HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Sears is opening new Toy Shops within 79 of its existing stores to help kids and parents shop for toys year-round. The Sears Toy Shops offer a hand-picked selection of toys, a "play as you shop" experience and a trusted source for toy and play advice. The Toy Shops will be expanding into four new markets, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Diego and Washington D.C. Additionally, new Toy Shops will be added in the Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco markets, where the retailer opened 20 pilot Toy Shops last year.
"The consumer response to our Toy Shops that were launched last year was so strong that we wanted to extend them to more families in more markets, said Dev Mukherjee, president of Seasonal & Toys, Sears Holdings. "Sears is committed to providing parents with the tools, guidance and toy selection they need to foster play within their households. We have also made our toys shops as play friendly as possible by adding interactive displays and even a kid-sized hot air balloon to delight our youngest customers."
A national survey conducted by Harris Interactive(1) on behalf of Sears revealed that 87 percent of parents believe that encouraging play is one of their most important responsibilities. However, the survey also shows strong room for improvement in that regard, as four out of five parents surveyed agree that most parents do not focus enough on encouraging their kids to play. Over half of the parents said they would like an outside resource for help with toy recommendations and play activities. To address these findings, Sears has added content and functionality to its website, www.sears.com/toyshop, to help parents as they look to find the right mix of toys for their children and to get advice from an array of play experts.
Toy selection has never been more important, especially when it comes to choosing the best products that will benefit children. The survey revealed that 86 percent of the parents said it's important that their child has the right mix of toys – a sentiment that drives many toy purchase decisions. When asked how they decide on what toys to buy, play value and age appropriateness ranked as the two top factors considered by parents, ahead of price.
With that in mind, the Sears Toy Shops feature popular toys and specialty items that help to build four core areas of childhood development - creativity, motor, social and cognitive skills.
"We believe free play is an important part of a child's development that should be encouraged," said Mukherjee. "We wanted to create a special place for kids in our stores where they can come with their parents to interact with toys that are fun, as well as develop basic skills."
The Sears Toy Shops carry top toy brands that delight kids and parents alike. From power brands like Fisher Price, LeapFrog, Hasbro and VTech to unique products from specialty brands such as Schylling, Thomas Wooden Railway, Gund Plush, My First Annabelle, Madame Alexander and more. Better yet, customers have the opportunity to choose from Sears exclusive brands like My First Craftsman, My First Kenmore and Just Kidz.
Grand opening celebrations featuring drawings, cupcakes and fun activities for the whole family will be held in every Toy Shop location from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 16. The first 50 families to arrive at each grand opening celebration will receive a free $5 Sears gift card.
Visit www.sears.com/toyshop to shop online or find a store location near you.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
About Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Sears, Roebuck and Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation (Nasdaq: SHLD), is a leading broadline retailer providing merchandise and related services. Sears, Roebuck offers its wide range of home merchandise, apparel and automotive products and services through more than 2,300 Sears-branded and affiliated stores in the United States and Canada, which includes approximately 929 full-line and approximately 1,200 specialty stores in the U.S. Sears, Roebuck also offers a variety of merchandise and services through sears.com, landsend.com, and specialty catalogs. Sears, Roebuck offers consumers leading proprietary brands including Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard and Lands' End -- among the most trusted and preferred brands in the U.S. Sears, Roebuck is the 2010 ENERGY STAR® Retail Partner of the Year. The company is the nation's largest provider of home services, with more than 12 million service calls made annually. For more information, visit the Sears, Roebuck website at www.sears.com or the Sears Holdings Corporation website at www.searsholdings.com.
(1) The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive from September 9-15, 2010 on behalf of Sears Holdings. Completed surveys were obtained from 847 parents of children age 12 or younger. Because the online survey is not based on a probability sample, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
SOURCE Sears, Roebuck and Co.