Posted: June 25, 2018
By Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Toys R Us will be no more after this week.
With less than a week left, the company has emailed shoppers that it will only accept credit cards, not cash or debit for the chain’s final days. Those credit cards include Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.
The email read “Due to the circumstances, we can no longer accept cash or Debit Cards. Credit cards only.”
The message also read that the sales are now between 70 and 90 percent off with limited exclusions.
All sales are final.
The toy retailer, which started liquidating in March, said that all Toys R Us and Babies R Us locations will close by Friday, June 29, according to posts on the company’s social media pages.
Locations that are still open are offering discounts of 60 to 90 percent. (Deals vary, and inventory is limited.) Many stores are also selling the fixtures, NJ.com reported.
There had been hope that some of the 735 stores in the U.S. could remain open after Isaac Larian, MGA Entertainment CEO and the creator of Bratz dolls, offered $675 million to buy some of the U.S. locations, in addition to $215 million for some Canadian stores, but Toys R Us said no, claiming the offer “was well below the liquidation value of the assets he was seeking,” NJ.com reported.
It’s not just North American shoppers who are losing the toy store. It was announced this week that the Toys R Us Australian locations will close. There were 44 stores that some had hoped were going to survive, but now are expected to close over the next few weeks, ABC in Australia reported.
Charles Lazarus, who founded what would become Toys R Us in 1948, has died, company officials confirmed Thursday. He was 94.
The news came just days after officials with the toy store chain announced it would be closing its U.S. stores.
“There have been many sad moments for Toys R Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today’s news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus,” Toys R Us officials wrote Thursday in a tweet. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles’ family and loved ones.”
Michael Goldstein, a friend of Lazarus’ who formerly served as chairman of Toys R Us, told Bloomberg News that Lazarus died Thursday in Manhattan.
"He was the father of the toy business," Goldstein told CNN Money. "He knew the toys and loved the toys and loved the kids who would shop in the stores. His face lit up when he watched kids playing with toys."
In a 1986 article, The Atlantic magazine credited Lazarus as “the person most responsible for loosening Santa’s grip” on the toy industry, expanding sales from a holiday-only to a year-round business.
Lazarus served as a cryptographer during World War II and took over his family’s bicycle shop in Washington D.C. after he returned to the U.S. in 1923, according to The Atlantic. He started to sell baby furniture, The Atlantic reported, but he noticed that he rarely got return customers because of the sturdiness of his stock.
"Toys are a great kind of thing to sell, because they don't last that long," he told the magazine in 1986.
Lazarus served as head of Toys R Us through the company’s sale in 1966 to Interstate Department Stores Inc., and through Interstate’s bankruptcy in 1974, according to Bloomberg.
Toys R Us dominated the toy store business in the 1980s and early '90s, when it was one of the first of the category killers -- big stores that are so totally devoted to one thing and have such impressive selection that they drive smaller competitors out of business. Lazarus, who remained at the helm until 1994, stacked the merchandise high to give shoppers the feeling it had an infinite number of toys.
He stepped down as chairman of the company in 1998, Bloomberg reported.
Officials with Toys R Us announced last week that the company planned to close or sell its 735 stores nationwide, including its Babies R Us stores. The superstore chain could no longer bear the weight of its heavy debt load and relentless trends that hurt its business, namely competition from the likes of Amazon, discounters like Walmart, and mobile games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Now that the news that a childhood staple is closing has sunk in, reality is hitting the thousands of employees of Toys R Us and the customers they served.
CNN reported that employees at many of the stores that remained open after the January announcement of almost 200 store closings thought that their jobs would be safe.
But when the news hit this week, they found out that won’t be the case.
Currently, the company has about 31,000 workers who will soon be out of a job. But because Toys R Us is declaring bankruptcy, they won’t get all of the benefits a regular layoff would bring.
For example, they will not get a severance package, although they will get health insurance and 401(k) payments matched by the company, CNN Money reported.
Employees should still get 60 days’ pay required by federal law, even if they don’t work for the full two months. Some workers could be on the job longer as the company shuts down, CNN Money reported.
