With six months until Christmas, Santa has not even begun thinking about what he’ll be sticking in our stockings on Christmas Eve – but Sheffield store Atkinsons has.
While we are still shopping for maxi-dresses and praying for summer weather, the city centre department store is planning ahead.
James Rogers, who has been manager of Atkinsons toy department for the past year, said: “We keep an eye on what’s selling all year in an effort to try to predict what will be at the top of boys’ and girls’ lists to Santa this Christmas.
“There may still be six months to go, but we have a pretty good idea of what we need to be stocking our shelves with in preparation.”
So while it may only be June, that has not stopped Atkinsons from compiling a list of the top 10 Christmas contenders they are expecting to see fly off the shelves this festive season.
The list features a number of nostalgic favourites – shaken up and reinvented – plus a few surprising retro gifts you might not expect to see.
James said: “There are always going to be new flashy gadgets and toys that cause a stir, but the toys we see being most consistently popular are the toys that have held an enduring place in the hearts of children for generations, passed down from parents and grandparents.”
And his top pick? He said: “I would have to say Lego. Lego is always popular and, once the new Superman stuff comes in, I’m confident that will be the one that’s suddenly appearing at the top of everybody’s Christmas present lists. I’d put my money on it.”
“Lego is a real classic toy, that, year after year, just keeps sneaking back into the top toys chart, usually near the top. I think it’s because Lego plays such a big part in our playing development as children; we start out with the big blocks as little kids and then graduate up to the bigger and more complicated sets. Plus they’re constantly tied in with the new movies that are coming out. Superheroes is a big thing right now and for every Marvel blockbuster, there’s a corresponding set and figures which, you just know, are going to sell great.”
V-TECH MINI LAPTOP
“Kids love to copy their parents and these sold fantastically well last year. This particular one is aimed at children aged four-plus and is jam-packed with games and puzzles and they are getting more digital and impressive every year. We know if we have anything V-Tech in, it’s going to sell. Parents love that it’s fun and educational too.”
MONSTER HIGH DOLLS
“These have really exploded the last couple of years and are currently our second best-seller this year – they’re always out of stock! They’re a relatively new line of dolls, made in classic doll dimensions but with a gothic twist - gothic names, gothic clothes. Childen in Sheffield have really embraced these and they are one of our best sellers.”
MOSHI MONSTERS KATSUMA
“Like the Monster High Dolls, these are a really big seller. They’re collectables and I think that’s a big part of the appeal with kids – getting all the different ones. We also sell the littles ones which kids like to take to school and trade in the playground, so I’m expecting those to be big as some of the stocking fillers this year.”
NERF ‘DART TAG’ GUN - AIMED 8+
“There’s no doubt in my mind that this will be on the list of top toys for Christmas 2013, the Nerf Gun is just so popular. It’s a real lads toy and they love it, they sell really well all year around but, at Christmas in particular, we’ll see sales go through the roof.”
“Dolls have never waned in popularity, whether they’re the Baby Born or Cabbage Patch Kids, which just came back recently. Dolls will be high on our list this Christmas season.”
FURBY ROBOT DOLLS
“Furby Dolls came back with a splash last year, after first becoming a must-have toy in 1998. Now, in 2013, they’ve had a bit of a modern makeover. They have expressive LCD eyes, a wider range of motions and interactions and their own phone app.”
“We sell a big range of puppets, all different shapes, sizes and characters that sell unbelievably well. They’re a real retro gift, very nostalgic, and fly off the shelves all year round, but especially at Christmas.”
“There are certain games, like Monopoly, Scrabble and Connect4, that will always be popular. They’re so great to have in the house at Christmas when all the family’s together and, like with Monopoly, there are just so many different ones.”
“Perhaps surprisingly, jigsaws are one of our very biggest sellers in the toy department. They’re really big with grandparents who love getting them for their grandchildren so that they have an activity they can do together.”