Toy retailers ready for holiday rush; are you?


Sometimes shoppers are frustrated when stores run out of stock during the summer months, but for the holiday season, local stores are stocking up for the expected throngs of shoppers.

“During the summer, toys like the L.O.L. Surprise toy, which has been popular this year and last year, are hard to find,” he said. “We do overstock ourselves when the holiday season comes though, so for our particular store, we definitely make sure we provide for that.”

U.S. toy sales rose 7 percent to $7.9 billion in the first six months of this year, according to the NPD Group.

This year, L.O.L. Surprise! dolls (which stands for Little Outrageous Little) are one of Target’s top-sellers again, according to its hot toy list.

The little dolls, which come with “surprise” accessories, and are popular from YouTube “unboxing” videos, spiked in excess of $4 billion worldwide, according to consumer reports, compared to about $600 million last year.

Target Valencia was prepared then. Blanco said they did not sell out when the dolls were a hit around Christmas last year.  

This year, other toys that are looking to be a hit include: Barbie DreamHouse; Let’s Dance Elmo; Luvabella, a life-like baby doll with realistic facial expressions and responses; battle-action figure car game “Mecards,” based on a popular Korean animated series; Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar, a toy from Fisher Price that gives youngsters an early introduction to STEM coding; and KONEX building sets.

“Our store alone already has deliveries every day,” Blanco said. “But for our particular store, we also pay attention to online stores. We always keep track of inventory so we don’t run out before the holidays.”

Target is doubling the number of new and exclusive items this year, and will have more than 2,500, Mark Tritton, the company’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, said in a statement.

This tends to happen in late September through early January, Blanco said.

“It’s more or less during the summer when we are struggling with having enough merchandise in the store for our guests that we would run out, but it’s still not a common thing,” Blanco said. “Our store specifically gets deliveries during the holidays where we are doubling our input. We get up to 10-12 trucks a week, while we would in contrast only get five trucks a week in the summer. And even in those trucks they bump up our merchandise count, especially in our toy department with high sellers.”

Other high-sellers also include: Pomsies by Skyrocket, which are fashionable plush pets that can even wrap around children’s wrists; SelfieMic Selfie Stick Microphones; and the classic slimy and squishy toys that Blanco said have been popular for many years.

The biggest inconvenience to local Santa Claritans is the long lines they must endure to buy the items, he said.

“It’s not a matter of running out, it’s that these toys can be so popular that people crowd the stores at the same times getting them,” he said. “My advice would be to shop as early as possible, and look to do it especially during the week. I’d suggest that’d be the best bet, such as in the early mornings before everyone’s off for the weekend.

Or shop online,” he said. “All retailers like Walmart and us are all prepared, so it’s up to the consumer as to how they want to strategize when to make their purchases.”

Blanco also said large retailers like Target intentionally add toys to display racks around town or by checkout lines to make space for the excess in merchandise, and so consumers will be able to easily find them.

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