Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Toys R Us is betting on Bieber doll to boost holiday sales

Will "Bieber fever" propel the new Justin Bieber doll into the ranks of Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle Me Elmo and Beanie Babies?

The 16-year-old shaggy-haired pop sensation - which won every category he was nominated in at this past weekend's American Music Awards - recently debuted the 12-inch version of himself with a doll.

And forecasts have it being a major hit.
"The Justin Bieber doll is one in a line of dolls that play to pop culture," said Richard Gottlieb, chief executive officer of USA Toy Experts. 
"I anticipate it will be a huge, huge hit. ... It will be hard to get."
Toy retailer Toys R Us is expecting the dolls to be such a success this season that it "flew the dolls in from Asia because it couldn't wait for them to get here by boat," according to a story in The Washington Post.
Because of this, Toys R Us is touting itself as the only store to have Justin Bieber Singing Figures and Style Figures on Black Friday, although its competitors are expected to soon offer the dolls as well. The singing doll retails for about $28; the style figure $18.

While the plastic Biebers didn't make the National Retail Federation's top 10 holiday toys lists, spokeswoman Kathy Grannis listed it as something retailers have been paying close attention to. 
(Meanwhile, other pop sensation Hannah Montana of Disney fame did make the NRF's top 10 list of toys for girls this year.)

The Justin Bieber dolls didn't make's list of top 100 holiday toys, but that's only because the doll was introduced after the list was announced on Oct. 1, said Chris Byrne, a toy reviewer for the site.

"They'll sell every (doll) they'll make," Byrne predicted. "Justin Bieber is on fire. But it remains to be seen whether it will be a one-season wonder, or whether it will have staying power."

Different experts each have their own lists of hot holiday toys this season. While Bieber dolls are expected to be hot with the tween crowds this season, it's yet to be seen whether Bieber mania can outpace the myriad other toys vying for top billing.

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