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A Florida toy importer braces for retail upheaval

Ashley Mady/Basic Fun/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Most U.S. states have begun to reopen their economies, but Jay Foreman, chief executive of Basic Fun, said he’s more worried than ever.

The Boca Raton, Florida importer sells toys to retailers like Walmart Inc (WMT.N), Target Corp (TGT.N), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), TJX Cos Inc (TJX.N) and J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N), many of which were forced to temporarily shutter their stores because of the pandemic-induced lockdown. About 30% of his customers are still closed.

Some U.S. customers have been unable to pay past bills to Basic Fun, but Foreman said his bigger concern is their worsening financial health.

“We are worried less about what they owe us today and more about what they won’t buy from us tomorrow,” Foreman said.

J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy protection on May 15, with plans here to permanently close about a quarter of its roughly 850 stores.

Foreman expects his sales to fall 20% this year from 2019’s $150 million - an extraordinary reversal from estimated double-digit growth at the beginning of the year.

Basic Fun is one of the millions of U.S. small businesses facing an uncertain future after the new coronavirus shut down shops, restaurants, schools, and travel in the world’s biggest consumer economy. Over the next 12 months, Reuters will chronicle the journey of several owners around the United States.

26 May 2020

News Source Reuters

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