Retailers, consumers and prices
Check out the hot new toys list from Toys R Us for the holiday shopping season.
The “2010 holiday hot toy list” shows the industry’s creativity in finding new ways to capture children’s imaginations. That includes looking for inspiration to landfills or the annoying coin-operated vending machines in groceries that all parents detest.
Toys R Us comes out with the annual list, which this year features 36 new items — some exclusive — to give parents ideas for what to buy their little ones as they head into the holidays.
“We don’t want to miss anything,” said Lisa Harnisch, vice president and divisional merchandise manager at Toys R Us.
The list includes a Fisher-Price made landfill that allows fans of the Disney-Pixar movie “Toy Story 3” to relive the scary climax scene where the hero toys head toward incineration. It’s not every day that your kid will thank you for giving them a garbage dump. At least there’s no batteries required.
Then there’s “Squinkies,” squishy pencil-topping toys that allow kids to “take home the excitement of a coin-operated vending machine.” Evoking imagery of the gantlet every parent dreads because those machines are filled with useless, cheap, money-wasting junk may not be the way to go. Again, no batteries required.
Longtime favorite Playmobil offers a small schoolhouse “featuring everything needed for a full curriculum”, including a skeleton for the science class. This could do well as kids love to play with structures and also are fascinated by the human body. And, you guessed it, no batteries required!
Finally, there’s the Calico Critters Luxury Townhouse. These toys live better than I do. The house boasts a “balcony and an outdoor patio” and includes chandelier fixtures. Unfortunately, there is a price to be paid for such high living and that’s the electric bill as, yes, this toy requires two AA batteries.
The best gift for little ones may be IOUs for stock in Toys R Us, which is counting on the new products to boost sales as it looks to go public. A successful IPO would surely pay for plenty of batteries.
Also in the basket:
(Photo courtesy of Toys R Us)
Check out how the recession has redefined what “major purchase” means to American consumers.
Three times the number of consumers said “yes” compared with “no” when asked if they need to discuss a purchase of $250 to $300 with their spouse or partner to determine if they can afford it, according to a survey by BeemerReport.com. It was the first time “yes” topped “no” at that price level.
Check out the expected higher use of cash and debit cards this holiday shopping season by debt-weary American consumers.
Credit cards are losing their appeal as 28.3 percent of U.S. shoppers said they plan to use that method of payment most often this holiday season, down from 31.5 percent last year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation and BIGresearch.
Check out Toys R Us hiring 35,000 for the holiday season.
The toy store giant said it would keep its U.S. store hiring plans at the same level as the last two years, even though industry watchers expect a relatively bleak winter.
Toys R Us, the New Jersey-based chain with nearly 70,000 permanent associates around the globe, is preparing for what it expects will be “another busy holiday shopping season.” Besides hiring about 35,000 for the season, current Toys R Us employees will also be given the chance to work extra hours, the company said.
Los Angeles shoppers weren’t in much of a splurging mood, except when it came to buying dolls and doll clothes at American Girl. The Grove shopping center is home to one of six American Girl stores in the United States and parents said its dolls are on every girl’s wish list. Here’s what we captured on camera:
Check Out Circuit City posting its fifth quarterly loss for the past six quarters and withdrawing its financial outlook, as declining store traffic put a damper on sales right before the key holiday season.
Circuit City, which competes with Best Buy, has been the subject of takeover speculation and other questions about its future as results weaken, hurt by consumers dialing back on nonessential spending amid high food and gas prices and tight credit markets.