Take a trip back to your younger days with one of the nation’s best-known retail chains.
JENSEN BEACH, Fla. — Toys R Us stores are entering their final days and ramping up the deals.
The iconic toy retailer announced a new round of markdowns this week with discounts now ranging from 50 to 70 percent with “limited exceptions,” according to a Facebook post. They come about three months after the chain, a second home to generations of toy-craving children, announced it would liquidate.
On Friday night, in another Facebook post, the company announced the “countdown is on” and “last 14 days!”
Some of the most valued, in-demand merchandise, such as Nintendo and PlayStation video game systems, was snapped up weeks ago. But kids who appreciate merchandise such as Lego sets, board games, Barbie dolls, Star Wars toys, Nerf guns and more can still come away winners.
Prices on most Toys R Us items now handily beat discount competitors such as Amazon, Walmart and Target and rival Black Friday doorbuster deals.
“The prices are getting good,” said Rita Hasselbach, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, who visited the Toys R Us in Jensen Beach. “I’m looking for games that I can donate to charities and shelters.”
Brothers Fabio and Alejandro Benichio, also of Port St. Lucie, have been coming to the Jensen Beach store twice a week for the last five weeks looking for birthday and Christmas gifts.
On Monday night, they filled a cart with Barbie dolls and action figures marked down 50 percent, a large Lego set at 40 percent and Doctor Dreadful Snot Shot toys at 60 percent off. The 14 items came to $137.15, a savings of $126.46 off regular prices.
For the Jensen Beach store, on Florida’s east coast some 100 miles north of Miami, June 28 is slated to be the last day before the doors close forever, said Andrew Wiggins, a supervisor at the store who has been with the company for more than five years.
“That’s completely subject to change and it depends on how fast everything sells through,” Wiggins said.
As inventory sells out, portions of stores and empty aisles are being closed off with yellow caution tape and other barriers and merchandise is being moved to the front.
“The store closure’s timing and discounts will vary, as it depends on how quickly each location sells out of inventory,” Toys R Us spokeswoman Amy von Walter said. “I don’t have timing on markdowns as the liquidators are leading this process, but I’d guess that would vary as well.”
Some stores have closed earlier than expected, including the Paramus, New Jersey, store in the city where the chain’s headquarters was situated for years before being moved to nearby Wayne.
Candido Herrera, of Port St. Lucie, has been coming to the Jensen Beach store weekly since the liquidation started in March. Most trips he said he leaves empty-handed.
“I come every week to see if it’s lower and it’s still the same, 30, 40, 50 percent,” Herrera said. “And it’s almost over.”
“Their prices were already too high compared to Walmart and any other stores so when they take off 40 percent, it’s really 20 percent,” Herrera said last week. “It’s almost like they’re tricking us, but since we’re already here they figure we’re going to take something.”
Herrera said he is looking to stock up on gifts for his nieces and nephews and “trying to get ahead” on holiday and birthdays gifts.
“But when you compare some of these prices, I’m only getting ahead by 20 percent,” Herrera said. “This is why they are going out of business. We stopped coming, and a lot of people did the same.”
Some shoppers say dedication pays off.
“We’re pretty much done — at least for this week,” Alejandro Benichio said.
Alejandro and Fabio Benichio became pros when the nearby Babies R Us closed earlier this year as part of the first wave of closings.
“We had three carts full for what we spent today,” Fabio Benichio said of shopping during the final days. “At the end, Babies R Us was worth it.”
Tips to scoring a closeout deal
Compare prices: The easiest way to do this is to scan product barcodes with Amazon, Target and Walmart apps.
Look for special merchandise: It’s common for liquidators to bring in special merchandise, often leftovers from other closed retailers. Look for signs at store entrances that explain how to spot this merchandise, which includes women’s slippers, tote bags and special toys not previously carried at stores.
Check the product thoroughly: Signs at stores say you cannot open the box, but ask an employee before checking out that you need to make sure all parts, accessories, instructions and warranty information are included. This is especially important on big-ticket items.
All sales are final: If you end up buying something you don’t want, try recouping your money by selling it. Also make sure prices ring up at advertised discounts before paying.
Use a credit card: This is a safety net if you experience any problems and may offer away to contest the charge. However, you are shopping at your own risk.
Warranties: Check warranty details and find out where repairs can be made.
More info: For questions, visit www.toysrusclosingsale.com or call 1-800-TOYSRUS or 1-800-869-7787 between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET.
USA TODAY Network reporter Joan Verdon, The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record, contributed to this report.
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