JouéClub has been formally appointed to take over most of La Grande Récre’s 140 stores and more than 1,000 employees, saving the French toy chain from liquidation.
In April, French company, Ludendo Entreprises – parent company of La Grande Récré – began liquidation proceedings, but the business has now been rescued. The Paris Commercial Court has appointed JouéClub to take over almost all of the stores and employees of its former competitor La Grande Récré, following an application to buy the toy store chain in April.
La Grande Récre, which has a store estate of 140 locations and just over 1,000 employees (including franchises), announced in March that it was looking for new investors. The company was forced to commence liquidation proceedings, “with a view to allowing its recovery”, as it said at the time. The move attracted a number of potential investors, with JouéClub emerging as the succesful bidder.
JouéClub will take over 750 of the 770 stores and the head office of La Grande Récré, and has pledged that most of the staff of the stores not taken over will be reassigned to another La Grande Récré store. In total, JouéClub claims to have preserved “more than 1,100 direct and indirect jobs”.
One of the leaders in the French toy market, JouéClub, which has 290 stores, defines itself as “the largest French network of independent toy professionals”. This takeover makes the company a new, leading force in the French toy market, which is undergoing a period of realignment following the takeover in 2020 of the Maxi Toys network by King Toy, then the takeover in 2022 of the PicWicToys (Toys R Us) brand by Smyths Toys.
La Grande Récré was a former member of the JouéClub cooperative. JouéClub said in a statement that the two brands “share DNA”, and that its objective is to maintain the La Grande Récré network while integrating the brand into the group.
Jacques Baudoz, president of JouéClub, said that the organization will relaunch the La Grande Récré brand, describing it as “a benchmark player for the French toy market”. He confirmed that the two brands “will remain independent of each other, with specific brand positioning, family-oriented for JouéClub and child-oriented for La Grande Récré”