As the stores begin the process of closing, where will it leave customers, especially ones who may have purchased or received gift cards?
USA Today reported that consumers will have about 30 days to use them.
According to the company’s website, the official date of the store closings announcement was March 15, gift cards, rewards dollars, and endless earnings will be able to be used as payment for 30 days following the announcement.
If you have gift cards and are unsure of their current value, you can check the balance here.
The online retail giant is looking at the possibility of acquiring some Toys R Us locations as it expands its brick-and-mortar footprint across the country, Bloomberg reported. The stores could be used to showcase its Echo devices.
Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy last week. At the beginning of 2018, the chain had more than 800 stores before announcing in January that it would shutter 180 stores.
“Today marks the dawn of a new era at Toys R Us where we expect that the financial constraints that have held us back will be addressed in a lasting and effective way,” said Dave Brandon, chairman and chief executive officer.
The possible interest comes as Amazon enters the brick-and-mortar game. The company purchased Whole Foods last year and is also opening bookstores. Its cashless convenience stores, Amazon Go, are also reportedly expanding in states across the U.S. in coming years.
So, how does Amazon Go work? Consumers use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products they want and walk out. No checkout. No lines.
The store’s technology uses computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning to automatically detect when products are taken or returned to the shelves and keep track of them in a virtual cart. Customers grab their items and go, and then their Amazon account is charged with the bill. The store will offer ready-to-go meals, grocery essentials and even locally made food.
Toys R Us will soon be no more, but an iconic toy store may be back to fill the void.
The company that owns the KB Toys name is looking to bring back the brand and fill storefronts Toys R Us closings leave behind.
CNN Money spoke with Strategic Marks president about the plan.
“My assumption is that there’s about half a billion dollars worth of toys that have been produced for Toys R Us with no place to go. That’s a big, big void that we’re hoping to fill up,” Ellia Kassoff told CNN Money.
Strategic Marks told CNN Money that to get back into the market, it is working with companies that do pop-up holiday stores like Spencer Spirit Holdings.
After the holidays, it is planning to re-evaluate the stores and ones that perform well will be tapped to become permanent.
Shoppers looking for a bargain lined up at Toys R Us stores across the country to cash in on the liquidation sale that was expected to begin Thursday.
However, the sales have been postponed, according to multiple reports.
WYFF reported that a sign on the Greenville location stated that the liquidation sale was postponed until further notice.
The sales are now expected to start Friday, CNN Money reported.
But no matter when the sales start, experts told CNN Money that bargain hunters should be ready to go as soon as the sales begin.
Toys R Us announced last week it was closing or selling all of its stores in the United States, but shoppers need to act fast.
MORE: Toys R Us store locator
Industry experts say shelves will clear out quickly and the sale may only last about 30 days.
Inventory on the most popular toys are already slim, and whatever is left will be the first to go.
People with Toys R Us gift cards and Endless Earnings Gift Cards should use those first.
Toys R Us will not accept them after April 20.
Starting Thursday, stores will not be accepting coupons or rewards.
If you have a return, Toys R Us will accept items for the next 30 days, but anything purchased during the liquidation sale is final and cannot be returned.
Amazon, one of Toys R Us’ most fierce competitors, is apparently considering buying up some of the empty store fronts once Toys R Us officially closes.
The Seattle-based company recently bought Whole Foods and opened its own line of bookstores and convenience stores.
Toys R Us is closing 735 locations, and will lay off about 31,000 employees.
Before you shop, check your location. Some local stores were part of the initial closing announcement and have been liquidating for weeks.
Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
Toys R Us and Babies R Us are no longer selling any products online.
On Monday, the toy retailer’s websites went black and customers were encouraged to visit stores for last-minute sales. The chain is offering up to 30 percent off storewide, and all sales are final. Liquidation sales started in late March.
“We have shut down the website for any purchases but our brick and mortar stores are open and holding going out of business sales,” a pop up message on the website read. “We encourage you to stop by your local store and take full advantage of the deep discounts and deals available,” the company said on its website.
