KB Toys will be setting up shop in a few East Valley Sears stores this month.
The Sears stores at Chandler Fashion Center, Mesa’s Fiesta Mall and Paradise Valley Mall, along with three other metro area shopping centers, will get an imbedded KB Toys.
Other local Sears stores were passed over because they didn’t have enough space, Sears spokeswoman Cory Rutt said.
Sears hopes the latest entry in the store-within-a-store craze will keep shoppers who are hunting for both holiday duds and Hokey-Pokey Elmo from slipping into other mall stores.
KB Toys is just looking for a way to sell more stuff when the annual spending splurge revs up to full volume.
The mall KB stores are relatively small, and the toy demand gets really big around this time of year, KB spokesman John P. Reilly said. The chain makes 50 percent of their annual sales in fourth quarter, Reilly said, so he’s not worried about cannibalizing its own store sales.
“Our business explodes between now and Christmas,” he said. “It’s a matter of not being able to process all our customers because the stores get so busy. If we have an alternative, we’ve captured sales without having (toy shoppers) go to the competition.”
Sears, which opted out of the toy business several years ago, piloted the program with KB Toys in other locations during the past two holiday seasons. This will be their first joint foray into Arizona.
While Sears doesn’t sell toys year round, it recognizes toys are big business at Christmas, Rutt said.
Sears is setting up the toy shops as the merchandise arrives, she said. All the local stores should be hawking their Hulk dolls by the end of this month.
“The store-within-a-store concept stems from retailers trying to be new, different, to get consumers excited and get new customers into a store,” said Ellen Tolley, spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation. The concept especially appeals to time-starved shoppers, Tolley said.
“Consumers are more likely to shop where they can get many tasks done at the same time,” she said.