US: Sears plans to open 85 toy shops

Retailer set to open new outlets in select US markets ahead of Christmas shopping season.
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Julia Fitzgerald, chief marketing officer for Sears' toy business, told Reuters in a interview: "We have a very aggressive plan for growing our toy business."

The firm will allocate 1,500 to 1,800 square feet of floor space permanently at 85 existing Sears stores to house the toy shops.

The decision came after many customers showed interest to shop for toys in convenient locations, during a pilot program in 20 department stores last year.

The new shops will be aimed mainly at two to five year-old children, and will be located in key markets including Chicago, Washington DC/Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York/New Jersey, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Fitzgerald explained: "We are just responding to our customer base. Consumers are telling us that they would like to shop for toys at Sears when they are in the mall, when they are making their other purchases there."

The plans follow on from plans by Toys R Us to open 600 temporary stores and ten FAO Schwarz stores this year.

Sear's toys stores will carry products from suppliers including Mattel, LeapFrog and others including Schylling, a manufacturer of retro products such as tin jack-in-the-boxes.

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