- Toys R Us will begin to slow down its U.S. business this week
- Liquidation agents will begin to arrive at Toys R Us stores Monday.
- Toys R Us has already canceled in-store events like an Easter Egg Hunt.
- Stores are still getting some shipments, and deep discounts are not expected until business slows down.
As Toys R Us begins to unravel its U.S. business this week, it will begin one by one to shut down the pieces that together framed the memories of generations of children nationwide.
Already, it has canceled in-store events. Its annual Easter egg hunt, as well as the Geoffrey Giraffe birthday parties it hosts, have been called off, sources familiar with the situation tell CNBC.
The store's helium tanks will be picked up this week as well, stripping it of its ability to blow up birthday balloons.
It also has stopped building bikes and power wheels. It will not deliver or assemble swing sets, though there are external companies that can.
Shopping in the store will wind down more slowly, say the sources. The company's liquidation agents will arrive at stores starting Monday, and the formal liquidation process is likely to begin Thursday. With the company already offering plenty of discounts, it does not anticipate deep bargain sales until business has slowed.
Concurrently, the company continues to work on a plan that could salvage 200 of the retailer's best-performing U.S. stores.
In-store selection will be mixed. The store continues to receive shipments of various toys, including the past year's hit, L.O.L Surprise dolls. Brands like Pokemon have already pulled their cards from at least some of the stores, say the sources.
Pokemon's parent, The Pokemon Co., did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The wavering support of toymakers for the retailer was one of several factors that contributed to Toys R Us' downfall. It needed a strong holiday season, and therefore product selection, to emerge from bankruptcy, but many brands withheld or limited their shipments, concerned about having to foot the bill should the retailer not survive.
The owner of L.O.L dolls, MGA Entertainment, was one of the toymakers that hoped its product would help buttress Toys R Us through the holidays.
"I made sure Toys R Us got a large part of the allocation to get the customers in the stores, because I really wanted them to survive," CEO Isaac Larian recently told CNBC.
Larian says he is owed by Toys R Us a payment of $14 million to $15 million.
Beyond the in-store wind-down, Toys R Us employees', current and former, have been mourning the end of the retailer.
For current employees, which total roughly 33,000 in the U.S, the business' fall will leave them in two months without a job. A very small number though may stay on slightly longer to help conclude the business' shutdown.
For former employees, the end has invoked strong nostalgia for a brand about which many felt passionately. Several have begun to form Facebook groups to share memories of their times at the company. Others are creating groups to help colleagues with resumes, networking and job hunting.
The people requested anonymity because the operational terms of the liquidation process are confidential. Toys R Us declined to comment.