Hoping to improve this year's already $700 million sales shortfall, toymakers are gearing up with big plans for the fourth quarter armed with products recently exhibited at TheTimetoPlayMag.com Holiday Showcase.
Characterized as "a tough year" so far by the magazine's ceo and editor-in-chief Jim Silver, toymakers have been challenged by lagging sales at the box office, a soft spring/summer selling season, and looking ahead, six less days for holiday shopping and an early Hanukkah.
For this reason, those harder to find items will be harder to find driving more consumers into stores hunting for popular products earlier than ever.
Retailers have already begun to lure consumers with free layaway, price match guarantee, reward dollars, exclusive products and aggressive social media campaigns hoping to capture the first dollars of the holiday season
Interestingly, infuriated shoppers slammed Kmart on its Facebook page when it launched its Christmas campaign more than 100 days before the holiday to get a jump on the competition. Keeping the momentum going, the retailer created its Fab 15 list featuring its top picks for the holiday season including an exclusive 2013 Barbie Collector Auburn Hair Holiday Doll.
Not to be outdone, Walmart turned to 1,000 kids (ages 18 months to 10 years old) when developing its "Chosen by Kids" top toy list for classic and new toys. The top 20 toys will be grouped together throughout the season in special in-store displays, on Walmart.com and in newspaper circulars around the country.
Toys "R" Us also announced aggressive plans including a loyalty program where members can earn up to 10% back, up to 100%, on qualifying toy purchases through October 31. An e-gift card will be delivered in November allowing them to complete their holiday shopping. Its return policy has also been extended through January 25.
Now that retailers have set the stage for the all-important holiday season, let's see what will be filling shopping carts in the weeks ahead.
Monster High will definitely scare up interest with its 13 Wishes Doll
Assortment with two new friends Gigi Grant (daughter of a genie) and
Twyla (daughter of the Boogie Man). Each
doll comes with a pet, diary, brush, doll stand and character-specific
Toys "R" Us and Justice already committed to The Beatrix Girls, a brand new collection of four pop star dolls that will allow girls to collect original music, join their fan club and vicariously live the fantasy of being a pop star through play.
Also new is Pinkie Cooper and the Jet Set Pets from Bridge Direct which lets girls follow the adventures of Pinkie and friends Ginger Jones and Pepper Parson via a blog Pinkie Post. The line also includes a collection of pets and fashion accessories.
Fairytale characters in a modern day high school setting is the backdrop for Fairy Tale High with teenage Snow White, Rapunzel, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, Tinker Bell and Cinderella brought to life as they might have been before they became fairy tale princesses. A series of webisodes and eBooks will showcase each character's teenage story.