World News

J.C. Penney Co. expands further into toy industry

Published on: July 13th, 2017

Company to roll out toy shops to its brick and mortar stores, and add toys to its online offerings.

J.C. Penney sold toys between 1963 and 2004 as part of its Christmas catalogue. It also offered private toy brands like Little Jim and Mary Lu in the late 1920s.

It re-entered the toy business over the 2016 holiday shopping season, carrying two major toy brands in its stores. After seeing sales success, the company decided to roll out dedicated spaces for the products.

The retailer is now introducing roughly 500-square-foot areas in all of its locations that will carry products like Barbie dolls, My Little Pony figurines, Nerf blasters and Hotwheels race tracks. Featured brands will also include Hasbro, Mattel, Playmobil and Fisher Price.

The toy shops inside J.C. Penney stores will vary in size, but be an average of 500 square feet, and will be located next to the stores’ Disney collections, which generate 60% of its sales in toys.

Online, the company will offer additional choices within the toy brands it stocks in stores. It will also sell larger products like bicycles, video games, trampolines, costumes and science kits.

James Starke, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of J.C. Penney’s men’s and kids’ departments commented: “The online space allows us to have a dramatically expanded assortment. It will be two to three times the breadth available in stores. It’s an endless aisle.”

J.C. Penney is conducting research and working with suppliers to identify and stock the most popular new toys, like Hatchimals and Star Wars light sabres and action figures.

James added: “Our research said toys were something that moms wanted. From a competitive assessment, our competitors carry toys. And from what we know of people who bought toys, they spend more with us, are more ethnically diverse and visit us more frequently.”

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