Toys R Us, Inc. voluntarily filed for relief under Chapter 11 in September 2017. Toys R Us was $5 billion in debt as of April 29.
Toys ‘R’ Us is having a clearance sale after declaring bankruptcy last month, but that didn’t stop a Florida woman from using the five-finger discount, deputies said.
Ishella Silvena Richards, 30, of Deerfield Beach, loaded up her cart full of $1,700 worth of toys from the Jensen Beach store before walking out the door, according to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page.
Employees tried to stop her, but she reportedly ran to the parking lot, loaded up her SUV and sped down U.S. 1, the sheriff’s office said.
Deputies spotted Richards, who then tried to outrace them. Once Richards was stopped, she was handcuffed and taken to the Martin County Jail.
Deputies said the exact total of the toys equaled $1,797.
Richards was arrested on charges of grand theft and fleeing and eluding. Her bond was set at $10,000.
Toys R Us has rejected MGA Entertainment CEO Isaac Larian’s $675 million bid for about 30 percent of the remaining U.S. and Canada locations of the business.
CNN Money reported that the bid, which was made April 13, was too low, according to sources.
Toys R Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017 and announced store closings March 15.
“If this is true, it is very disappointing,” Larian said of the report. “We feel confident that we submitted a fair valuation of the company’s U.S. assets.” Larian added that he wants to keep working to save the business.
Larian’s company, MGA Entertainment, is known for making Bratz dolls and Little Tikes toys.
“The liquidation of Toys R Us is going to have a long-term effect on the toy business. The industry will truly suffer,” the billionaire said in a statement last week announcing the bid. “The prospect of bringing the Toys R Us experience to a new generation, my new grandson's generation, is enough to motivate me to Save Toys R Us.”
At the time, Larian said he would use his own money and financing from banks and other investors for the bid.
Toys R Us is considering other offers, CNN Money reported.
The man who brought Bratz to the toy market said Friday that he entered a formal offer of $890 million to buy many of the Toys R Us stores in the United States and Canada, CNN reported.
Isaac Larian, the CEO of MGA Entertainment, said he entered a formal offer of $675 million to buy 274 Toys R Us stores in the United States and $215 million to acquire 82 stores in Canada, CNN reported.
Larian said he would use his own money for the bid, along with financing from banks and additional investors, according to a news release.
“The liquidation of Toys R Us is going to have a long-term effect on the toy business. The industry will truly suffer,” Larian said in the statement. "The prospect of bringing the Toys R Us experience to a new generation, my new grandson's generation, is enough to motivate me to Save (sic) Toys R Us.”
Toys R Us declined to comment, CNN reported.
Larian already tried to buy the chain of toy stores through a GoFundMe campaign. Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy last fall and said in March that it would shut down or sell its U.S. stores, CNN reported.
According to his statement, Larian said he wants to transform Toys R Us stores into a “mini-Disneyland.”
"We will make Toys R Us an experience in and of itself; a fun and engaging place where families can spend an entire day," Larian said. "Imagine a mini-Disneyland in each neighborhood."
If you haven’t redeemed your Toys R Us gift cards, get to your nearest store ASAP.
The April 21 expiration date also applies to the company’s Endless Earnings eGift Cards for customers who earned rewards from baby registry purchases.
Liquidations sales began at Toys R Us stores nationwide as early as March 23.
At that time, customers who participated in the company’s various rewards programs were no longer able to earn rewards or obtain rewards that had not already been issued.
Earlier this week, some customers complained that they were not able to redeem Toys R Us gift cards because of computer glitches. A company spokesperson said they were not aware of any widespread issues that prevented customers from cashing in their gift cards.
On March 29, the company shuttered its website, leaving customers only the option of shopping at the brick-and-mortar stores.
While the most popular toy items at stores have probably been sold, anyone who has not used up their gift cards is advised to do so. All stores are expected to be fully liquidated by June. All merchandise sold during the liquidation is final sale.
Customers who have questions about products, warranties or rewards can reach the Customer Service Department at 800-TOYSRUS or 800-869-7787 between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. EDT.
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