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J.C. Penney jumps into $20 billion industry with in-store shops


J.C. Penney isn't playing around when it comes to toys.

The retailer announced it is opening toy shops in its 1,000 plus brick-and-mortar stores, and has already expanded its online toy assortment. The in-store shops will be located within the children's department, next to the Disney Collection displays, and will feature a wide range of items, from dolls and action figures to board games and arts and crafts, and such brands as Hasbro, Mattel, and Fisher Price. Many of the shops feature a play area where kids can try out select toys.

The rollout grows out of Penney's decision to bring back toys to its stores — for the first time in years — for the 2016 holiday season. The move apparently resonated with shoppers. Penney said it was "extremely pleased by customer response and confidently made the decision to grow our toy assortment in stores and at

"We know that shoppers buy toys year-round and by creating a fun, inviting toy shop, with some of the biggest brands and hottest products, we will entice families to shop and spend more at J.C. Penney,” said John Tighe, executive VP and chief merchant for J.C. Penney. “Toys are an exciting product category for J.C. Penney and an in-store attraction that will drive traffic and sales as we continue to focus on increasing revenue per customer.”

Online, Penney has doubled its toy assortment and added an array of new product categories, including bicycles, video games, outdoor trampolines, costumes and science kits. The retailer has also sorted out product by age group. Penney plans to beef up the assortment even more time for the holiday shopping season.

“J.C. Penney realizes the importance of having a significantly expanded product selection at to compete with pure e-commerce rivals, which is why we are so proud of both our product and category expansions over the past 12 months," Tighe said. "The toy industry continues to grow and J.C. Penney intends to capture a significant portion of this $20 billion (Toy Association estimate) industry."

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