Author Topic: Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...  (Read 1954 times)

Offline Brian

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Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...
« on: September 15, 2003, 10:46 AM »
Over the past week or so, I had the chance to visit a few different retail/toy stores and take a look at the toy aisle.  I thought it might be nice to have a thread to discuss current setups and/or trends in the toy aisles in your respective areas.  As far as what I saw around here (I visited 2 Wal-Marts, 2 Targets, a TRU, and K-B), here are a few observations:

Star Wars:  Wal-Marts were set up as we heard, basic figures only, six pegs..as well as lightsabers.  Unfortunately, most was old product, although one store did have the research droids and DF Padme.  Targets didn't have much for basic figures (actually a new Greatland Target that opened about a month ago has been pretty good about toys, found the Scenes there a couple weeks ago, but now they have Clone Wars ships, red clonetroopers, and some empty space.  TRU pegs have been packed with Pilot Jangos for months, although they do have the Officer/Han/Lando 12" wave there, as well as Luke/Sidious/Obi Unleashed.  KB doesn't have any new product, just the four packs, $1.99 2002 figures, etc.

Other Observations...

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is really getting a lot of space in the stores around here.  Is it because they are being pushed hard, selling well, or both?  I had a few of these back in the day, but I'm not collecting the current line.  Too bad though, looks like you could find about all of them right now, wouldn't that be nice with other lines? :)

MOTU has been the same for the most part around here, 1 Target and 1 Wal-Mart have completely dropped the line for now, the other two still have it...with mostly older figures.  I'm hoping Roboto will show up in the stores.  Overall though, the line doesn't have a whole lot of space, probably average.

Surprisingly, it doesn't seem like LOTR has a whole lot of room, but this will probably increase as ROTK gets closer.  TRU had mostly ROTK Smeagol/Gollum repacks, and one of the new Treebeards (as well as several figures from the other movies).  Target has the first wave of ROTK figures, as well as some AOME stuff.  Wal-Marts around me didn't really have much representing this line, just a few figures here and there.  K-B about the same.

Marvel Legends...I was so happy when my wife found me Gambit and Beast right when they were released (around my b-day), but this weekend I saw almost every wave of ML so far in mass.  I didn't see a whole lot of Gambits, but everything else was pretty plentiful (I didn't dig for chase figures or anything like that though).  Hopefully it will be as easy to find Colossus, etc. in Dec/Jan whenever these come out.

Well, there are other lines to discuss as well, but this is getting long enough.   I just think it is interesting sometimes to see how much space is taken up by certain toy lines, what "seems" to be selling, etc.  I guess I was most surprised by the big space TMNT has at these stores...not that I have any problem with that line, I was just a little surprised.  They seemed to have the most space of any individual line by far around here.  Any other observations?

Offline Jim

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Re: Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2003, 11:54 AM »
I made the same observations.  One of my local Walmarts has almost an entire aisle of TMNT.  Compare over 40 pegs of this against the 4 for Star Wars (all Padme pilots).  There is no way my local store will sell that many TMNT figs.  There were over 120 on the pegs.  Walmart also had a full endcap of Marvel Legends and another endcap for LOTR.  I wont even bother boring anyone else with the other stores in my area.  Not even worth mentioning.  

Offline Brian

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Re: Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2005, 03:27 PM »
After the big kick off (official anyways) for Christmas shopping last weekend, are there any trends you have been seeing in toy aisles?  What seems to be the most popular lines or items this year?  Where do think things are headed?

As far as what we noticed last weekend at Target and Wal-Mart, it does seem like Star Wars is staying relatively hot for the year.  A lot of Galactic Heroes are starting to move again, at least around here, and I saw a lot of people with those "Ultimate Lightsaber" kits at Target on Friday morning.  I think the basic SW figures move pretty well too, since they are fairly cheap to pick up a few as "stocking stuffers" or whatever.  Aside from that, I saw a lot of Batman Begins Batmobiles being picked up that day, and I think Batman stuff in general was getting a fair amount of attention.  Transformers seem to stay fairly popular as well (that is ALL one of our nephews asks for for Christmas), and I think Spider-Man still holds some attention as well even without a movie.  Surprisingly, I have seen a fair amount of kids/parents picking up Fantastic Four stuff...but there seems to be a ton of it hanging about yet too.  Although I'm sure that action figures aren't nearly the "mainstay" of Christmas like they used to be, those are the aisles I kind of pay attention to while shopping.  Otherwise, I think its video games, DVDs, iPods, etc. for kids nowadays.

