginarium, that beautifully lit shop with magical entrance, will close almost all its stores immediately.

The two Imaginarium stores to remain in Spain are those in Malaga and Zaragoza. The toy chain confirmed on Wednesday to the Spanish newspaper El País, it must close the doors of 41 of the 43 stores. The result is job losses for 111 of the 144 Imaginarium employees.

Unclear how long online ordering will be possible

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the chain is no longer able to keep the stores open and is filing for bankruptcy. Imaginarium says customers can order products online, but at the same time hints that it is not sure whether this sales channel is future-proof.

Unions reported on Thursday they had hoped the stores would remain open until the end of February. Yet many stores closed their doors immediately. The number of store customers has dropped drastically due to the corona restrictions.

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The unions are currently making a case for employees to receive payment in February. Imaginarium announced it is currently negotiating an ERTE scheme for their employees.

Many large chains in Spain suffer from pandemic

Imaginarium is at the end of a line of large chains reducing activities or closing due to the corona crisis. Primark recently announced that it had to lay off thousands of employees because store sales dropped by an average of 60%.

Earlier this month, Heineken announced the Dutch chain must let go 8,000 employees in Europe, including Spain. Topshop, Nissan, Douglas and Arcadia are other brands that are also hit hard by the pandemic and have laid off some of their employees.

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