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December 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 12
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December 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 12
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Hot Holiday Sellers - 2008

Here's What'll Move in Specialty This Year


You've seen other top-10 lists, but they don't have much to do with your store. Here are the latest, last-minute hot holiday toys for specialty in 2008. If you're a mom, dad, grandma or grandpa, add them to your list of must-gets to wow the kids. If you're a retailer, try to stock up to keep holiday spirits (and sales) high.

At the top of the list are the Bakugan Battle Brawlers by Spin Master, based on the hit TV show, which feature marbles that transform into action figures when they land on a magnetized card. Though they're not a specialty-only item, they're still hot in mom-and-pop shops. Bananagrams is a fast-playing word game for competitors of all ages. Snap Circuits by Elenco makes engineering fun. Ganz's Webkinz are falling off the radar, but a new model will still make some little collector smile:




MSRP: $14.95
Age Range: 6 and up
Launch Date: February 2008
Gender: Boys
Category: Action Figures
General Games
Collectibles



Bakugan is a strategic card game played with magnetic, spring-loaded marbles that transform into robots. The game spawned an animated series on Cartoon Network, Bakugan Battle Brawlers, which debuted on February 24, 2008, according to Wikipedia. Launch date: February 2008.
— Barbara Vininsky, owner of Blossom & Harry in Montreal, Canada, said in early 2008 that this is her hottest item by far: "It's out of control; I've never seen anything like it." Boys 6 to 9 are snatching it up as fast as she can order, even though her store specializes in clothing and she rarely has hot toys for boys.
— Two of 63 retailers named Bakugan when asked about their overall best-selling toy in September 2008. Tim Hayes, owner of Learning Express in Sudbury, Mass., told TDmonthly in November 2008 that his store sells 500 to 600 units of Bakugan monthly. “We’ve been very fortunate in having shipments,” he said.
— David Marks, owner of Learning Express of Westport in Westport, Conn., lauded Bakugan for its wide range of appeal. "I've been in this business for 13 years and I've never seen a product appeal to kids as young as 5 and as old as 13," he told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18227      (added 4/3/2008)
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MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Educational
Award Winners



The fast-moving word game consists of 144 ivory-like letter tiles in a zippered banana pouch. Players place the tiles face down on the table and randomly select 21 tiles. They turn their letters right-side up simultaneously and proceed to form as many intersecting and interconnecting words as possible, rearranging their own letters as many times as desired throughout the game. Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2007; 2009 TOTY Game of the YEAR, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal; 2007 iParenting; 2007 Parents' Choice Recommended; 2007 Dr. Toy Best Products. (Read Review)
— This product has been making the TDmonthly Best-sellers lists since 2007.
— As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.8 out of 5 stars from 456 reviews on Amazon.com.
— Eight of 66 retailers vouched for its best-selling status in May 2008; seven of 63 did in Sept. 2008. Shani Watmough of Planet Toys in Rockland, Maine, said her store sells 60 per month.  Fifteen of 38 named it a top-selling game in Feb. 2010.
— As of April 5, 2010, Bananagrams had spent 570 days in the top-100 best-selling toys and games on Amazon.com.
— According to owner Brett Sommer of Figpickels Toy Emporium in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,  “It was the 2009 game of the year. The brilliant packaging definitely helps this product."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8301      (added 6/19/2006)
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MSRP: $69.95
Age Range: 3 and up
SKU or Item #: PC020
Launch Date: February 2005
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Vehicles - Riding
Preschool
Outdoor Fun



Now more than 10 years old, PlasmaCar continues to intrigue and fascinate with millions of units sole and multiple awards in over sixty countries worldwide. Kids just sit, put their feet up, and turn the steering wheel to propel themselves forward up to 6 mph on any smooth, flat surface. With a maximum weight capacity of 220 lbs., even parents and grandparents have experienced a giggle by taking it for a spin. Made from state-of-the-art, high-quality ABS plastics, this kid-powered, durable, ride-on vehicle comes in a variety of colors.
—  As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 122 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: Does not work well on surfaces that aren't completely smooth.
— This top-seller in specialty stores earned a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award for its distinctive aerodynamic design and ease-of-use. TDmonthly believes it has the potential to become a classic due to its fresh, contemporary appeal and application in a child’s formative years.
Awards: 2012 Parents Choice Awards Recommended, 2009 Green Parents List Check Mark, 2009 DisneyFamily.com Top Action Figures and Toys for Toddlers, 2009+2008+2005 The National Parenting Centre Seal of Approval, 2008 iParenting Media Toy Award, 2008 Fat Brain Toy Award Active Play, 2006 TIA Outdoor Toy of the Year - Specialty Toy of the Year, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, 2005 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, 2005 Dr. Toy Best Vacation Products, 2005 Creative Child Seal of Excellence, 2001 International Patent Fair, Hong Kong Gold Medal
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3829      (added 6/28/2005)
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MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction
Preschool



This set comes with two cars and colorful, click-lock track that children can use to build and rebuild their own roads for play.
— Three of 32 retailers predicted in October 2008 that this product will be a hot seller for the holiday season. "Got 12 in yesterday; sold through half," James Burdette, owner of LB Toys in Media, Pa., told TDmonthly.
—    “People keep asking for it,” said Terri Bracken, owner of Earth Explorer Toys in Zionsville, Ind., in November 2008. “We’ve gone through 36 and have 18 left.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21169      (added 10/30/2008)
.


