Money Matters - Simplified

Toy industry poised for a comeback

Dallas -- U.S. retail experts said the toy industry is poised for a rebound as gifts for youngsters are more sophisticated and cheaper this year.

Jonathan Samet, publisher of The Toy Insider, said most toys this year were priced under $50. Another expert, Jim Silver, editor of TimetoPlayMag.com, said, "Gone are the $300 dinosaurs and the $100 remote control cars."

"There will be bargains throughout the season, but not on the hottest toys," he told The Dallas Morning News.

As manufacturers and retailers keep budgets tight -- avoiding overproducing or overstocking items -- half of the top 100 toys last holiday season were unavailable after Dec. 14, Silver said.

Overall, toy sales dropped 0.5 percent in 2009, but IBISWorld Inc. predicts sales will rise 1.8 percent in 2010.

What's hot this year is hard to say this early in the season.

Last year, pet hamsters made by Zhu Zhu were all the rage, becoming the best selling toy in the year around Thanksgiving. This year, look for Squinkies (made by Blip Toys) and Zoobles (made by Spin Master Toys).

In general, funny names are in; high prices are out, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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