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Toy imports dip 9% in U.S. despite approaching holidays

Newark, N.J. -- A report released Friday by the Journal of Commerce/PIERS showed that U.S. toy imports dropped 9% year-over-year in September, as the country's retailers apparently chose caution heading into the 2011 holiday season.

The drop in container volume, most of it from China, was the eighth straight for toys coming into the United States and a strong sign that the nation's stores are concerned with figures showing waning consumer confidence and opting to keep inventories lean rather than face deep-discount sales.

The 60,616 twenty-foot-equivalent units arriving at ports in September, according to measurements by PIERS, marked a 7.6% year-to-date drop – or 30,430 fewer containers – from the same period last year.

"There is a strong inverse correlation between toys imports volume (in 20-ft. equivalent units) and toys import prices over the last seven years," said Mario O. Moreno, economist for the Journal of Commerce/PIERS. "When toys import prices increase, the tendency for demand is to decline ... 74% of the time."