MSRP: $10.99
SKU or Item #: 7655
Gender: Boys
Category: Action Figures
Construction
Licensed Products



Kids can build an army of Clone Troopers with this set, which includes four figurines plus a blaster turret and speeder bike.
— Dean Smith, Owner of JaZams in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly in late Spring 2011 that he sells "at least" 20 of these LEGO sets each month.
— As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 20 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Detailed; the speeder vehicle included is fun and seats two clones; good for travel because of their smaller scale. Cons: One reviewer complained there weren't enough figures included in the set.
— "Every time there's a new Star Wars LEGO, it blows right out the door," Joe Berardoni, owner of Pun's Toy Shop in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly in September 2008. He and one other retailer, out of 63 polled, mentioned LEGO when discussing best-selling products.
— “Star Wars Lego has been insane at our store,” said Michelle Smith of Piccolo Mondo Toys in Portland, Ore., at the end of 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20727      (added 9/24/2008)
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MSRP: $24.99
Age Range: 4 and up
SKU or Item #: 4185
Launch Date: January 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Play Sets



This set includes two ponies, four figurines, jumps, a tree, a stand for visitors and much more. Launch date: 2008.
—  Seven of 63 specialty retailers named Playmobil as one of their overall best-selling products in September 2008, and five of 52 said the same the next month. Three of 32 retailers also told TDmonthly in October 2008 they expect Playmobil to be a top seller for the holidays.
— James Burdette, owner of LB Toys in Media, Pa., said his store sells about 100 units from the line each month.
— Playmobil was one of the top-10 best-selling items at Pun’s Toy Store of Bryn Mawr, Pa., in the fall of 2008, according to owner Joe Berardoni, Sr. “It’s well designed and has great play value,” he said. “It’s a toy that uses imagination — old-fashioned imagination.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20804      (added 9/29/2008)
.


MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Play Sets



This family of cute, flocked cat figurines, all with names and characters in the storyline of Cloverleaf Corners — the neighborhood where International Playthings’ Calico Critters live — comes with a mother, a father and two babies, all just the right size for the wide variety of accessories and friends included in the series.
—  “[They’re] nice imagination toys,” said Jackie Englehart, assistant manager of Great Rocky Mountain Toy Company in Bozeman, Mont. “[They] also have a variety of price points and little kits, so you can go all or small.”
—  Of 64 retailers surveyed by TDmonthly in August 2008, 8 percent named Calico Critters as their best-selling collectible toy.
— “Calico Critters continue to develop new characters and play sets, and … provide what I feel is much-needed imaginative play,” said Joe Berardoni, Sr. of Pun’s Toy Store in Bryn Mawr, Penn. in October 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20779      (added 9/29/2008)
.


MSRP: $12.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: January 1900
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Interactive
Tween



This fluffy white horse comes with a special code kids can use to access Webkinz World online.
— Kathy Mabry, owner of The Village Toy Shop in North Easton, Mass., told TDmonthly that Webkinz continue to be a top seller for her store. She reported sales of hundreds every month in early fall 2008.
— “Ganz’s Webkinz — they're still selling well here,” said Linda Laramy, owner of Cracker Jacks in Easton, Md., when asked about best-selling items for tweens. “They’re still very popular.”
— Webkinz was on the top-10 best-seller list at Pun’s Toy Store in Bryn Mawr, Pa., in October 2008. “Although not the sellers they were before, they still present the greatest play value in our industry,” Owner Joe Berardoni, Sr., said.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20608      (added 9/19/2008)
.


MSRP: $59.95
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Educational
Science & Nature
Kits



Snap Circuits make learning electronics easy and fun. Kids follow the colorful pictures in the manual to build exciting projects, such as FM radios, burglar alarms, doorbells and more. Parts are mounted on plastic modules and snap together with ease. “Children can play with this kit for hours and hours and still have not completed all the projects the snap circuit kits have to offer,” Walter Larsen, national sales manager for Elenco, told TDmonthly.
— One retailer said in summer 2007 his store sells 25 Elenco units monthly. Five percent of 64 retailers said in August 2008 that Snap Circuits are a best-selling science product, reporting average sales of six units per month. Four of 38 retailers echoed the same a year later. “They’ve gone back to this game six or seven times,” between January and July 2006, said TDmonthly's homeschooling mom Susan Ledford.
— Any time TDmonthly asks specialty storeowners about top-selling science toys, Elenco's Snap Circuits heads the list. This simple electronics kit appeals to both girls and boys. By making science fun and easy, Snap Circuits earned a TDmonthly Classic Toy 2007 award.
—  As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.8 out of 5 stars from 575 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: One user said that her grandchildren were "not all that interested" in the Snap Circuits, and told her that they would prefer LEGOs on their birthday.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5252      (added 10/27/2005)
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Alison MarekWriter's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ...  Read more articles by this author

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