Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Toys “R” Us touts Black Friday discounts to shoppers


Take as long as you need to recover from that big Thanksgiving meal this year.

This Black Friday, Toys “R” Us is holding an additional hour of door-buster deals  as it tries to get a bigger bite of sales this holiday season.

The specialty toy retailer is discounting more than 150 items this year, compared to the 101 that it announced a year ago. Shoppers can snap up toys and games at those special prices from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 28, known in the retail industry as Black Friday, the traditional kick-off to the holiday shopping season. Last year, the door-buster deals were finished by noon.

Toys “R” Us is waging price wars against retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world’s largest retailer, known for its low prices. Wal-Mart has already unleashed a round of price cuts on toys in October when it offered 10 popular toys for $10 each, and plans to cut prices every week until Christmas as it tries to win over cash-strapped consumers.

While a massive toy recall played on consumers’ minds last year, the state of the global economy has easily overtaken those concerns this holiday season. Consumers are expected to continue shopping carefully and  hunt for bargains, and Toys “R” Us is gearing up to meet those demands. The company is allowing consumers to peek at 50 unadvertised door-buster deals online beginning Nov. 26 at midnight. Last year it posted 40 mystery deals online. 

Check Out Line: Hannah Montana rising


Check out the marketing power of Hannah Montana.
Watch out Barbie. Hannah is clawing her way up behind you. At least as far as girl’s toys are concerned.
According the National Retail Federation’s 2008 top toy survey, Hannah Montana has moved up four spots to the number two position for girls’ in the Top Toys survey, trailing on Mattel’s Barbie.
Toys based on the Disney character, who is played by Miley Cyrus, knocked those scrappy Bratz dolls out of the number two spot. Bratz fell all the way to number four behind just-plain-old, everyday, no-specific-name dolls.
As far as boys are concerned, the list is similar to last year, with video games in general topping the survey and the Nintendo Wii in the number two spot. Legos, cars and Transformers round out the top five.
While the weak economy is leading to expectations of a dismal holiday shopping season, parents could find some bargains in toys.
“The good news for parents is that many retailers are featuring toys as loss leaders this year, heavily discounting and promoting these items to bring shoppers into stores,” NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin said.
Also in the basket:
CPI drops at record pace in October
BJ’s Wholesale quarterly profit jumps
Why Doesn’t Costco accept food stamps? (N.Y. Times City Room)

(Reuters photo)

Less at the pump means more in stores, Hasbro CEO says


biscuit.jpgConsumers rejoicing at the gas pump in recent days may mean good news for retailers — at least that’s what the CEO for toy maker Hasbro is thinking.

In an interview after Hasbro — known for its Monopoly board game and My Little Pony toys — posted a third-quarter profit that beat Wall Street expectations, CEO Brian Goldner said one heartening outcome of the financial crisis was that crude oil prices have fallen in recent weeks, which has translated into lower prices at the pumps for consumers.

Bratz and Bakugan make latest hot toy list


bratzandbarbie.jpgIf the holiday season is around the corner (or even a little farther away), then it is that time of the year again — major toy retailers, childrens’ magazines and guides announce “hot” lists, predicting which toys and games will likely fly off store shelves during the holiday shopping period.

According to Toy Wishes magazine, girls who are 6 years old or older are likely to go after the Bratz “Girls Really Rock” line of dolls this time around.

Check Out Line: Pink iPod helps lead hot toy parade


Check Out how the iPod finally made it into the Toys “R” Us hot toys list for the toysrus.jpgholidays.

This holiday season, Apple’s pink 8 GB iPod nano, Nintendo’s Wii Fit and the Fisher-Price Sesame Street Elmo Live toy are topping the list of most sought-after toys.