The Sterling Toys ‘R’ Us store has begun it liquidation sales, according to a store representative who answered the phone Friday (March 23) morning. The store is featuring discounts up to 30 percent, she said.
One person who went there Friday posted on Facebook that “most everything” was only 10 percent off and the construction sets were only 5 percent off.
The toy-store retail giant announced earlier this month that it is closing its 735 stores in the United States. The company had announced that the liquidation sale would begin March 22, but could not begin until a federal bankruptcy judge approved the plan.
Prior to the 10 a.m. opening March 22, some people huddled in the wind and shadows near the front doors, while others waited for the store to open in the warmth of their vehicles. One of the people waiting outside was Michael Sparks of Ashburn.
“It was quite sad, actually,” Sparks said of learning Toy ‘R’ Us was entering bankruptcy and closing its stores. “I feel like kids today get ripped off a little. There are almost too many options and too much technology.”
Sparks said online shopping, which continues to be the great disrupter against the traditional brick-and-mortar retail chains, doesn’t provide the same magic and mystique of walking into a giant toy store like Toys ‘R’ Us.
“When I was a kid, man, it was exciting to go to Toys ‘R’ Us,” said the 39-year-old. “Soon, you’re going to relegated to the few aisles at Target or Wal-Mart. Another thing I always think about was Blockbuster. You got to look around and you got to choose from all the boxes.”
A 29-year-old man named Bryan, from Herndon, said he has always found what he needed at Toys ‘R’ Us, even as his hobbies have changed over the years
“I was pretty disappointed,” the 29-year-old said. “Now this is where I get all my video games, but when I was younger I would come here for my Star Wars toys and then I got into Pokemon and I would get all my Pokemon cards here.”
Bryan said he could find most of the same games and toys at either Wal-Mart or Target, but Toys ‘R’ Us always had a bigger selection.
“I liked the big aisles, and it (selection) was always bigger at Toys ‘R’ Us,” he said.
Marnie Mix of Leesburg chuckled as she walked up and observed that the first few shoppers lined up outside the toy store were men.
“It’s very sad,” Mix said of Toys ‘R’ Us closing. “It’s always been a staple because you could come in here and look at the toys and feel the toys and see what’s there. I don’t like shopping online.”
Mix pointed to her 10-year-old son, Nathan, and how they used Toys ‘R’ Us to make photographic Birthday or Christmas lists.
“Before Christmas or birthdays we would take pictures of everything and send them out to our families so they would know exactly what he wanted and where they could get it,” she said. “You don’t have to go searching for it online.”
Nathan needed only one word to describe how he felt going to Toys ‘R’ Us.
“Awesome,” he said. “You could always see what they had, but you don’t always know what’s on Amazon.”
After Christmas, Toys ‘R’ Us announced it was closing a few dozen stores, but Sterling was not included in that decision. Now, with the rest of stores closing and starting liquidation sales, shoppers looking to snag a bargain should act fast when the sales start.
“It will be quick,” said Chuck Tatelbaum, a director with Tripp Scott, a Florida law firm, on how quickly the shelves will empty. “No more than 60 days, closer to 30 days.”
The more popular and favorite toys tend to move the fastest, and inventory is likely already slim.
“The [stores] haven’t gotten a lot of new inventory in the last month or two, so a lot of the popular things have probably already sold out,” said Tatelbaum.
Consumers with Toys ‘R’ Us gift cards and Endless Earnings e-gift cards should also hurry. The retailer will honor these forms of payment until April 20. Stores will no longer accept coupons or other rewards.
Stores will accept returns on products purchased before the liquidation for the next 30 days. All purchases made after liquidation sales begin are final, which means they cannot be returned or exchanged.
Toys ‘R’ Us received another jolt Thursday with the news that its found, Charles Lazarus, died. He was 94.