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Mastermind Toys expanding across Canada despite challenges of retail sector

Last Updated Sep 19, 2017 at 3:00 pm EST

A customer walks into Mastermind Toys store on Queen St. East in Toronto on Tuesday, September 19, 2017. Mastermind Toys is shrugging off the challenges that have beset the retail sector with plans to open more stores this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Donovan

TORONTO – Mastermind Toys is shrugging off the challenges that have beset the retail sector with plans to open more stores this year.

The Canadian retailer said it’s opening its 56th store in Orleans, Ont. Tuesday and plans to have locations open later this year in Sudbury, Ont., Langford, B.C., Fredericton, and Toronto.

The new stores are in addition to the seven Mastermind has already opened this year, while since 2011 the retailer has opened 50 new toy stores as it expands out of Toronto to now have stores in seven provinces.

The latest expansion news comes a day after Toys “R” Us filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States, saying it intends to follow suit in Canada as online competition takes an increasing toll on in-person retailers.

The toy giant said its roughly 1,600 global stores will continue to operate normally, with the vast majority profitable, but it has struggled with the burden of $5 billion in long-term debt.

Brick and mortar retailers continue to face pressure from online competition and changing consumer taste, helping lead to high profile restructurings including Sears Canada’s bankruptcy protection this past June.