JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Shoppers swarmed the St. Johns Town Center for discounts Friday as Babies R Us and Toys R Us kicked off their liquidation sales.
Crowds in the parking lot and checkout lines resembled those during the holiday rush, but the difference now is that the empty shelves will never be restocked.
The nation's largest independent toy seller and its companion baby store announced going-out-of-business sales after the company announced earlier this month that it would close or sell its U.S. stores after 70 years in business.
Shoppers decided to take advantage Friday, picking up toys for their children and items for babies at a discount.
“Babies R Us is the closest baby store to us,” said Crystal Lowery, who's expecting her first child, a boy, in June. “It’s very organized and has everything, so we got worried and got into panic mode to buy everything now before it’s all gone.”
Many women register at Babies R Us when they find out they are pregnant, and the company said those registries will eventually be closed.
The company will not be accepting new registrants, but current registries will still work as long as the company's web store remains open.
The company encourages customers to save or write down the products on their registry as soon as possible so they will have a list of the products they wanted before the registry is turned off.
There was no date given on when registries will be turned off.
At Toys R Us, apparel was marked down 20 percent and toys were marked down 10 percent.
It's expected sale prices will continue to plummet as the store gets closer to closing, but workers said they didn't know when the next big price cut would be.
Some parents said they were disappointed about the closure of their childhood toy store, but others were upset by how little the store was willing to drop prices.
“The deals are a little bit discounted, but not really, for them to be closing,” Tefera Biadgilegn said.
Although the discounts are not as deep as some shoppers want, parents are trying to take advantage while the store is still open and products are on the shelves.
There's no word yet on the official closing date for the Town Center locations, but a worker said it's expected to happen some time in June or July.
A Town Center spokesperson said it's too soon to tell what might replace the Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores. Such a big purchase could take up to a year, so the stores could be vacant until next summer.
Some important things shoppers should take note of:
- Rewards cards will no longer be accepted.
- Coupons will no longer be accepted.
- Gift cards, including e-gift cards, will be honored through April 21.