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Toy retailers talk about the popular toys for Christmas

Toy retailers talk about the popular toys for Christmas



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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Zhu Zhu hamster is darn cute. It squeaks and zooms around, or it sits in your palm and coos -- and it sells out as soon as it hits the shelves.

Buzz Hangge is the assistant home manager at the downtown Smith's Marketplace. He's lived through every craze from Cabbage Patch Kids to Tickle-Me Elmo.

"It's cute, and having two boys, commercials are a big deal," Hangge said.

If you can't find one, there are other cool toys out there, like Rocky the Robot truck for boys

"That truck is pretty incredible. It dances, it talks. It does everything," explained Jerry Storch, with Toys R Us.

Hangge says Hot Wheels and Transformers are always good gifts and popular buys. Little Pet Shop toys have been big sellers for girls.

For toddlers, toy sellers recommend the Fisher Price Stack and Surprise Train or Counting Candles by Leapfrog -- you can actually blow out the electronic birthday candles.

But the big story is small prices. Hasbro had a $300 dinosaur last year. This year, Stephanie Openheim with toyportfolio.com says there's a much cheaper option.

"This is Kota and Pals. He's great fun, and he's under $30," Openheim says.

She says the magic price point for parents is $20 this year. That could be why the Zhu Zhu hamster, at around $10, is such a hot item. But the hamsters are so hard to find, they are going for tons more on eBay.

Hangge says the pets are trickling down to stores. The makers hoped it would make sure only people who really wanted them would get them.

If you really want one, Hangge recommends calling ahead to a store to see if they will set one aside for you.

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com

Mary Richards

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