September 19, 2013

Toys R Us expects Elmo, go-cart to be hot sellers

The Associated Press

Will your kids be clamoring for an Elmo that gives hugs, a loom that lets you make rubber bracelets or a kid-size go-cart this holiday?

Those and others have made Toys R Us' annual list of "hot" toys the company is betting kids will want around holiday time.

It's a crucial calculation because retailers can make up to 40 percent of annual sales during the holiday season, so Wayne, N.J.-based Toys R Us needs to make sure it has the right mix of toys at the right prices.

Overall holiday spending is expected to be cautious.

Retail revenue in November and December is expected to rise 2.4 percent during the biggest shopping period of the year, Chicago-based research firm ShopperTrak said Tuesday.

That compares with a 3 percent increase in 2012 from 2011.

Meanwhile, Toys R Us has its own challenges. It's facing tough competition from discount stores and online retailers. But executives at the privately held company say they expect a bustling season.

Toys R Us' list of the top 15 toys for the season is split nearly evenly between products available everywhere and toys exclusive to Toys R Us.

Among nonexclusive offerings: Hasbro's Playskool Big Hugs Elmo, a $59.99 22-inch doll with flexible arms that plays songs, knows phrases and gives out hugs; LeapFrog's LeapPad Ultra, the educational toy company's latest $149.99 tablet for kids; and a $119.99 Lego set, Legends of Chima Lion CHI Temple.

Exclusives on the list include a $14.99 Shimmer 'N Sparkle Cra-Z-Loom by Cra-Z-Art, which creates rubber band bracelets; a $399.99 Razor Crazy Cart go-cart for kids; and Toys R Us' own $149.99 tablet for kids called the tabeo e2.

For a full list of the 15 top toys and the overall list of 36 products, go to toysrus.com/hottoys.

 

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