New CEO for Toys“R”Us, Just in Time for Soft Holiday Season?

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The world’s largest toy seller, Toys”R”Us, announced on Wednesday afternoon that it had hired interim CEO Antonio Urcelay as its permanent CEO. The company also hired Hank Mullany as President of its U.S. stores. Toys”R”Us sells its merchandise in over 1,500 stores in the U.S. and around the world. The company is privately held by a group comprising affiliates of Bain Capital Partners LLC, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (NYSE: KKR) and Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO) which acquired the toy seller in 2005 for $6.6 billion.

Urcelay took over as interim CEO in May when the company fired its previous CEO for lackluster sales. Competition from the likes of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) on the ground and Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) over the internet really took on toll on Toys”R”Us sales during the 2012 holiday season.

This year the company has announced plans to hire 45,000 seasonal workers to assist its 70,000 employees during the holiday shopping season. The firm said the seasonal hiring was “on a par” with last year.

Toys”R”Us is a major seasonal employer, surpassing the 35,000 holiday hires expected at J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP), and not far behind Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE: KSS) and Walmart with 53,000 and 55,000 seasonal hires, respectively.

The National Retail Federation has forecast 2013 holiday sales to grow by a relatively modest 3.9% to more than $600 billion, about 15% of which will come from online sales. And that’s likely only if shoppers quickly put the effects of the recent government shutdown behind them.

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