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Toys 'R' Us Details Top Toy Trends for the 2004 Holiday Season
Miscellaneous: Outsiders - 2004.11.18
2004-11-18 11:40 ET - News Release

WAYNE, N.J., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Toys "R" Us has identified five categories that shoppers are seeking out as they begin their holiday shopping. Early indications from holiday shoppers show several trends emerging for the 2004 holiday season, most notably items in the portable entertainment, interactive learning, updated classics, interactive gameplay and cool vehicles categories.

"Each holiday season there are a number of distinct product categories that are especially popular with consumers," said John Barbour, president, Toys "R" Us, U.S. "This year's trends illustrate the broadening definition of what toys mean to kids today versus ten years ago. These trends reflect those we see in facets of everyday life, including the influence of new technology and the rebirth of classics."

Outlined below are the five key toy trends and the strongest items within these trend categories that Toys "R" Us has identified this holiday season:

Trend #1: Portable Entertainment

Following the lead of the consumer electronics industry, the toy industry has introduced a variety of new portable entertainment products geared towards kids on the move. Parents and kids alike have embraced the convenience of portable devices that play music, videos and games and occupy children during long road trips or other periods of downtime. There has been keen interest in some new innovations, including VideoNow(TM) Color and VideoNow(TM) Jr. personal video players by Hasbro, which allow kids to watch their favorite programs while on the go; Game Boy(R) Advance SP, with an ever-growing list of games and videos; and Nintendo's Game Boy(R) Dual Screen, which comes to market November 21. These items are anticipated to be among the season's most sought after in the portable entertainment category.

Trend #2: Interactive Learning

Interactive toys purchased by parents as educational tools for their children, are becoming "must haves." These devices appeal to a wide range of children from six months to those in their teens, and provide lessons that mirror school curricula, including early learning skills, geography and math. Heading up the list of teaching toys for the pre-school set are the new V.Smile(TM) TV Learning System by V-Tech and InteracTV(TM) by Fisher-Price. LeapFrog also has a number of great learning toys for a wide range of ages, including the iQuest(TM) Handheld, an expandable study system, for children in grades five through eight.

Trend #3: Updated Classics

This year, a number of standard toy classics have been updated to appeal to today's savvy youth market. Crayola(R) Color Wonder(TM) brand -- the mess-free line of markers and finger paints by Binney and Smith, allows little ones to be creative without making a mess. Even the perennial classic Candy Land(R) by Hasbro Games has had a facelift with its more contemporary King Kandy, Mr. Mint and Princess Frostine characters. Ms. Pac-Man(TM) and Atari(R) video games are also back and captivating new competitors in the Plug & Play Games category, which is led by Jakks Pacific. And the delicate game of Operation(R) by Hasbro Games now has a new patient, the big green ogre, Shrek. This new adaptation allows players to cure Shrek's many ailments such as ear wax, heartburn and toe jam.

Trend #4: Interactive Gameplay

The convergence of electronics and play has brought a whole new dimension to gaming -- and enhanced the experience. One of the most relevant trends within this category is combining DVD technology with board games. Hasbro Games joined this game craze last year with its Trivia Pursuit(R) Pop Culture DVD edition, and picks up momentum this year by introducing its Trivia Pursuit(R) Saturday Night Live DVD edition, featuring hilarious sketches, famous impressions and unforgettable characters from the popular late-night show. In addition, Mattel has launched the Scene It?(TM) DVD game series taking gamesmanship to another level with movie and television trivia, and a special Disney challenge. Additionally, Lazer Tag(R) Team Ops from Hasbro takes the well-known game of tag to the ultimate end with Head's Up Display, LCD screen and easy team-play programming.

Trend #5: Cool Vehicles

From souped up to sleek, manufacturers have created a whole new line of RC cars and ride-on vehicles -- in many cases creating almost exact replicas of their life-sized counterparts. Young drivers can experience an array of rides that have true-life accessories: front and rear wheel suspension, speed and digital proportional steering, working headlights, radios and more! Just like a dealership lot, there are scores of models available in a variety of sizes from miniature to 1:6 scale to ride-on, including the Fast Lane R/C Ford T-350 and Fast Lane R/C Hummer(R) and Corvette(R) C5-R Power Vehicle by Safety 1st. For biking enthusiasts, the coolest bike this year is the Sting-Ray by Schwinn. A popular bike in the 60s, this stylish ride evokes fond memories for adults and an awesome new biking alternative for kids. The all-terrain cycle comes with decorative spokes, a riveted flat-back saddle and extra wide tires.

About Toys "R" Us

Toys "R" Us is one of the leading specialty toy retailers in the world. Currently it sells merchandise through more than 1,200 stores, including 680 toy stores in the U.S. and 598 international toy stores, including licensed and franchise stores as well as through its Internet sites at http://www.toysrus.com/, http://www.imaginarium.com/ and http://www.sportsrus.com/. Babies "R" Us is the largest baby product specialty store chain in the world and a leader in the juvenile industry, and sells merchandise through 211 stores in the U.S. as well as on the Internet at http://www.babiesrus.com/.




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