Price Breakdown: Top Holiday Toys

The holiday shopping season has barely begun, but price wars on toys are heating up. Just this weekend, Wal-Mart (Stock Quote: WMT) cut prices on its popular kids’ products in response to a similar move its major competitor Target (Stock Quote: TGT) made in early October.

Additionally, when unveiling its Christmas toy catalog, Toys ‘R’ Us advertised lower prices than in previous years. For example, there are selling the popular Zhu Zhu Pets, mechanical hamsters that zoom around on toy tracks, for $10. So where can you find the best deals? MainStreet comparison shopped at the three retailers to find out who’s offering the lowest prices on the hottest holiday toys.

Bigfoot the Monster

Wal-Mart: $84.88
Target: $84.99
Toys ‘R’ Us: $89.99

One of the most expensive kids’ toys available this year, the Fisher-Price remote-controlled monster walks, talks, burps, chews and throws a ball. He also has electronic mood swings. The toy is popular as it’s technically an electronic gadget geared to younger kids. The recommended age is 3-7 years old. Wal-Mart cut its price to be lower than both of its competitors … by 16 cents.  

Barbie Video Girl

Wal-Mart: $39
Target: $49.99
Toys ‘R’ Us: $44.99

Mattel’s It Girl this year isn’t just a Barbie doll – she’s a video camera, too. The camera lens is hidden in the doll’s necklace and the video screen is covered by her backpack. Videos can be viewed on the doll, or uploaded onto a Mac or Windows PC. The prices on the doll varied more than any other toy we checked out, but Wal-Mart is selling the doll for less than both its competitors.

Stinky the Garbage Truck

Wal-Mart: $49
Target:  $49.99
Toys ‘R’ Us: $49.99

Another toy geared to youngsters age 3-5, Matchbox’s talking, moving garbage truck gave Wal-Mart another slight edge. The retailer rolled back its price by nearly a dollar to edge out the competition.

Furry Frenzies Whirl Around Playground

Zhu Zhu pets may be sold out in stores, but one product all three retailers still have in stock is the Whirl Around playground, which features a battery-powered kitten that zooms around a whirling wheel. Again, Wal-Mart literally pinches pennies, edging out the competition by 3 cents.

Wal-Mart: $19.96
Target: $19.99
Toys ‘R’ Us: $19.99

Justin Bieber “Baby” Doll

Wal-Mart:  $24.99
Toys ‘R’ Us:  $24.99
Target:  $25.99

Both Wal-Mart and Toys ‘R’ Us edged out Target with the high-end Justin Bieber doll, which sings 30 seconds of the teen pop singer’s hit song “Baby.” Currently it’s only available pre-order, but all three retailers say they can ship it by Christmas.
Dance Star Mickey

Wal-Mart:  $64
Target:  $59.99
Toys ‘R’ Us:  $59.99

This toy looks to be this year’s Tickle-me-Elmo … too bad it’s not in stock. As of press time, all three retailers were out of Fisher-Price’s popular moon-walking Mickey.

Keep in mind, however, that price slashing isn’t the only way retailers are getting patrons into their stores. Target, for example, is offering a 5% discount if you make your purchase with a Target credit or debit card, or a Target Visa card. And Toys ‘R’ Us is offering shoppers 10% back in store credit on purchases up to $500 made online or in stores through its Rewards R Us loyalty program.

Comparatively, Wal-Mart offers only 1% back on purchases with its store-branded Discover Card, so Target and Toys ‘R’ Us cardholders may be able to save more at those retailers, despite Wal-Mart’s low prices.

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