OPERATIONS

Walmart enlists kids to help select ‘hot’ holiday toys

BY Marianne Wilson

Bentonville, Ark. — Walmart on Thursday announced its annual holiday top toy list, but this year’s list has a new spin: It was put together with the help of kids. The chain brought together 1,000 kids ages 18 months to 10 years to test, play with, and help select the top toys for the season.

“We are taking the guesswork out of customers’ holiday toy shopping by turning to kids to tell us what the real top toys are," said Scott McCall, senior VP of toys and seasonal at Walmart U.S. "Kids told us they want interactive toys as well as classic brands. After hearing this feedback, we did what we do best. We made price investments to offer absolutely great savings on these holiday toys and more for our customers."

According to an Associated Press report, Walmart gathered the kids over a three-day weekend in August in Dallas, where they played with 50 toys and chose their favorites.

The "Chosen By Kids" toys will be grouped together throughout the season in special in-store displays, on Walmart.com and in newspaper circulars around the country beginning later this month. The list features newcomers and classic favorites, and includes a new robotic pet Furby, a hugging Elmo and a Barbie dream house.

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OPERATIONS

Susser Holdings Corp. CEO appointed chairman

BY Staff Writer

Corpus Christie, Texas — Susser Holdings Corp. announced that Sam L. Susser has been appointed chairman of the board of directors of SUSS, effective immediately. He will retain his position as CEO of the company, which he has held since 1992.

Bruce W. Krysiak, the current board chairman, will become lead independent director.

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Best Buy, Office Depot top retail back-to-school brands

BY Dan Berthiaume

Mountain View, Calif. — Best Buy was the most effective retail brand overall during the 2013 back-to-school advertising season for the second year in a row with an average Ace Score of 561, performing 15% higher than its retail peers, according to TV and video advertising data from Ace Metrix.

Office Depot was the second most effective back-to-school retail advertiser with an average Ace Score of 540.

Meanwhile, Ace Metrix reports Kmart ads aimed at a young, hip audience were highly polarizing and offended and confused many viewers. J.C. Penney debuted the most new creative this season but also experienced the largest decline in average Ace Score (484), dropping 14% from 2012. Target had the second most significant year-over-year decline of 12%. Retail ads accounted for 82% of total back-to-school ads

“This was a lackluster year for back to school, but technology and gadgets dominate this season with brands like Best Buy, Office Depot, and H.H.Gregg topping the list over traditional apparel and department store ads,” said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. “Best Buy returns this year as the most effective brand based not only on their compelling product-featured ads but engaging viewers with outstanding visuals and compelling stories of customized shopping experiences.”

In terms of most effective single ads, Best Buy had back-to-school ads with the highest and third-highest Ace scores, while J.C. Penney had the number two ad. Office Depot tied with Best Buy for number three and also had ads ranked sixth and seventh, Kohl’s had ads ranked fifth, eighth and ninth, and a Target ad took the 10th spot.

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