Toys R Us has knocked 25% off the price of the toys on its shelves as administrators launch a huge closing-down sale at the doomed chain.
The retailer entered administration on Wednesday after an unsuccessful search for a buyer. It is being wound down by the restructuring company Moorfields, which said the first wave of store closures would begin in the coming days. Toys R Us’s 3,200 staff are facing redundancy following the collapse of the chain, which has 100 stores.
It is not clear which brands remain in stock as some major suppliers, thought to include Lego, are understood to have taken back their stock to prevent it from being heavily discounted. However, Toys R Us said on Friday that it had stock of the brands listed on its website.
Simon Thomas, one of the joint administrators, said: “We’ve introduced heavy discounts across the entire Toys R Us store portfolio.
“Customers are encouraged to take advantage of these special offers as soon as possible. While stock levels are generally high, customers may find that the more popular brands begin to sell out over the coming days.”
In September, Toys R Us’s American parent company filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Canada after running up debts of $5bn (£3.6bn) and struggling to compete online. The problems cast doubt on the future of the loss-making UK chain, which was cut adrift several weeks ago.
Toys R Us dates back to the 1950s in the US, but it did not arrive in the UK until 1985. The retailer is known for megastores in out-of-town retail parks, but has been outflanked in recent years by Amazon and the toy store chain Smyths.
Toys R Us UK had made losses in seven of the past eight years, with the most recent accounts showing a loss of £500,000 on sales of £418m in 2016. After several weeks of trying to find a buyer, there is little hope that another investor will take on the chain, because even Toys R Us’s management team had wanted to close and downsize stores.
“The newer, smaller, more interactive stores in the portfolio have been outperforming the older warehouse-style stores that were opened in the 1980s and 1990s,” Thomas said. “While this process is likely to affect many Toys R Us staff, whether some or all of the stores will close remains to be decided.”