Mastermind Toys to shut 18 shops, will promote bulk of its enterprise to Unity Acquisitions

Ailing toy retailer Mastermind GP Inc. says it has reached a deal to promote the majority of its enterprise to an organization representing three massive names within the Canadian retail world.

The Toronto-based chain introduced Monday that it has signed an asset buy settlement with Unity Acquisitions Inc., an organization run by Joe Mimran, Frank Rocchetti and David Lui.

Mastermind and Unity didn’t disclose the monetary phrases of their deal, which remains to be topic to courtroom approval however is predicted to shut in January.

The deal consists of the vast majority of Mastermind Toys retailer areas and can enable a “vital” portion of the corporate’s 800 staff to proceed with the enterprise.

A consultant for Mastermind Toys mentioned the precise variety of jobs impacted by the closures has not been finalized. The corporate additionally declined an interview with CBC Information.

“The acquisition aligns with Unity’s technique to reinforce and develop extraordinary Canadian manufacturers,” Joe Mimran mentioned in a press release.

“We’re thrilled to have the chance to work with the crew at Mastermind Toys and take the model and the enterprise to the subsequent degree.”

Mimran is finest identified for founding Membership Monaco, creating the Joe Recent model for grocer Loblaw Corporations Ltd., and in newer years, serving to revive hat enterprise Tilley Endurables Inc. with Rocchetti.

In the meantime, Lui has hung out at Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd.’s manufacturers Sport Chek and Mark’s, and is chief govt of clothes retailer Equipment and Ace, which the trio additionally personal. The group additionally owns Casca Footwear, a premium shoe firm from Vancouver.

Retail Insider Media writer Craig Patterson informed CBC Information he was shocked to see Unity Acquisitions purchase Mastermind, provided that the acquisitions agency has a foothold within the vogue retail world.

“In the event that they’re bringing on a toy retailer then it seems like Unity could possibly be perhaps seeking to diversify its holdings and who is aware of [what] they could purchase subsequent,” Patterson mentioned.

Unity has “a very good management crew behind them that has seen success with retail throughout all types of various companies up to now,” he added.

Filed for creditor safety final month

The Canadian toy retailer filed for creditor safety on Nov. 24 — Black Friday, the most important buying day of the 12 months.

Mastermind is owned by Birch Hill Fairness Companions Administration Inc. and has been dealing with growing competitors, disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic and extra just lately, a deteriorating economic system that has prospects spending much less.

These elements have been so extreme that Mastermind has been making an attempt to promote its enterprise.

On the time, retail analyst Doug Stephens informed CBC Information {that a} decline in specialty retail, stress from Amazon, and a altering client market through which youngsters favour digital video games over analog toys seemingly contributed to Mastermind’s circumstances.

“When you’ve gotten that sort of aggressive stress and a probably weak economic system forward of us with job insecurity and monetary insecurity, it makes for a troublesome surroundings,” Stephens mentioned.

WATCH | Mastermind Toys filed for creditor safety final month: 

Canada’s Mastermind Toys recordsdata for creditor safety

Properly-known Canadian specialty toy and youngsters’s e book retailer Mastermind GP Inc. has been granted safety from its collectors because it struggles to restructure amid monetary challenges and a slowing economic system. It’s looking for permission to shut some shops after the vacation season because it wrestles with thousands and thousands in debt.

The shop started telling prospects final week that it might shut 18 of its 66 shops.

The shops closing embrace 9 areas in Ontario, 4 in Alberta, two in New Brunswick and one every in B.C., Nova Scotia and Manitoba.

An Ontario courtroom granted Mastermind permission to liquidate shops final week, saying the gross sales should be wrapped up by Feb. 29.

Regardless of some shops closing, Mastermind says its vacation gross sales and promotions will proceed. It has additionally launched an prolonged vacation return and change coverage for purchases made on-line and in shops, apart from on the 18 shops conducting liquidation gross sales.

Mastermind’s historical past dates again to 1984, when brothers Andy and Jon Levy opened an academic software program retailer in Toronto. Its recognition satisfied the brothers to show the shop into a sequence and to broaden its merchandise assortment.

By the 2000s, they’d rebranded the corporate to concentrate on instructional toys relatively than software program and renamed the chain Mastermind Toys.

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