By putting hundreds of kids between ages 18 months and 12 years old in a room to play with 80 toys—and then having them vote on their favorites—the company identified five toy trends ahead of the holidays:
• Creativity and crafts, such as the Spin Master Sew Cool Sewing Machine ($34.97) and the Maya Group Make Your Case Cell Phone Cover Kit ($24.99).
• Licenses, especially for items related to Disney's "Frozen" and the TV show "Doc McStuffins."
• Electronic toys, such as the Leapfrog LeapTV gaming system ($149.97) that will be released later this year or the Spin Master Flutterbye Light Up Fairy ($39.88).
• Rebooted classic brands, such as Mattel's Barbie Glam Camper ($83.78) and Hot Wheels Street Remote Control Flying Car ($54.86).
• Scooters and ride-on toys, such as the Razor Crazy Cart Spinning Go Kart ($349).
Wal-Mart said it would promote the toys through in-store displays that call them out as chosen by kids, on a landing page on Walmart.com, and through online, social and print marketing.
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The company on Sept. 12 will also kick off its layaway program for toys that cost $15 or more in baskets worth $50 or more, and will use its Savings Catcher program to match prices from local competitors. The tool compares local advertised prices from a customer's receipt, and if it locates a lower price, it will make up the difference on a Wal-Mart gift card. This price matching does not include Amazon.
"Our focus is on having great prices all season long across our toy assortment," Kehoe said.