Toy industry fails to unearth knock-out Christmas product

The British Association of Toy Retailers believes there will be no runaway success toy this Christmas.

The association, which represents more than 75 per cent of the UK’s toy retailers, has asked a panel of experts to predict this year’s top toys and games.

It has drawn up a list of 26 contenders for the slot. The top ten winners will be announced at the Total Fun Toy Fair this week.

Unlike previous years, which have seen parents chasing after one-of-a-kind Furbies or Pokémon toys, the biggest trend of Christmas 2000 could be that there is no dominant trend.

One reason for the shift away from the dominant toy phenomenon is that this year’s predicted must-have toy – PlayStation2 – will only be available to those who have pre-ordered it.

According to the panel, interactive pets are likely to prove popular. Hasbro’s Tiger Electronics is launching an advanced version of its robotic dog, featuring voice recognition, in time for Christmas.

Super Poo-Chi, which goes on sale next month, will be able to recognise six different voice commands given by its owner, including “give a paw”, “lie down”, “stretch” and “sit”.

The toy company is hoping that the latest addition to its robo-chi line will outsell rivals such as Mattel’s Rocket Dog and Quest’s Tekno the Robotic Puppy this Christmas.

Analysts also predict that this year will see a comeback of traditional toys such as Barbie dolls and scrabble, after toy scooters made a come-back in a more stylish form.

A spokeswoman for the Association says: “Children seem to want to play with updated versions of the toys their parents had.”

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