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By Matt Townsend
NEW YORK - Mattel Inc. and Hasbro Inc., the world’s biggest toymakers, each placed three titles on Toys “R” Us Inc.’s list of products it predicts to be best-sellers during this year’s holiday shopping season.
The so-called Fabulous 15 list includes Hasbro’s Sesame Street Let’s Rock! Elmo, which allows kids to play music along with the furry red monster, and interactive robotic toys from Mattel called Radica Fijit Friends, according to a statement from Wayne, New Jersey-based Toys “R” Us. Four of the offerings, Air Swimmers eXtreme, Moshi Monsters, Trash Pack Garbage Truck and My Keepon are exclusive to the retailer.
Toys “R” Us, the world’s largest toy chain, began compiling the list in January when more than 100 employees attended the Hong Kong Toys and Game Fair, Lisa Harnisch, vice president and general merchandise manager at Toys “R” Us, said in an interview. The company then narrowed down the list by testing toys at its headquarters and seeing how they sold in a small group of stores.
Prices on the list range from $5.99 for Moshi Monsters to $280 for a Power Wheels Dune Racer from Mattel’s Fisher-Price brand, Harnisch said. Leapfrog Enterprises Inc. and Activision Blizzard Inc., the world’s largest video-game maker, also have titles on the list.
Toys “R” Us, purchased by private-equity firms KKR & Co. and Bain Capital LLC along with Vornado Realty Trust for $6.6 billion in 2005, plans to hire about the same amount of temporary workers for the holiday season as last year, when it added 45,000. The retailer will also open fewer temporary stores than the 600 it operated last year.
The Toys “R” Us Fabulous 15