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Toys ‘R’ Us customers’ fury over gift voucher catch: ‘What a joke’

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TOYS ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us gift vouchers will only be honoured for Australian consumers who spend double the value of each valid card in store as the retail giant goes into administration.

The Australian operations of American chain Toys ‘R’ Us was placed under administration on Monday, months after the closure of its US and British stores as the retail sector battles the online shopping boom.

Administrators McGrathNicol said in a statement to news.com.au that gift cards and vouchers would be honoured “provided customers spend an additional equivalent amount” in store.

“In other words, to use a $100 gift card or voucher in full, customers must spend at least an additional $100 in store,” the statement read.

“Gift vouchers will not be honoured online.”

Social media lit up today with comments from furious customers, who said they had paid money for the vouchers and the company therefore “needed to honour the agreement”.

“I had a $300 gift card which meant they wanted me to spend $600 in order for them to honour $300!” one Facebook user wrote.

“Imagine all those poor kids with a birthday gift voucher that parents can’t afford to match the money … so-so sad,” another said.

One posted: “What a joke”.

The business went into voluntary administration after the last bidder involved in an auction to sell the stores pulled out, the administrators said.

There are 44 Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us outlets across Australia as well as a distribution centre in Sydney, with the business employing 700 staff.

The administrators said all stores “will remain open and continue to trade while they urgently explore options for completing a sale of the stand-alone Australian business as a going concern”.

The business could also be recapitalised, they added, without giving further details.

Administration is a process whereby a troubled company seeks independent financial advice regarding its future.

Founded in 1948 as a small childcare store in Washington, DC, Toys ‘R’ Us evolved into one of the world’s most recognisable kids’ brands.

But like other bricks-and-mortar retailers, it has struggled amid the rise of e-commerce and an internet buying culture.

Toys ‘R’ Us announced in March that it would liquidate its US operations and shut down all 735 stores. The British arm of the embattled retailer said in February it was winding down its activities.

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