WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (JCP) is opening new baby shops in 500 stores as it tries to fill the void left by the closure of Babies R Us.
The department store chain has historically offered cribs, high chairs, strollers and car seats on its website.
Starting August 30, shoppers will find these items in 500 J.C.Penney stores, along with bottles, pacifiers, diaper bags, bouncer seats and activity centers from brands including Avent, Graco, Fisher Price, Dr. Brown's, Tommee Tippee and Halo.
J.C. Penney said it has strategically chosen these 500 locations because 'the majority of the stores are near a specialty baby retailer that has recently closed its doors.' Babies R Us closed its stores in June, along with sister chain Toys R Us.
J.C. Penney's new baby shops will launch just in time for the retailer's annual 'Baby Sale' later in August and will be promoted via a dedicated 12-page direct mail piece, showcasing the new baby product categories available in its stores.
'The baby care business is expected to reach over $13 billion by 2021 and we are seizing this opportunity to pursue available market share and aggressively go after the baby customer with these new shops,' said James Starke, senior vice president and head of merchandising for J.C. Penney.
The new baby shops featuring updated graphics and signage will be located adjacent to baby apparel, featuring an expanded assortment of Carter's clothing along with Gerber as well as Okie Dokie playwear and sleepwear.
Most of the products displayed will be stocked at the store so that parents can take these home the same day, J.C. Penney said.
While nursery furniture such as cribs and crib mattresses will be available for customers to take home the same day in select stores, the remaining stores will arrange to have those purchases shipped directly to customers' homes. Coordinating dressers, changing tables and gliders are available on the company's website.
The baby shops inside J.C. Penney will also feature an expanded Okie Dokie assortment with new product categories from the J.C. Penney private brand.
Other major retailers like Target, Walmart and Party City are also attempting to lure customers to their stores by adding more baby care products.
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