Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Business

Wal-Mart lets kids decide which toys are hot for the holidays

NEW YORK — Lots of retailers come out with "hot toy" lists every holiday season, but this year Wal-Mart Stores decided to try something different: Let kids rate their favorite toys.

In a first, about 1,000 boys and girls ages 18 months to 10 years spent time over a three-day weekend in August in Dallas playing with 50-plus toys and choosing their favorites. The result is a top 20 list of kid-approved toys, out Thursday, that includes a new robotic pet Furby, a hugging Elmo and a Barbie dream house.

Retailers place their bets early on which toys will be hits and then spend heavily to market them to spur sales during the holiday season. It's a crucial time because holiday sales can make up to 40 percent of a retailers' annual revenue.

During spring planning for the holidays, one toy buyer came up with the idea to let kids be part of the process, said Scott McCall, senior vice president of toys and seasonal at Walmart U.S. Wal-Mart Stores is the world's largest retailer and the biggest seller of toys.

"It validated our assortment and caused us to think differently about this holiday," he said.

Making the list? Lots of new takes on classic toys, McCall said, like a new robotic pet Furby and a new Barbie Dreamhouse playset. TV show-related toys were also popular, including a Sofia the First talking doll, and a Doc McStuffins Get Better Check Up Center, both Disney properties, and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Secret Sewer Lair Playset based on the Nickelodeon show.

Cuddly interactive toys are also on the list, including an Elmo doll based on the Sesame Street character that gives hugs and FurReal Friends Cuddles My Giggly Monkey, a monkey that coos and cuddles.

With Christmas still months away, it is too soon to tell which toys will actually become the must-have toys of the season. But Walmart plans to promote the top 20 toys with dedicated shelf space proclaiming the toys "Chosen by Kids" and with prominent positions on its website and in circulars, beginning later this month.

"We're going to make sure to showcase our top toys in a different way," McCall said.

The Bentonville, Ark., retailer is also offering a layaway program with no opening fees for the holidays. A minimum down payment of 10 percent or $10, and a minimum purchase of $15 per item or $50 total, is required.

Comments
Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

TAMPA — More than two decades after the last bunch arrived on shore, bananas are back at Tampa’s port. More than 3,900 pallets of Chiquita bananas from Ecuador arrived last week at the new Port Logistics Refrigerated Services warehouse.It was the fir...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Grocery retailer Albertsons to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid

Grocery retailer Albertsons to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid

Associated PressThe privately held owner of Safeway, Vons and other grocery brands is plunging deeper into the pharmacy business with a deal to buy Rite Aid, the nation’s third-largest drugstore chain. Albertsons Companies is offering either a share ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

After national headlines and a public outcry over the deaths of 14 people at a Broward County nursing home after Hurricane Irma, nursing homes across the state are working to comply with new rules requiring them to have back-up power.But the process ...
Published: 02/20/18
Yoshi — car maintenance that comes to you — launches in Tampa Bay

Yoshi — car maintenance that comes to you — launches in Tampa Bay

A California-based company that promises to bring limited on-site car maintenance directly to you — from an oil change to a fill-up — has picked Tampa Bay as its next pit stop."Anything that your car needs, we’re going to bring to you," said Nick Ale...
Published: 02/20/18

Pasco Business Digest for Feb. 23

Business digestBrieflyLOCAL COMMUNITY RECOGNIZED: CHUY’S RESTAURANT TO OPEN: Chuy’s, the Austin-based Tex-Mex restaurant, will open its first Tampa Bay area location this spring near Cypress Creek Town Center in Wesley Chapel. The restaurant at 25750...
Published: 02/20/18
Epilogue: Tourism community remembers Paradise founder Cedar Hames

Epilogue: Tourism community remembers Paradise founder Cedar Hames

When Cedar Hames spoke, you listened.He was a natural storyteller, always dressed sharp to match his wit and natural elegance. He grew a two-person business in St. Petersburg into a leading tourism, advertising and marketing agency over an esteemed 3...
Updated: 5 hours ago
St. Petersburg set to rename main library after President Obama

St. Petersburg set to rename main library after President Obama

ST. PETERSBURG — Speaking in front of a small crowd gathered on the front lawn of the city’s main library, Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Monday that the facility will get a $6 million renovation and be renamed in honor of President Barack Obama.The a...
Published: 02/19/18
Sheriff’s undercover sting nabs 26 ‘brazen’ unlicensed contractors

Sheriff’s undercover sting nabs 26 ‘brazen’ unlicensed contractors

DUNEDIN –– Pinellas sheriff’s detectives spent their weekend luring in unlicensed electrical, plumbing and other home improvement contractors to a vacant home wired with cameras.It took only hours before a stream of people arrived to work on the outd...
Published: 02/19/18
Tampa Electric appeals OSHA citation for fatal Big Bend accident

Tampa Electric appeals OSHA citation for fatal Big Bend accident

TAMPA — Tampa Electric Co. is formally contesting the biting citation the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration handed down in December for a maintenance incident in June that left five workers dead.At a meeting with the Tampa Bay Tim...
Published: 02/19/18
On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

TAMPA — Columbia Restaurant owner Richard Gonzmart says he’s ready to put his checkbook where his heart is when it comes to supporting a Tampa Bay Rays move to Ybor City.So is the investment fund for the founding family of Ashley Furniture. So, it ap...
Published: 02/19/18