NEW YORK - It's still too soon to tell which toys will actually become the must-haves of the upcoming holiday season, but Walmart is making kids' choice a big part of the decision this year.
In a first, about 1,000 boys and girls aged 18 months to 10 years spent a weekend in August in Dallas playing with 50 toys and choosing their favorites. The result is a top 20 list that includes a new robotic pet Furby, a hugging Elmo and a Barbie dream house.
TV show-related toys were also popular, along with cuddly interactive characters.
Retailers place their bets early on which toys they think will be hits and then spend heavily to market them.
Walmart plans to promote the top 20 toys with dedicated shelf space and with prominent positions on its website and in circulars.
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