Lalaloopsy Doll a Surprise Holiday Hit: Toys 'R Us CEO

MGA Entertainment’s Lalaloopsy dolls are becoming one of the surprise hits of this holiday season, according to Toys ‘R Us CEO Jerry Storch.

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The button-eyed dolls didn’t sweep the toy industry’s “hot” lists, but the doll appears to be selling better than expected, according to Storch. Perhaps it was the toy’s catchy jingle in its TV commercials or their bright colors. Whatever the reason, they seem to have won kids over.

Mattel’s Sing-a-ma-jigs are “hotter than we thought,” Storch said, in an interview ahead of the holiday season’s traditional kick-off, Black Friday. Justin Bieber dolls, Squinkies and some of the stores’ exclusive items such as Chuggington trains and Disney’s Princess & Me dolls are also selling well.

Many favorite brands such as Lego, Barbie and Hasbro’s Nerf also are popular this year, he said.

Toys ‘R Us will be one of the first retailers opening its doors for Black Friday weekend. Most of its stores will open at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

Storch expects the extended hours to boost shopper turnout this holiday weekend.

The retailer opted to extend its hours after the response it received last year, when it opened at midnight, Storch said.

Like many other retailers Toys ‘R Us began its holiday promotions long before Thanksgiving week.

One promotion that was introduced this year allows members of the store’s loyalty program to receive 10 percent of their purchases during the season. In response to this program, loyalty program membership is “growing rapidly,” Storch said.

The first few weeks of November have suggested that consumers are “more relaxed in their spending,” Storch said. “They still want a good value.”

That’s one of the reasons turnout is expected to be strong this holiday weekend for the Black Friday bargains.

As extra incentives, Toys ‘R Us will handing out 64-crayon packs of Crayola crayons and coloring books to those customers who are early to arrive at the stores. The company also has a number of exclusive items that it will be promoting, including a “Santa-ma-jig,” a green Sing-a-ma-jig that sings Jingle bells. Each store will have about 100 of these on Black Friday.

Those braving the crowds may also want to check into Facebook Places or Four Square while they are standing in line. The first 6,000 customers who do so will receive a special offer they can redeem in the store. On Foursquare that check-in will also unlock a virtual Geoffrey the Giraffe badge.

The company also is doing a separate Holiday Scavenger Hunt on its Facebook page with daily prizes and a $1,500 grand prize.

But like other retailers, Toys ‘R Us is extending its online offers this holiday season, including special online deals that will begin at midnight on Thanksgiving. And that’s really good for those who like a deal, but don’t like the crowds.

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