Will your kids be clamoring for an Elmo that gives hugs, a loom that lets you make rubber bracelets or a kid-size go-cart this holiday?
Those and others have made Toys R Us' annual list of "hot" toys that the company is betting kids will want around holiday time.
It's a crucial calculation because retailers can make up to 40 percent of annual sales during the holiday season, so Wayne, N.J.-based Toys R Us needs to make sure it has the right mix of toys at the right prices.
Overall holiday spending is expected to be cautious. Retail revenue in November and December is expected to rise 2.4 percent during the biggest shopping period of the year, Chicago-based research firm ShopperTrak said Tuesday. That compares with a 3 percent increase in 2012 from 2011.
Meanwhile, Toys R Us, the largest specialty toy retailer in the U.S., has its own challenges. It's facing tough competition from discount stores and online retailers, and is in the midst of a CEO search since Jerry Storch left in February.
But executives at the privately held company say they expect a bustling season.
"Christmas always comes and parents want to give their kids items on their wish list," said chief merchandising officer Richard Berry. "We're pretty bullish on what the holiday looks like."
Toys R Us' list of the top 15 toys for the season is split nearly evenly between toys that are available everywhere and toys that are exclusive to Toys R Us. Exclusives help retailers compete since shoppers can't buy the toys elsewhere for cheaper.
Among non-exclusive offerings: Hasbro's Playskool Big Hugs Elmo, a $59.99 22-inch Muppet doll with flexible arms that plays songs, knows phrases and gives out hugs; LeapFrog's LeapPad Ultra, the educational toy company's latest $149.99 tablet for kids; and a $119.99 Lego set Legends of Chima The Lion CHI Temple construction set.
Exclusives on the list include a $14.99 Shimmer 'N Sparkle Cra-Z-Loom by Cra-Z-Art, which creates rubber band bracelets; a $399.99 Razor Crazy Cart go-cart for kids; and Toys R Us' own $149.99 tablet for kids called the tabeo e2.
The following toys have made the "hot" toy lists for three key retailers: Wal-Mart Stores, Kmart and Toys R Us.
- Hasbro's Big Hugs Elmo. Ever since Tickle Me Elmo became a craze in 1996, an iteration of Elmo usually pops up on annual holiday lists.
This year's version, Big Hugs Elmo, is cuddly, sings and talks, and has bendable arms that give out hugs to tots.
- Doc McStuffins Get Better Check Up Center from Just Play. The character from the Disney Junior show is about a physician's daughter who dreams of one day becoming a doctor and fixes toys and dolls, which come to life when she puts on her stethoscope.
The Get Better Check Up Center, $95, is a playset that has lights and sounds and medical equipment toys like a reflex hammer and scale. Toys R Us has an exclusive version for $79.99 that includes a Lambie doll and lab coat.
- Sofia the First. Another Disney Junior character, Sofia becomes a princess at age 7 when her mother marries a king. Retailers each have a different Sofia the First toy on their hot lists: Wal-Mart is featuring the Talking Sofia doll and Animal Friends Playset for $32.88; Kmart is featuring Jakks Pacific's Transforming Dress and Trunk as an exclusive; and Toys R Us is featuring a Jakks Pacific royal talking vanity for $79.99.
- Flutterbye Flying Fairy from Spin Master. The $29.99 doll floats in the air after a button on the display is pressed. Kids can direct the doll using their hands.