A Christian toyshop entrepreneur has offered his prayers for workers at rival Toys R Us after the retailer was put into administration.
Gary Grant, the founder of toy shop chain The Entertainer, said it is important to get the balance right between spending money online and on the high street, as a change in spending habits is leading to “real people” being out of work.
“I just pray that those people are able to find new employment, I hope that they finish well with their current employment,” Mr Grant told Christian multi-media organisation, Premier.
Mr Grant, a devout Christian, puts his faith at the centre of his business, ensuring The Entertainer, founded in 1981, does not stock any goods incompatible with his beliefs, like Halloween or Harry Potter items, while 10 per cent of profits go to charity.
The entrepreneur also keeps the Sabbath holy by keeping all branches of The Entertainer, which has over 140 stores in the UK and six international stores, closed on a Sunday. He instead insists that his employees spend time with their families.
Last year he even refused to open on Christmas Eve when it fell on a Sunday. Mr Grant said workers and their families are “the greatest casualty” in the fall of high street shops.
“A business goes down and that’s a business but behind the business they are the people. So Toys R Us’ announcements today, I think it’s 3,000 people roughly, are going to lose their jobs – and that’s just a statistic…but those are 3,000 real people, really paying their monthly bills, really trying to feed their families.”
Mr Grant acknowledged the impact online shopping has had on the high street. “It’s really important if we value the high street, that we also spend our money on the high street. That’s not suggesting that we never buy anything online but we need to get the balance right,” he said. His comments come as other major retailers, including Mothercare, also announced they were in financial difficulty.
Picture: Toys ‘R’ Us in Birmingham. The previously successful company has been put into administration. (Aaron Chown/PA).