If you were checking out the latest hot holiday toy lists and are filled with a slight sense of deja vu, you are probably not alone.
Several major toy retailers — Toys ‘R Us, Wal-Mart Stores , Sears Holdings’ Kmart — have weighed in with their picks for this year’s hottest toys. Topping those lists are retro brands like Furby, Lego, Barbie, and new editions of brands that were popular last year.
You'll also notice another thing: the toys are a little pricier this year. That could be a good thing for the toy industry, which has been suffering from declining sales. U.S. toy sales fell 2 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to market researcher NPD Group. And trends are even worse in the year-to-date period ended August 2012, when sales have slipped 7 percent from the same period a year ago.
But the holidays are key. The industry gets about 50 percent of its annual sales in the fourth quarter, so there is still a chance it could narrow the gap with 2011.
A blockbuster toy could help turn things around if it created enough excitment among consumers. At the moment it's too soon to tell, but it’s never too soon for retailers to place their bets.