The Times West Virginian

Community News Network

November 28, 2013

Old-school toys dominate holiday lists

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

That may not be good news for retailers. Sales of toys have remained flat in recent years during the choppy economic recovery. Last year, toys sales totaled $22 billion in the United States, down from $22.2 billion in 2008, according to data from research firm NPD Group. That trend is expected to continue this year as analysts predict another lackluster holiday shopping season.

"In the 12 years I've been covering toys, we've always had something selling for a premium on eBay," Johnson said, referring to the online auction site. "This is the first time we're not seeing that."

Just 44.3 percent of shoppers said they plan to buy toys this holiday season, down from 45.1 percent last year, according to National Retail Federation data.

"The problem is that what really gets people spending on toys is not necessarily the same old, same old," Johnson said. "It's innovation, compelling new toys — and we don't have a whole lot of that right now."

Even so, retailers hope to capitalize on holiday purchases by offering exclusive items. Target has 350 store-specific toys this year, up from last year's 300. Kmart is selling an exclusive auburn-haired holiday Barbie, and Toys R Us is pinning its hopes on an updated version of its kid-friendly tablet, Tabeo e2. The retailer is also marketing the Ugglys, an Australian line of electronic pets known for their bad manners.

"Kids love anything that's foul and funny," said Lisa Harnisch, general merchandising manager for Toys R Us, adding that the company has exclusive rights to sell the products in the United States.

Toys R Us, which relies on holiday sales for a significant portion of its annual revenue, spends months culling its yearly lineup. Preparations for the next holiday season begin the week after Christmas, when a team of buyers boards a plane to Hong Kong.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads