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Toys’R’Us Announces 2009 Holiday Toy-Buying Trends – Reuters

October 16, 2009

Global Tracking of Toy-Shopping Preferences Throughout the Year Points to Four  Key Trends that Blend Parents' Perspectives and Kids' Desires    WAYNE, N.J., Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Toys"R"Us today announced the four key  trends it expects will dominate toy purchases this holiday season.  The 2009  toy-buying trends range from nostalgic toys that bring back comforting  childhood memories to do-it-yourself craft projects.  As young ones dream of  unwrapping presents on Christmas morning, parents are planning their holiday  shopping, balancing what their children want with what fits their budget.  The  trends - Retro Rewind; Designed By Me!; Tiny Treasures, Teeny Prices; and  Investing in the Future - were identified based on the company's year-long  observations of shopping habits, along with tracking the toys expected to top  kids' wish lists.      "As THE toy authority, with stores in 34 countries across the globe, we have  unique insights into toy-buying trends," said Karen Dodge, Senior Vice  President, Chief Merchandising Officer, Toys"R"Us, U.S.  "The four key trends  we've identified this year reflect both the current times and parents'  perennial desire for toys that offer outstanding value AND quality."      Following are the four toy-buying trends identified by Toys"R"Us for the 2009  holiday season, as well as representative toys, all of which can be found in  the company's stores nationwide or online at Toysrus.com.      TREND #1: RETRO REWIND  Perhaps longing for simpler times, many parents are increasingly looking to  introduce their little ones to toys they cherished when they were children.   Whether in its original form or an updated version of an old favorite, many  toys of yesteryear are back again, bringing fun and smiles to a whole new  generation of kids.  Nostalgic playthings represented in this trend are truly  the "comfort foods" of toys:  --  Sesame Street® The Original Tickle Me(TM) Elmo from Fisher-Price® made  laughter contagious among kids of all ages more than a decade ago, and  now it is back, exclusively at Toys"R"Us.  This classic toy started a  phenomenon when it was first released and is sure to bring smiles to  little ones today.  --  Strawberry Shortcake(TM) Berry Cafe(TM) from Hasbro® is the latest  hangout and home for the sweet-smelling doll that moms enjoyed as  children.  A new generation of youngsters will enjoy creating fun  adventures for Strawberry Shortcake and her friends.  --  Cozy Coupe® 30th Anniversary Edition from Little Tikes® has been the  vehicle of choice among preschool drivers for three decades.  The new,  special 30th anniversary edition has a high-back seat design and  sturdy  sides to provide increased stability and a removable floor panel for  children who are not yet walking independently.    --  bop it!® from Hasbro® Games originally debuted more than a decade ago,  igniting friendly competitions as children bopped, pulled and twisted  their way to victory.  The 2009 version adds more fun, challenges and  higher skill levels, including a new element requiring players to  shout  into a microphone.        TREND #2: DESIGNED BY ME!  More and more adults are embracing the do-it-yourself movement.  Perhaps  inspired by these adult influences, today's kids have put their own stamp on  this trend and are designing personal creations.  A growing assortment of toys  and activities has been introduced to spur imagination and encourage  originality among little ones:  --  Harumika(TM) RUNWAY SHOWSTOPPER SET from Bandai® gives little  fashionistas the opportunity to sketch apparel and accessories, or  decorate clothing with fabric markers, studs and gems to prepare for a  career in fashion or just for fun.  Kids can also test out their  designs  by using the included fabric on a dress form to create a mini  wardrobe.  --  Ultimate Jewelry Kit from Totally Me features thousands of beads, a  pair  of pliers and an accessory tray to enable young jewelers to string  their  own necklaces, earrings and bracelets.  This do-it-yourself approach  to  jewelry design makes it fun and easy to personalize pieces to flaunt  or  give to friends and family.  --  Bendaroos® Amazing Flexible Building Sticks from Allstar Products  Group  allow kids to express their creativity by building pieces of art from  flexible wax sticks.  Just six inches in length and as thin as a  string  of yarn, these colorful sticks can be shaped, wrapped, stuck together  and reused for transformation into anything young minds can imagine.    --  Paperoni® Deluxe Studio from Spin Master® inspires young crafters to  turn tiny, colorful paper rolls into 3D artwork.  