Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is using a rather unique method to determine what the hottest items of the upcoming holiday season will be: by going directly to the source. Whereas Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) used to take their cues from toy buyers, they’re now skipping the middle-men (parents), and going directly to the toy-users (the kids). Julie Hyman reported for Bloomberg today from Dallas, where Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) was conducting their fun-filled toy testing.
“For the second year, Wal-Mart invited hundreds of kids to Dallas with one important but fun task: play with toys. The kids, ranging from 18 months to 12 years then voted on their favorites. The world’s largest retailer used to rely on an army of toy buyers to pick hot holiday items. But with the kids in charge, it discovered what they wanted,” Hyman said.
The event, dubbed “Chosen by Kids” is now in its second year, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) uses the gathered data not only to display a “Chosen by Kids” icon along with those specially chosen toys in their online listings, but also to influence their inventory decisions.
As Hyman discovered while interviewing Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)’s U.S VP of Toys Anne Marie Kehoe, the Flutterbye Fairy was stocked in greater quantities after last year’s event, as they could see from girls playing with the toy that it was a product they were going to love. That turned out to be both wise and prophetic, as the toy wound up being their best-selling one of last year’s holiday season for girls.
Some of the other items chosen by kids during this year’s event included the Air Storm Firetek Bow, the Vtech Kidizoom Smartwatch, the Razor Crazy Cart Spinning Go Kart, the Leapfrog LeapTV Educational Active Video Gaming System, and the Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Doll. Oh, and those Flutterbye Fairy’s haven’t lost last year’s luster; they made the cut on this year’s list as well, in the form of the Spin Master Flutterbye Light Up Fairy. You can view the entire ‘Chosen by Kids’ collection at Wal-Mart’s website.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) will need a big holiday season to make up for sluggish same-store sales and online sales that aren’t accelerating at quite the desired pace. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)’s stock is up 2.46% over the past month, but still down 2.77% year-to-date. It closed Wednesday at $76.51.