Can't find the hot new toy? Blame the economy

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jackets, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. jackets

    jackets Gamer/Anime fan

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    NEW YORK (AP) -- Robotic toy hamsters, the latest Barbie dolls and stylish boots are disappearing from store shelves as holiday shoppers start to get serious. But don't confuse this with the days of Tickle Me Elmo.

    Instead of a throwback to great buying binges of the past, the empty shelves are just another sign of bad times.

    The shortages come from stores that are terrified of ordering too much and are keeping their inventories thin.

    "I guess if you see it, you should get it," said Martha Frey, who was surprised when she couldn't find a specific style of boots in a popular size for her 17-year-old daughter recently at a Top Shop in Manhattan's SoHo district.

    Shoppers are spending a little more these days, but they aren't going on buying sprees. Stores, remembering how Americans snapped their wallets shut last holiday season, didn't order big piles of merchandise in the first place.

    The result, with seven weeks to go before Christmas, is that popular toys are already hard to find.

    In fact, the holiday season's early hit -- the Zhu Zhu Pets hamster, an interactive mechanical rodent by Cepia Inc. that sells for $9.99 and is being compared to Furby a decade ago -- is almost impossible to nab.

    Other toys that are already becoming hard to find include Mattel's Mindflex, which measures brain activity through a helmet, a Nerf dart thrower called Nerf N Strike from Hasbro Inc. and Barbie Fashionista, who can twist her hips and strike other poses.

    "Stores just underordered across the board," said Jim Silver, an analyst at Timetoplaymag.com, who predicted shortages of the top 100 toys by early December. In a typical year, only the top 15 are in short supply that early.

    In recent weeks toy makers have dispatched executives to China to make sure they get enough products to keep shelves full, Silver said. But production times can be long, and chances look slim that people who put off buying a coveted toy until Thanksgiving will be able to get one by Christmas.

    Shoppers are starting to notice.

    Tami Megal, a 36-year-old mother of girls ages 5 and 9 from Melville, N.Y., had to go to Toys R Us five times before she got her hands on Zhu Zhu Pets a month ago. But she's having a hard time finding the accessories, like the car, pet carrier and bed.

    "It's no use to just get the hamsters. You need the habitat," she said. Megal noted that overall worry about shortages has made her start her holiday shopping early. She's almost finished.

    The barren shelves are in stark contrast to last year, when stores ordered too much and had to slap big discounts on merchandise as soon as it hit the floor. Holiday sales posted their biggest decline in at least three decades, and the results cascaded into poor profits and even the closings of prominent stores like Circuit City.

    This year, inventory is 8 to 13 percent smaller for mid-price clothing, and 10 to 15 percent smaller for home furnishings, said Antony Karabus, CEO of Karabus Management, a retail advisory firm.

    Stores would rather be out of stock than stuck with lots of leftovers. But they also know that merchants who carry goods shoppers want will have an edge.

    "No one wants to leave money on the table," said John Long, a retail strategist at Kurt Salmon Associates. "No one wants to disappoint customers."

    October sales results showed that lean inventories have helped raise profits for stores, but they're also limiting sales. And many reported slower sales toward month's end as they ran out of clearance merchandise.

    Inventory is one of the biggest challenges stores face this holiday season, said Carl Steidtmann, an economist at Deloitte Research. Nevertheless, they're reordering only the best-selling items.

    Even then, they may be out of luck. Manufacturers, particularly small ones, matched production to orders and don't have extras ready to ship.

    BaseCamp Adventure Outfitters in Basking Ridge, N.J., which sells outdoor clothing and gear, has sold out of a few styles of fleece jackets from brands like Horny Toad and Prana. The store can't get more until April.

    "Folks are coming in, and we are trying to reorder," said Nick Marotta, a sales associate. "But there is nothing to get."
     
  2. swampflight

    swampflight Banned

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    Wally World is doing this....

    The wal-mart in my area has been doing this since October and when I asked a Dept.manager about why the shelves were either packed full of the same ROTF figures or were almost vacant he said the same thing,they wont order more toys until the ones already there were almost sold out because the store loses money marking them down after Xmas.
     
  3. Doctor Doom

    Doctor Doom Doom is best pony Veteran

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    Wow.

    Its not just the economy, ya gotta factor in that those hamsters sell for $20-50 on ebay. We cant keep them on the shelves due to people snagging the whole case assortment before anyone that wants to get one for a child can get them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
  4. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    "What? Sniped with two minutes left? RIIIIICCCCHHHHAAAAARRRDDDDSSSSSSS!"


    The thing is, however, its still relatively early in the christmas shopping season, and if items sell out, the stores are still able to order more.
     
  5. Tyrannosaur

    Tyrannosaur 100% Sarcastic Saurian

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    This is why I can't have nice things because everyone buys them before I cash my damn paycheck in!
     
  6. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    This article's writer is either oblivious to the fact that gifts can be ordered on the internet or is consciously avoiding it in his article.
     
  7. megatronkicksas

    megatronkicksas Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea what in the hell you're talking about.
     
  8. red4

    red4 Banned

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    you're guilty!
     
  9. Riltht

    Riltht Full-Time Doomsayer

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    Zhu Zhu Pets. Little robotic hamsters that you can buy things for. Seems to be almost like a doll in some ways, maybe. Never touched one, so not entirely sure.
     
  10. Drake

    Drake Smooth Is Smooth Baby

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    No the real secret is that Richard Gere is buying up all the robot hamsters. You heard it here first.
     
  11. MidnightBliss

    MidnightBliss Well-Known Member

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    /\: lol

    Seriously, I think there is going to be a huge drought on the hottest toys this year. All the stores around me barely stock anything.
     
  12. rapid_fire

    rapid_fire TFW2005 Supporter

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    There is no "hot new toy"

    Tickle me elmo was the only stupid toy to ever generate so much demand that it was "the hot toy everyone is after"

    it was a one time thing, and it annoys me that toy companies are now trying to make "the hot toy" every year. they even compile lists, of shitty toys no one wants (as the top 10 toys) to try and make more sales
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  13. swampflight

    swampflight Banned

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    Your right on the money with this...

    A lot of those "Hot Toys" end up on clearance at Toys-R-Us or Target just so they can get rid of them.
     
  14. Murasame

    Murasame CHIMICHANGAS

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    lol
    I read "stylish boobs" :D 
    pity they are disappearing from shelves...
     
  15. Spoiler

    Spoiler Autobot Spoiler

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    You sure, I seem to remember Furbies, and Tomagachis had a similar ordeal...
     
  16. Deathnoble

    Deathnoble Aristocratic Assassin

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    It cold be that I work in a grocery store and not a standard (Everything) retail store, but every seminar/meeting/pow-wow we have, they continue to tell me its better to have backstock than out of stock.

    Which, now that I dwell on it, makes even less sense since its groceries and you have to sell food by a certain date or lose 100% of profit, unlike toys where you can clearance and maybe lose 50% of your profit...... *Scratches head*
     
  17. Riltht

    Riltht Full-Time Doomsayer

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    I can see pros and cons of that. The trick is having just enough without having too much. Of course, that is usually easier said then done.
     
  18. Deathnoble

    Deathnoble Aristocratic Assassin

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    So much easier. So much.

    Kinda pressure-ful. I'm the inventory control manager. Its all on me.... :\
     
  19. Vexza

    Vexza Nerdicon

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    There's a robotic hamster toy?
     
  20. red4

    red4 Banned

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    you must've forgotten all about TURBO MAN!!!
     

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