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J.C. Penney to introduce ‘toy shops’ in all stores

J.C. Penney plans to create toy shops within its department stores in an effort to recapture the magic from the days when excited kids and parents leafed through holiday catalogs.

Seeking its footing amid rickety times for store-based retailing, the chain is hoping to capitalize on a successful decision to revive toy sales during the 2016 holiday season for the first time in years.

J.C. Penney will add what it is calling toy shops, rather than toy departments, permanently in all of its stores, numbering more than 1,000 locations. The retailer had already added toys in 100 stores and had plans to expand its assortment for back-to-school shopping.

The companywide rollout reflects an aggressive pivot for a retailer seeking to demonstrate its relevance amid the surging presence of and nimbler physical competitors.

Other retailers have also bet big on toys to varying success, including bookstore chain Barnes & Noble.