Can toys raise J.C. Penney’s game?
Following a successful return of the category last holiday season, J.C. Penney will be opening toy shops in all of its stores while significantly expanding toy assortments on JCPenney.com.
“JCPenney has a nostalgic history of selling sought-after toys in our early Christmas catalogs, so we brought toys back last holiday season to see if they would resonate once again,” John Tighe, chief merchant for the retailer, said in a statement. “We were extremely pleased by customer response.”
Penney stopped showing toys in catalogs in 2004. Sarah Holland, a Penney spokesperson, told The Dallas Morning News that company research shows toy customers spent more, shopped more frequently and were more ethnically diverse.
The toy shops will be adjacent to Penney’s successful Disney Collection areas and will feature everything from dolls and action figures to board games by leading brands such as Hasbro, Mattel, Playmobil and Fisher Price. The retailer is also adding plays areas where kids can to try out the toys. Online selections have already been doubled over the last year and a further online expansion is planned for holiday selling.
Said Mr. Tighe, “Toys are an exciting product category for JCPenney and an in-store attraction that will drive traffic and sales as we continue to focus on increasing revenue per customer.”
Based on customer feedback, Penney has added other new product categories including bicycles, video games, outdoor trampolines, costumes and science kits, while sorting the product by age group. The toy shops will also build on the success of the retailer’s Sephora in-store shops and other specialized departments. Penney recently opened Nike shops and, last year, brought appliances back to stores.
The biggest toy sellers are Walmart, Target, Amazon.com and Toys “R” Us. Barnes & Noble has recently found some success diversifying into toys; Kohl’s brought in the American Girl doll line last holiday selling season; and Macy’s featured toys for Christmas at its Backstage concept.
- JCPenney Introduces Toy Shops in All Stores – J.C. Penney
- J.C. Penney’s newest strategy: Year-round toy shopping – The Dallas Morning News
- J.C. Penney to introduce ‘toy shops’ in all stores – USA Today
- J.C. Penney gets aggressive with new toy shops, expands assortment – Retail Dive
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are toys too competitive or the type of category that can elevate the in-store experience for J.C. Penney? How might Penney avoid competing on price against the bigger boxes?