Good news for those who make toys. JC Penney, the venerable bricks and mortar retailer, is once again merchandising toys in its bricks and mortar stores. According to a Fortune article by Phil Wahba, "Why J.C. Penney Is Betting Big on Toys", they are adding toys in order to be less dependent upon apparel which makes up 60% of its sales.
I think there is another, more important reason. Toys bring children and children bring families. To illustrate my point, allow me to share a story an early mentor of mine told me: It seems that when he was a child his family owned a small grocery store. The store, like many small markets at the time, sold candy which of course drew children. His parents became annoyed because the kids were spending pennies and getting in the way of adults who spent dollars. As a result, they decided to take out the candy.
Bad idea! Their business dropped like a rock because the kids had, even in those years, an outsized influence on where their parents shopped. They rapidly returned to selling candy.
If anything, children have more influence than ever. McDonald's thinks so; that's why they have playgrounds and Happy Meals. With all of the store closings, it is wonderful to see 1000 new toy departments open up. Smart move JC Penney…and thank you.