Check your wallets, purses and coupon envelopes for those Toys “R” Us gift cards. Experts warn they could lose their value in the coming weeks. Their advice, spend them immediately.
The chain plans to honor gift cards for the next 30 days. The news comes as the toy store giant announced it plans to close and liquidate its U.S. operations by the end of the year. The announcement will impact three stores here in the Mid-South, including the Toys “R” Us in Cordova.
“It’s the end of an era,” said Phillip Loveland. “It’s been around for 60 years or so. I was a Toys “R” Us Kid. I watched all those commercials and everything. I even worked there for a time.”
Learning of the closing, Phillip loaded up his family in the van for one last toy run.
“We hope to come back before it officially closes,” he said. “It won’t be the same. We love all the toys, the big bright displays. It just seems more fun here.”
Local 24 spoke to several shoppers including Kim Schaeffer. She was shopping with her two sons.
“I figured there wouldn’t be many deals this early,” she said, “but we had gift cards to spend so I wanted to go ahead and get them spend.”
Retail and bankruptcy experts say spending the gift cards may be the best thing for consumers.
“Gift cards are technically unsecured debt of the bankrupt retailer,” said lawyer Randy Fishman. “There’s really not a lot of protection when it comes to bankruptcy law.”
The Better Business Bureau also recommends spending gift cards sooner rather than later, especially if a business has filed for bankruptcy.
“Businesses that have entered into the liquidation process will not be around for very long,” said the BBB. “Consumers who are holding gift cards spend them as soon as possible or risk getting stuck with a worthless piece of plastic.”
Toys “R” Us has officially announced when it plans to close its stores but roughly 800 locations will be impacted. 33,000 people are expected to lose their jobs.