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Hundreds converge on Toys R Us store as liquidation sales begin

"Going out of business" signs appeared Friday as

"Going out of business" signs appeared Friday as liquidation sales began at the Toys R Us/Babies R Us location at the Market at Bay Shore shopping plaza. Credit: Newsday / Daysi Calavia-Robertson

Hundreds of customers converged on the Toys R Us/Babies R Us location in Bay Shore Friday morning as word spread that the bankrupt retailer had begun liquidation sales at all of its U.S. locations.

While shoppers were looking for bargains, some also lamented the demise of the 70-year-old retailer.

“It’s a sad thing to see,” said Sy Galley, 80, of Babylon, who was shopping with his wife, Marie Galley, 67, for their five grandchildren. “We used to shop here for our kids, and recently we shopped here for their kids. I’d really like to see Toys R Us stay in business.”

The couple spent $78 on a turtle sandbox and inflatable pool, getting 10 percent off on each. Marie Galley judged the sale prices to be “not that great, yet.”

Sy Galley said the large-scale loss of jobs will also be sad. “The cashier who attended us said she’s been working here for 32 years,” he said.

So far, the company has filed state WARN notices for its Valley Stream and Carle Place stores, with 70 employees each, saying those workers will lose their jobs by June 13.

The retailer has a total of 12 Toys R Us and four Babies R Us locations on Long Island, some of which are combined.

The chain said last week in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing that it needed to liquidate as it expected to run out of cash in May. Overall, the shutdown would close 735 stores and end employment for about  30,000 people.

The company will honor gift cards through April 21 but is no longer accepting returns, Toys R Us spokeswoman Amy von Walter said in an email.

While the Galleys and other shoppers reported discounts of just 10 percent on some items at the Bay Shore store on Friday, von Walter said, “We expect discounts to begin around 30 percent off.”

Diapers, formula and baby food are not on sale.

Christian Jimenez, 44, of Bay Shore, spent $35 each for two pink chairs for his 1-year-old daughter. That was $5 off each chair. “It was a 10 percent discount, but it’s a pretty good deal because I’ve seen the chairs go for a lot more online,” he said.

Jimenez said he’s saddened to see the toy retailer go out of business but will keep checking back for larger discounts in the coming days.

Toy company executive Isaac Larian and other investors Thursday pledged a total of $200 million and hope to raise four times that amount in crowdfunding in a bid to save more than half of the 735 Toys R Us stores, the Associated Press reported, but the unsolicited bid faces a number of hurdles.

“I read it in the news, I hope it’s true,” a female employee at the Bay Shore store was overheard saying to another worker Friday.

— With Tory N. Parrish

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