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November 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 11
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November 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 11
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Top-10 Most-Anticipated Holiday Sellers

Tween Girls Get Stuck on Fashion Angels and Orb Factory

Affected by slow sales and a scary economy, some of the 32 specialty toy-store owners TDmonthly Magazine interviewed in late October didn't feel they could positively name which products will be their strongest sellers for Christmas. Most had a pretty good idea, though, and their diverse predictions — which also included the ever-popular Bananagrams, the EzyRoller and Bruder Trucks — resulted in the following list:

UPDATE 11/10/08:
Barbara Vininsky of Blossom & Harry in Ontario, Canada, was the first retailer to tip TDmonthly onto the frenzy surrounding SpinMaster's Bakugan Battle Brawlers. Now, in addition to Sticky Mosaics by The Orb Factory, what's keeping tween girls occupied, she said, are the Fashion Angels Project Runway kits and the Slumber Party Box of Questions by The Box Girls. And if you haven't gotten Chaotic Cards by 4Kids, you could be missing the year's 2nd hottest boy toy.

MSRP: $79.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Play Sets

The Calico Critters' Townhome is a large, four-room home with a room divider that can create a fifth room. The house can be opened and closed for lots of decorating and pretend-play fun. There is a movable staircase and an extra floor area to create larger rooms. When closed, the house measures 12" by 12" by 12". What makes this house even more special is that there are lights inside that can be turned on or off with the flip of a switch. It recently won a 2006 Oppenheim Platinum Seal Award.
— Seven of 32 specialty retailers named Calico Critters in October 2008 when asked which items they expect to be their hottest holiday sellers. In late November/early December 2009, two of 44 retailers cited Calico Critters as one of their overall best sellers.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7239      (added 3/17/2006)

MSRP: $11.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill
Wooden Toys

This wooden puzzle consists of 16 cubes that can be arranged to feature colorful images of six different farm animals. Each puzzle includes a border designed to help kids as they're assembling each puzzle.
— Four of 32 retailers mentioned Melissa & Doug when asked by TDmonthly about their anticipated best-selling toys for the holiday season in October 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21172      (added 10/31/2008)

MSRP: $29.99
Launch Date: February 2008
Gender: Boys
Category: General Toys
Licensed Products
General Games

The toy accompanies the Bakugan television series, which debuted on February 24, 2008. The Bakugan characters pop open into battle-action figures and requires players to incorporate elements of skill and strategy adding to the excitement of the game. Launch date: February 2008.
— Three of 32 specialty retailers said in October 2008 they expect Bakugan Battle Brawlers to be a top holiday seller.
— "We've already been selling a lot of them and I think it's going to pick up," Owner Kerry Horn of Learning Express in Glen Ellyn, Ill., told TDmonthly. "They are going to be hard to get."
― Two of 49 retailers told TDmonthly in summer 2009 that Bakugan is their top-selling action figure.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17833      (added 3/3/2008)

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: $69.99
Age Range: 3 and up
SKU or Item #: PC020
Launch Date: February 2005
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Vehicles - Riding
Outdoor Fun

The Original PlasmaCar continues to intrigue and fascinate. Powered by kid power; no batteries, gears, or pedals needed. Just sit, put your feet up, and turn the steering wheel to propel yourself forward. The patented safety seat design places riders in a safe, comfortable position and minimizes tipping. Moves up to 6 mph on any smooth, flat surface. Supports up to 220 lbs. Visit to see all the wonderful colors available.
—  As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 122 reviews on 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 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)

MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 6 and up
SKU or Item #: 4005556113231
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill

The kid-friendly, 3D-puzzle globe is composed of curved pieces that fit together perfectly to form a solid, smooth ball without any need for glue. The 96-piece puzzle measures 5” in diameter when assembled.
— Ravensburger's puzzle balls are selling well for David Hesel, owner of The Toy Shop in Concord., Mass. "We just got a 5' one, which we just put into our window," he said in March 2008, adding that the store has sold 100 puzzle balls since January.
— Nancy Bloomberg, owner of La Toys Etcetera in Cedarhurst, N.Y., was impressed with Ravensburger puzzles at Toy Fair 2008 and recently bought “individual pieces in a new buying program,” she told TDmonthly. “Our area is heavily populated with orthodox Jews so it's important to have non-electronic toys; a focus on games, building and puzzles is generally very strong.”
— Three of 32 retailers said in October 2008 they anticipate the Puzzleball to be one of the best-selling toys for the holidays. “Puzzles are a great niche for us,” said Michele and Ken Gietz of Where’d You Get That!? in Williamstown, Mass., when discussing their best sellers in fall 2008. Ravensburger is among the various brands of puzzles their store stocks for both children and adults.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18171      (added 3/27/2008)

Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $29.95
Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: September 2005
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Dolls

This set includes an 8" vintage-style pixie elf, a keepsake storage box and a children's picture book with a rhyming story that tells how the elf helps Santa out by watching children's behavior by day and reporting it to Santa at night. The elf is designed to be placed throughout the house during the Christmas season, creating a hide-and-seek activity for the whole family. Launch date: September 2005.
— “Elf on the Shelf is doing really well since we put those out five or six weeks ago,” remarked Janet Gregory, owner of Over the Rainbow Toys in Anchorage, Alaska, in November 2008. “We just brought them in in November. [We] sold 24 last month, and 24 already this month,” Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas, told TDmonthly.
— In a December 2011 survey about books, 2 out of 12 retailers named Elf on the Shelf their best-seller. "We sold 18 already, in just a couple weeks," Andrea Scartozzi from Hardware Toy Center in Paoli, Pa., told TDmonthly. William Meredith, owner of Learning Express in Cary, N.C., agreed. "Elf on a Shelf is our number one item. It has been for years!" he told TDmonthly.

Where to Buy: Smart Kids Toys; Kazoo Toys; Escapade Direct

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17594      (added 2/18/2008)

MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction

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: $44.95
Age Range: 9 and up
Launch Date: January 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games

Khet combines lasers with cstrategy in an award-winning game that takes minutes to learn but yields infinite possibilities. Players move Egyptian-themed, mirrored pieces around the playing field, ending each turn by firing a laser that bounces around with the goal of knocking out an opponent’s pharaoh. The silver player wins the game by deflecting his laser around the field and hitting the red player’s pharaoh. With the addition of fog or smoke, the laser beam becomes visible for more high-tech excitement. Khet (formerly known as Deflexion) caused a stir in 2006 at Toy Fair and Pomona. “The game truly spans the generation gap, with enough technology to interest the 'video-gamers' of the younger crowd while maintaining enough classic strategy ... to interest their grandparents and everyone in between,” Luke Hooper of Innovention Toys told TDmonthly.   It received a 2006 MENSA Select Award and was a 2007 T.O.T.Y. Game-of-the-Year Nominee. Launch date: 2006. Read Review
— "Khet ... is great seller for us. It's new and did well — even at $50," summed up Danny Givens, owner of Little Dickens in Lynchburg, Va.
— "I put my money on Khet," Co-owner Michele Gietz of Where'd You Get That? in Williamstown, Mass., said in October 2008 about anticipated holiday best sellers. "We only bring in 15 at a time, but the price doesn't scare anybody off — just have to hit the right people."
― Taka Andrews, owner of Miller's Toy Store in Mamaroneck, N.Y., said Khet is a top seller for tween boys, despite the allure of video games. Seven of 39 retailers told TDmonthly in October 2009 that board games are their go-to items for tween-aged boys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3719      (added 5/27/2005)

Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Dolls

This 14", soft-bodied doll wears a brightly colored outfit with rich detail in the fashion of London trends. She has sleeping eyes and long, brown hair.
— Two of 32 retailers told TDmonthly in October 2008 they expect Corolle dolls to be best sellers in their stores during the holiday season.
—  “They make it easy to do business with — that’s the bottom line,” Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas, told TDmonthly about Corolle in fall 2008. Nearly 6 percent of 52 retailers mentioned the company as a preferred vendor.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 21176      (added 10/31/2008)

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Julie L. JonesWriter's Bio: Julie L. Jones has written articles for both newspapers and magazines. Before joining the staff of TDmonthly Magazine, she worked as a communications writer and provided editorial support for a market research company. Read more articles by this author

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