By Joan Verdon
RISMEDIA, September 22, 2010--(MCT)--Memo to Santa, from Jerry Storch and his team of executive elves at Toys "R" Us headquarters in Wayne, N.J.: Here are the toys we're betting you will see on lots of kids' lists this year.
Toys "R" Us released its annual list of hot holiday toys. The retailer selected three dozen toys it expects will be popular this year, and named 15 of those as the hottest of the bunch.
How do you make the list? "It's the toys that will wow the child on Christmas morning, when they wake up," said Lisa Harnish, a Toys vice president. The list, she said, "is a culmination of a yearlong process." Before the list is finalized, top executives and CEO Storch meet and go through hundreds of nominations "to cull it down to get the strongest possible list."
What are the trends: Toys "R" Us continued its practice of recent years of including low-priced toys, such as Hasbro's Cuponk — a game in which you throw a ping pong ball into a plastic cup, that sells for $14.99 — along with big-ticket items such as the $109 Bigfoot the Monster, a robotic toy by Fisher-Price.
What you should keep in mind about the list: Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Sears and other retailers also prepare their own hot toy lists. The Toys "R" Us list, like those of all retailers, always includes some products sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us, the items the retailer is most likely to be promoting during the holiday season. On this year's top 15 list, four toys are Toys "R" Us exclusives.
Why it matters: The list is an indication of where Toys "R" Us is placing its bets for the fourth quarter. The toys on the list are where the retailer has "gone long," or stocked up, in support of its goal to be the retailer that has the hot toys in stock all the way to Christmas Eve. Last year a big bet on the Zhu Zhu battery-operated hamsters paid off when rivals couldn't get their hands on them. That helped Toys "R" Us lift December same-store sales 4.6 percent.
What's next: 'Tis the season for hot toy lists, and there are a few more on the horizon, the most prominent of which will be released Sept. 28, by Timetoplaymag.com, an online toy magazine and website for toy reviews.
Here is the list:
•Calico Critters Luxury Townhouse from International Playthings
•Cuponk from Hasbro Games
•Disney Princess & Me dolls from JAKKS Pacific
•Disney Pixar Toy Story 3 Imaginext Tri-County Landfill from Fisher-Price
•Fast Lane Wild Fire RC from Toys R Us
•Imaginext Bigfoot the Monster from Fisher-Price
•Leapster Explorer from LeapFrog
•Loopz from Mattel
•Minotaurus from LEGO Systems
•Monster High Cleo De Nile and Deuce Gorgon doll set from Mattel
•NERF N-Strike Stampede ECS from Hasbro
•Pillow Pets from Ontel Products
•Sing-a-ma-jigs! from Mattel
•Squinkies Cupcake Surprise! Bake Shop from blip toys
•Tomica Hypercity Mega Station Set from TOMY