The toy brand JouéClub was appointed on Friday by the Paris Commercial Court to take over almost all of the stores and employees of its competitor La Grande Récré, whose parent company is the subject of liquidation proceedings, announced the buyer to AFP.
JouéClub “takes over 750 of the 770 store and head office employees” of La Grande Récré, “89 of the 101 integrated stores as well as the 48 active franchise contracts in France and abroad. Most of the staff of the stores not taken over will be reassigned to another La Grande Récré store, ”said the buyer in a press release. In total, JouéClub claims to “preserve more than 1,100 direct and indirect jobs”, for a recovery project whose “the amount is 50 million euros”.
JouéClub - a cooperative which defines itself as the largest French network of independent toy professionals with 283 stores in France - indicates that it plans to "relaunch the La Grande Récré brand, which is a benchmark player for the toy market French". The buyer wishes to specify that the two networks “will remain independent of each other, with a specific brand positioning, peripheral and family-oriented for JouéClub, urban and child-oriented for La Grande Récré”.
In April, "at its request", Ludendo Entreprises - parent company of La Grande Récré and which belongs to the galaxy of businessman Michel Ohayon - had obtained from the court the opening of liquidation proceedings concerning it, "with maintenance and continuation of the activity" of the toy brand "in order to allow its recovery". Thursday evening, in a statement to AFP, Michel Ohayon had expressed his "preference" for JouéClub "over all the candidates for acquisition".
The number of candidates for the resumption of La Grande Récré has not been formalized, but three had made themselves known. In addition to JouéClub, another heavyweight in the sector, King Toy, had submitted an offer before retracting. The shoe brand Chaussea was also in the running with a partial project.
With the merger of the two brands, the French toy sector is thus experiencing a new stage in its reorganization, after the takeover in 2020 of the Maxi Toys network by Kingtoy, then the takeover in 2022 of the PicWicToys brand (Toys "R" Us ) by the Irish group Smyths Toys.