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Top Story 'Tis the season for low toy prices

Top Story: 'Tis the season for low toy prices

Retailers are positioning themselves as advocates for the consumer this holiday season by pledging to provide useful information on toy trends, gift-giving advice and low prices.

Walmart announced on Oct. 1 that it reduced prices on some of the most popular toys in a move the company said signaled its determination to be America's price leader this Christmas.

"Consumers know we've been on their side all year with great brands, everyday low prices and our Rollback program," said Walmart chief merchandising officer John Fleming. "And this Christmas will be no different."

Toys R Us

More recently, Toys"R"Us announced a list of toy trends it said would influence kids' wish lists this holiday season. The retailer has identified the following five toy trends for Holiday 2008: adorable animatronics, curious kids, earth-friendly fun, music my way and savvy savers. Each year, Toys"R"Us compiles a list of what it considers to be the season's most popular toy trends.

"With global merchants in 34 countries, Toys"R"Us is able to track and study toy trends throughout the world. Through this process we"ve identified five trends that reflect the types of toys that kids will be dreaming of on Christmas Eve," said Bob Giampietro, senior vp of trend and innovation.

"Children continually emulate and adapt based on what they see and hear in real life and this is reflected in the trends we've recognized this year."

Meijer

Meijer also announced it plans to cut prices on more than 300 popular toys. "Meijer wants to make sure that no one has to be a Grinch this holiday season," said David Stickney, merchandise manager for toys. "While we know this is one of the toughest economic climates our customers have faced in recent years, everyone at Meijer is working hard to help customers save money and still be able to enjoy the gift-giving aspect of the season."

Retailers disseminating lists of hot toys and announcing reduced prices has become a staple of the holiday season as companies engage in the practice under the auspices of performing a public service. The service provided is that of eliminating hassles the holiday by simplifying the gift-giving experience through the identification of popular items and key trends, which do provide a benefit to people who don't have clue what to buy a child.

The other public service provided is to the media. Throughout the nation, the retail industry receives increased interest the media as reporters are called upon to file the requisite stories about the outlook for holiday sales, top toy trends and familiar live report the mall as crowds gather on Black Friday.

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