With a dash of  ingenuity, kids can design dozens of creations such as animals,  friendly  faces and more.        TREND #3: Tiny Treasures, Teeny Prices  Toys that are small in size, but provide big fun at petite prices, are proving  to be one of the year's most dominant trends.  Today's focus on all things  frugal has certainly influenced this trend, but to kids, these toys are  miniature must-haves.  These tiny treasures, all under $12, are sure to  provide hours of enjoyment:  --  Zhu Zhu Pets(TM) Hamster from Cepia is as small, furry and adorable as  the real thing, but easier to care for and more budget-friendly.  With  more than 40 different sound effects and artificial intelligence,  these  five different battery-operated pets are interactive and offer  countless  hours of affordable fun as they dart around the house, play in hamster  tubes, run on wheels and more.  --  HEXBUG® Nano from Innovation First International makes playing with  insects fun.  These inexpensive micro robotic creatures look alive and  feature a mini vibrating motor that propels them across the floor or  table, helps them flip from their back onto their feet, and even  enables  the bugs to navigate a maze.  --  Gogo's Crazy Bones(TM) Blister 5-Pack from iToys, Inc. are small  collectibles that come in an assortment of characters, each with  unique  faces and names that provide hours of entertainment.  Kids can invent  games, battle one another or trade with friends, as well as create an  album of the Crazy Bones stickers that come with each toy.    --  BAKUGAN® BATTLE BRAWLERS(TM) from Spin Master® continue to be a craze  among kids.  Available in a variety of different characters, these  brawlers are action figure warriors tucked into marble spheres that  pop  open for battle when rolled onto a metal Gate card.        TREND #4: INVESTING IN THE FUTURE   Even as parents resist splurging on themselves, they are making investments in  toys they believe will help their children build skills for the future.  These  products stimulate learning, encourage budding architects, unlock the talent  of musical geniuses and teach computer prowess.  With prices beginning at  $79.99, these toys are an investment in tomorrow:  --  Zippity(TM) Learning System from LeapFrog® and Disney® promotes  learning while young children dance, jump and play on an interactive  mat.  Challenging kids physically and mentally, eight built-in games  follow a preschool curriculum to teach basic skills.  --  Electric Guitar from First Act®, shaped like a shark fin, is available  only at Toys"R"Us and allows music enthusiasts to hone their skills.   Whether jamming like their favorite rockers or practicing to become a  performer, aspiring musicians can tune-up on this kid-friendly guitar  and accompanying amplifier.  --  Disney Netpal(TM) from ASUS helps children master the computer at an  early age while preventing them from damaging their parents'.   Available  in Princess Pink and Magic Blue, the Netpal offers simple software  operation and easy Internet access with over two dozen robust parental  controls.  The Toys"R"Us exclusive version has a spill-proof keyboard  and a 16GB SSD drive that can withstand bumps and drops by young  users.    --  LEGO® City Construction Site from LEGO® Systems, Inc. comes complete  with a three-story building, construction vehicles and elevator lift  for  transporting the roof and wall sections, to allow young builders to  practice their architectural skills by building a small city.        About Toys"R"Us, Inc.   Toys"R"Us, Inc. is the world's leading dedicated toy and baby products  retailer, offering a differentiated shopping experience through its family of  brands.  It currently sells merchandise in more than 1,550 stores, including  848 Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores in the United States, and more than 700  international stores in 33 countries, consisting of both licensed and  franchised stores.  In addition, it sells extraordinary toys in two FAO  Schwarz stores in the United States.  With its strong portfolio of e-commerce  sites including Toysrus.com, Babiesrus.com, eToys.com, FAO.com and  babyuniverse.com, it provides shoppers with an unparalleled online selection  of distinctive toy and baby products.  In addition, the company operates  ePregnancy.com, an online resource for parents.  Headquartered in Wayne, NJ,  Toys"R"Us, Inc. employs nearly 70,000 associates worldwide.  The company is  committed to serving its communities as a caring and reputable neighbor  through programs dedicated to keeping kids safe and helping them in times of  need.          SOURCE  Toys"R"Us    Bob Friedland, +1-646-366-8862, friedlab@toysrus.com, or Meryl Schrank,  +1-973-617-5634, meryl.schrank@toysrus.com, both of Toys"R"Us, Inc.

New thing in robotic toy in toy store.

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