French entertainment and electro chain Fnac Darty is looking into the possibilities of saving toy store chain La Grande Récré, despite current owner Ludendo's plans to reboot the struggling chain.
Powerful alternative for Ludendo
In March, the 1600 employees of France's largest toy store chain (second only to also suffering Toys'R'Us) were told that owner Ludendo had sought protection from creditors at a Paris court, citing an ever shrinking toys market and increasing competition from online players like Amazon and Cdiscount. Last month, a plan was launched to reboot La Grande Récré with only its 104 most profitable French stores, closing 62 stores in France itself and all 16 stores in Belgium while aiming to sell the stores in Spain and Switzerland. A third of all jobs in the chain's headquarters would be cut and the repayment of the 153 million euro in debts will be spread over the next ten years.
As it turns out however, Fnac Darty also has filed a plan to save La Grande Récré: according to French newspaper Le Figaro, the electronics chain too would like to keep the 104 stores open. Fnac Darty would not be willing to also take over La Grande Récré's debts however, making this acquisition somewhat less likely. Fnac's interests in the toy store chain are no surprise: in 2012 already the then Fnac CEO Alexandre Bompard stated he would like to invest more in the toys market in order to diversify his company's range. At the end of July, a judge will decide which plan will be called upon to save the chain.