NEW YORK — Lots of retailers come out with "hot toy" lists every Christmas season, but this year Wal-Mart decided to try something different: let kids rate their favorite toys.
In a first, about 1,000 boys and girls aged 18 months to 10 years spent a three-day weekend in August in Dallas playing with 50 toys and choosing their favorites. The result is a top 20 list of kid-approved toys, out Thursday, that includes a new robotic pet Furby, a hugging Elmo and a Barbie dream house.
Retailers place their bets early on which toys they think will be hits and then spend heavily to market them to spur sales during the Christmas season. It's a crucial time because holiday sales can make up to 40 percent of a retailers' annual revenue.
The Bentonville-based retailer is also offering a layaway program with no opening fees for the holidays. A minimum down payment of 10 percent or $10, and a minimum purchase of $15 per item or $50 total, is required.