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By Matt Townsend
By Matt Townsend
NEW YORK - Mattel Inc., the world’s largest toymaker, placed the most items on an annual industry list that tries to predict the hottest gifts for the holiday season.
The company, based in El Segundo, Calif., has three items on the Toy Insider’s Hot 20 list, including “Sofia the First Talking Sofia and Animal Friends” that retails for about $40. Sofia is the main character in “Sofia the First,” the animated series on Walt Disney Co.’s Disney Junior network that draws on the entertainment’s company’s Disney Princess brand.
Two products from Hasbro Inc., the Pawtucket-based toymaker, made the cut, according to the trade website’s eighth-annual guide for picking toys and gifts.
The companies could use some hit items for the year-end holiday-shopping season after toy revenue in the U.S. market has been sluggish the past three years. Hasbro’s sales have declined 2.6 percent to $4.06 billion in the past 12 months through June while Mattel’s have increased 4.2 percent to $6.5 billion in the same period.
This month, several retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Toys “R” Us Inc., released their own top toy lists to boost interest in the items they are betting on for the holidays. Wal-Mart’s top-20 list, which it said was made based on feedback from 1,000 kids, has 13 items from either Mattel or Hasbro, compared with the Toy Insider list which has five products combined from the two manufacturers.
Hasbro’s items on the Toy Insider list include “Big Hugs Elmo,” from its Playskool brand which costs about $60.
Tablets and mobile devices specifically designed for young children, a growing market for companies including Samsung Electronics Co., were represented by LeapFrog Enterprises Inc.’s LeapPad Ultra for $150 and the Kurio Touch 4S from Techno Source that sells for about $100.
The Toy Insider’s Hot 20:
Age 2 and Under: Big Hugs Elmo (Hasbro); Go! Go! Smart Wheels Construction Playset (VTech); Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car (Mattel); Twilight Turtle Tunes (Cloud B)
Age 3-5: Despicable Me 2 Talking Minion Dave & Stewart (Thinkway Toys); Disney Planes Wing Control Dusty Crophopper R/C Plane (Mattel); Doc McStuffins Get Better Checkup Center (Just Play); Hexbug Nano V2 Black Hole (Innovation First); LeapPad Ultra (LeapFrog); Disney Sofia The First Talking Sofia and Animal Friends (Mattel)
Age 6-8: Battroborg (Tomy); Blingles Glimmer Glam Styler (Moose Toys); Disney Infinity (Disney Interactive); Flutterbye Fairies (Spin Master); Mega Bloks Barbie Build ’N Play Super Star Stage (Mega Bloks); Skylanders Swap Force (Activision)
Age 9 and Up: Air Hogs Elite Helix X4 Stunt (Spin Master); Draw Something Party Game (Hasbro); Kurio Touch 4S (Techno Source); Lego Chima Cragger’s Command Ship (Lego).