Toys R Us stores across the Chicago area and the nation should launch going-out-of-business sales Friday, a day later than initially planned.
The liquidation sales come about a week after announcing plans to sell or close all of its U.S. stores. Hundreds of Toys R Us and Babies R Us locations are scheduled to close in the coming months, which means the company has a lot of inventory to sell. Here's what you should know before you begin shopping.
1. First things first: Where can I find deals?
Liquidation sales will begin at all Toys R Us and Babies R Us locations on Friday, according to company spokeswoman Amy von Walter. That includes about 735 stores around the country.
But don't expect to snag any deals online -- at least not yet. Toys R Us has said in court filings that it is hoping to find a buyer for its e-commerce operations, which means it is likely to hold off on selling off online inventory right away, according to bankruptcy lawyers.
2. What sort of discounts can I expect?
Prices are likely to be reduced about 30 percent right away, von Walter said, with deeper discounts scheduled for the coming weeks. The company expects to finish liquidating its stores by the end of June, according to court documents, although some locations may close sooner than that. Store furniture and fixtures are also likely to be up for sale.
3. How likely am I to find what I'm looking for?
If you're searching for something specific, bankruptcy experts say you should hurry in as soon as possible. Toys R Us isn't restocking its stores anymore, and a number of vendors say they cut ties with the company weeks, if not months, ago. All that to say: Highly-coveted items will sell out quickly (if they haven't already). Also, keep an eye out for Toys R Us exclusives that might require additional parts or accessories. One shopper says she bought a Babies R Us-specific crib, for example, but has since had trouble tracking down the corresponding toddler rail and conversion kit since those items are not carried by competing retailers.
4. What else should I know?
Here are the basics: All sales will be final. And while Toys R Us and Babies R Us will continue accept gift card and e-gift cards for another 30 days, von Walter says they will no longer accept coupons. Babies R Us registry users with "endless earnings" and other rewards must redeem them by mid-April.
Daily Herald staff writer Russell Lissau contributed to this story.