Sears, Roebuck and Co. is returning to the toy business in time for the holidays.
The Hoffman Estates, Ill., retailer is opening toy shops at 20 Sears stores next month, including six in Southern California.
The department store chain -- famous for its Christmas Wish Book of toys for generations -- exited the toy business decades ago as price competition intensified from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other big-box chains.
Sears began to dabble in toys again several years ago by hiring KB Toys to set up temporary shops inside hundreds of Sears stores, including its flagship on Chicago’s State Street. But the experiment eventually fizzled. KB Toys went out of business last year.
Sears toy shops are set to debut Aug. 15 inside Sears stores in the Buena Park Mall, Inland Centre, Los Cerritos Mall, Montclair Plaza, Moreno Valley Mall and Westminster Mall.
Toy shops will also open at four Sears stores in San Francisco, seven in the Chicago area and three in the New York metropolitan area.