Business

Toytown to open new store in Derry

L-R: Paul McClurg and Gavin Kennedy from Bank of Ireland UK with Toytown boss Alan Simpson.

INDEPDENDENT family-owned retailer Toytown is set to open a new store in Derry.

The Newtownards based company, which employs around 200 staff across 29 stores in Ireland and Britain, is eyeing a new store in Lisnagelvin, due to open in August.

It will mark the firm’s eight outlet in the north, bringing its total on the island to ten.

The company closed all its stores during the coronavirus lockdown.

Managing director Alan Simpson, said Toytown availed of a £1.5 million loan from the Bank of Ireland through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme Scheme (CBILS) to keep the company afloat.

Under the scheme, the UK government guarantees 80 per cent of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months.

"When our stores were closed overnight due to coronavirus, its impact on cash flow was immediate,” said Mr Simpson.

“We made a request to the bank for support and they were very quick to respond and ensure we had all we needed to help us navigate the challenges of Covid-19 so we can come out as a strong business the other side and we will.

"We still have our busiest trading period ahead of us from October through to Christmas and that’s why it’s crucial we are supported and ready to meet our customers’ needs when we can and I’m delighted the bank can help us in that endeavour."

Toytown managing director, Alan Simpson, with Paul McClurg (left) and Gavin Kennedy (right), Bank of Ireland UK.

Gavin Kennedy of Bank of Ireland said the lender had supported around 6,700 business funding requests since mid-March, with 75 per cent made under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).

The BBLS offers loans of up to £50,000 to small and micro businesses, which are 100 per cent backed by the UK Government.

“I am delighted we have been able to continue to support Toytown in this most difficult and challenging period and especially great to see them prepare to safely reopen stores as and when they can,” said Mr Kennedy.

“As with many of our customers they are eager to get back to what they are all about, welcoming and serving the needs of customers’ again."

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