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Hot toys: Retro items are big this holiday season, store officials say

December 22, 2012
By Ilsa Matthes - staff writer ( , Daily Press

By Ilsa Matthes

SCANABA - While many parents expect their children to want the newest and hottest thing during the holidays, many parents may be surprised to see some of their childhood favorites on their child's Christmas list.

Article Photos

Theresa Prosen, store manager for Kmart in Escanaba, organizes an arrangement of Barbie toys in the store. (Daily Press photo by Holly Richer)

According to the National Retail Federation's 2012 holiday survey, nearly 24 percent of shoppers who will be buying toys for girls believe Barbie is the hottest toy this season.

Generic dolls and dolls from the Monster High, American Girl, Lalaloopsy, and Bratz were also listed in the top 20 toys for girls.

"Lalaloopsy is still popular this year," noted Theresa Prosen, store manager of the Escanaba Kmart. "Last year, she was kind of like when Cabbage Patch first came out and you couldn't get one."

Locally, toys from the popular Doc McStuffins cartoon series have also been quite popular. The show, which has received accolades for featuring an African American protagonist, is aimed at children between the ages of 2 and 5.

"I have limited quantities in of her (Doc McStuffins') little doctor kit. Those are flying off the shelves," said Nicole Perow, department manager over photo and toys at the Escanaba Walmart.

Toys based on characters aren't just popular with girls.

"For boys, I would say anything Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is flying off the shelves," said Perow.

While many parents may remember the Turtles from the '80s and '90s, the cartoon series was rebooted once again this fall, presenting a new generation with the characters - and Christmas lists with a few more Turtle-themed items.

Another '90s icon is making a comeback on wish lists this holiday season - Furby. The talking, animatronic toys have been updated and are ranked as the third-hottest toy for girls and the ninth-hottest toy for boys.

Nostalgic parents also may be surprised to learn that LEGO building blocks and construction sets are the No. 1 hottest toy for boys this holiday season. This marks the first time since 2007 that video games have been bumped from the No. 1 spot on the NRF's list of top toys for boys.

Even board games have made a resurgence and local retailers are having a difficult time keeping the games in stock.

"The board games were a surprise for us. It's not a particular one. Even the Monopolies - and Monopoly has been around forever," said Prosen.

Because board games typically require more than one player, the popularity of board games could indicate that people are spending more time with their children, friends and loved ones.

"People are getting back to that family game night," said Prosen.

While board game sales may suggest families are playing together, many of the most popular games are classics that may be more familiar to parents than to their children.

"I've noticed a lot of parents coming in for some of the older games like Mouse Trap, Chutes & Ladders, and Candy Land," said Perow, who agreed board games are more popular this year than in recent years.

Despite a surge in the popularity of classic toys, electronic toys and video games are still quite popular. The Xbox 360, Nintendo WiiU, and Playstation 3 were all listed in the NRF's list of top 20 toys for boys. The WiiU was also listed on the girls' top ten list, and individual video games were in the top 10 for both genders.

Non-console electronic games are also popular. LeapFrog educational toys - like the LeapPad and LeapPad2 tablets - came in 13th for both boys and girls but are particularly popular locally.

"It's both for boys and girls, so they come in different colors. There's a pink one and a green one," said Prosen.



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