US: J.C. Penney brings toy shops to all 1,000 department stores

US retail giant J.C. Penney is rolling out toy shops across all of its more than 1,000 department stores.

The moves follows an announcement that the firm is looking to become less reliant on apparel, spotting an opportunity in the $26 billion toy industry.

According to the Toy Association, US industry sales rose five per cent last year, on top of a seven per cent increase the year before. Apparel sales have meanwhile seen tepid growth industry wide.

Analysts have suggested that the move to toys could help the retailer pick up sales that fell within its first quarter by 3.5 per cent.

Penney’s new 500 square foot toy shops will offer merchandise such as Barbie dolls, Hatchimals and Star Wars light sabers in a bid to bring in younger parents.

There will also be small play areas.

“We brought toys back last holiday season to see if they would resonate once again,” said Penney chief merchant, John Tighe.

J.C. Penney will also be taking the offering online with toy selections as well as big-ticket items such as bikes and trampolines. 

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