You could probably say March 23, 2017 was the day Charles Lazarus hoped he would never live to see.
The 94-year-old, who founded iconic toy retailer Toys R Us in 1957, had been experiencing “a period of declining health” for weeks before it was announced March 22 that he’d passed away.
“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,” a company press release noted.
Isn’t it ironic that his death came just one day before his life’s work was set to begin liquidation?
It’s the end of an era, to be sure, and there’s little hope of raising this Lazarus’ legacy from the dead.
With 735 locations set to close or be sold off, Toys R Us is now facing permanent extinction.
A look at Day One of the Toys R Us liquidation
Clark.com was on hand at a Toys R Us location in metro Atlanta on the first day of the liquidation to observe how it all played out.
The store we visited was still well-stocked and plenty of customers turned out to avail themselves of the deals. Large signs hanging all over the store promised discounts of up to 30%.
But, as we discovered, the biggest discounts are still yet to come.
As employees busied themselves in the aisles taping up smaller signs advertising certain discounts, we took notes on which particular product categories were being marked down by how much on day one.
Easter (seasonal): 20% off
Board games: 10% off
Educational toys: 20% off
Video game consoles: 5% off original price
Lego toys: 5% off original price
Musical instruments: 10% off
Science kits: 10% off
Batteries: 10% off
We also noted the discounts on these product categories:
- As Seen on TV products: 2o% off
- Bikes, scooters and related gear: 10% off
- Books: 20% off
- Candy: 10% off
- Car seats: 10% off
- Claire’s brand jewelry: 10% off
- Collectibles: 10% off
- Infant toys: 10% off
News flash: Even clearance items are being discounted!
Deal hunters, rejoice! The liquidation deals aren’t just on full-price merchandise.
For example, this Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster House Playset was already marked down from $24.99 to $21.98 before the liquidation began.
But with the liquidation now kicking into gear, the item was discounted an additional 5%.
So the final price, according to a self-scan price checker in the aisle, came in at $19.78.
That made it cheaper than the lowest competitor price we could find online by a few cents — Walmart was listing the same product for $19.88.
And therein lies a timely reminder…
Before you buy anything, always take out your smartphone and be sure you to comparison shop.
You just might discover that what you think is a deal is really no deal at all. That wasn’t the case here, but this is a good caveat emptor to always keep in mind.
Here’s what’s not being discounted — yet
The baby area of Toys R Us was the only one area of the store with signs that clearly indicated items were still being sold at full price at this time.
As we wandered the aisles, we found the same was true of wipes, formula and baby food. None were being discounted at this early stage.
Associates we spoke with said they didn’t anticipate deeper discounts across the store for at least three or four weeks.
That timeline could vary greatly based on the amount of customer traffic your Toys R Us gets, among other factors. So it could be give or take a few weeks in either direction.
Incidentally, we asked several associates what was next for them now that Toys R Us was winding down its business and they would no longer have a job.
One indicated he had an offer from Ross Dress for Less. Another was still in school and wanted to look for work in the computer science field. Failing that, he planned to look for another retail job. And a third associate indicated he’d gotten a number of offers outside of retail.
We’ll keep you updated on the progress of the Toys R Us liquidation over the coming weeks as this veteran retailer prepares to shut its doors for good.