I'm curious how things will go into next year.  I'm sure we'll see a much smaller presence of SW product, and the movie lines like Batman and Fantastic Four will slowly dry out and make way for X3 and Superman Returns.  I really don't know how much attention Marvel Legends gets from the kiddos, but it usually seems to sell pretty well here....likely due to collectors.  I'm wondering how much juice that line has left in it.  Aside from that, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, GI Joe (in some form), and the Power Rangers seem to have a pretty consistent spot in the action figure aisles.

Offline Morgbug

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Re: Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2005, 03:48 PM »
Walmart sucks.  It's sucked up north for very nearly two years.  A full length aisle, a little longer than most US stores in fact, that has been largely devoid of anything worth mentioning for a considerable period of time (since ML II anyway).  Star wars has been sparse and remains so.  They had an influx two weeks after the initial release date and then stores received about 4-5 cases each in September, then nada again. 

The Turtles are here too and they'll never move them all.  Otherwise as a retailer it just stinks. 

I'm still of the belief that at large retailers action figures are on their way out the door.  Wally won't carry them.  Our other retailers do, but one is primarily seasonal through the fall and Christmas season before ramping right back down again for post-Christmas, spring and summer so only about 3 months of good shopping.  The other major toy retailer (or rather major retailer that carries toys) is sporadic but better than Wally. 

TRU has done well but that will end soon.  They sold a ton of SW figures, spurred largely by Walmarts unwillingness to carry the line, so people didn't have that super cheap option going for them.  It's been impressive and unprecedented the amount of product they moved.  Still, I think we'll see early Saga until the Christmas season is over and then it will rapidly dwindle. 

Most retailers are carrying a smattering of crappy star wars products, TNMT, hot wheels, McFarlane product that doesn't really move unless it's a chase figure and an assortment of really, really crappy toys that aren't worth what they are trying to charge for them. 

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Offline Brian

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Re: Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2006, 12:51 PM »
Along the same lines as the original topic - I was just curious how many of you do take a look at the toy aisle.  Sure, its probably kind of tough to find many of us here that only collect Star Wars anymore, but for anyone that does - do you just check that and then take off?  Do you take a look at the "other lines"?  I think, for the most part, when I first started collecting (just Star Wars) I pretty much just looked at the SW section, maybe glancing at other stuff along the way.  Since then I've branched off into Spider-Man, Marvel Legends, DC Heroes, as well as hitting the LOTR figures a little along the way - so I've sort of adapted to where I kind of check out the whole aisle now - at least the areas that interested me past or present.  Do you check out the whole aisle, or just Star Wars?

Offline knashdx

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Re: Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2006, 01:58 PM »
Target & Wal-Mart's - Start with Star Wars, then check Marvel Legends, WWE/F stuff, and then I just look to see what is out.

TRU - Same, but I also make it a point to check out the McFarlane Sports stuff to see if there is anything that I am looking for or my pal in Chicago wants.


========================

Wal-Marts around me only have a couple pegs of regular figures, a couple more of lightsabers and everything else is shelved. Most of the toy isles for "Boy's" are a disaster. Everything is just thrown around and looks like my room did when I was a kid growing up. I tend to walk around the department to see if they have stuck stuff in some odd place on the off chance they have something I am looking for.

Target for the most part keeps the layout simple and easy to find what I am looking for, or at least where I would expect to find stuff. Isles are clean and presentable, I just hate seeing that sign that says they won't look for stuff for collectors. One of these days I am just going to go around and take them all off the shelf and see how long it takes to replace. (fun idea for X-Mas)

TRU is really hit or miss on stuff. some times you walk in and find Nirvana, and then there are weeks/months where you don't find squat. I have found that if there is something that you are looking for the best bet is to get there ASAP in the AM when they open. The thing that pisses me off the most is the consistancy. Some stores in my area don't carry Marvel Legends or other lines of toys. I hate checking out at a TRU because the weekends tend to be the only time that they have more than one cashier to check out. To avoid this I go and check out in the Electronics area.
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Offline iFett

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Re: Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2006, 05:45 PM »
I'll usually just do a quick scan of the action figure aisle to see what else is new.  I also collect some Transformers, but the eye doesn't have to wander too far from the SW stuff.  I see that those Ben 10 toys are attracting lots of attention from kids which is good.  I've caught the show a few times and have to say that I've enjoyed it.

I hate checking out at a TRU because the weekends tend to be the only time that they have more than one cashier to check out. To avoid this I go and check out in the Electronics area.

I hate checking out at a TRU any time of day during any day of the week.  I too bypass the mess by checking out at electronics.  Otherwise on average it's a 4-8 minute wait everytime.
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Offline Brian

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Re: Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2009, 12:43 PM »
This is an older topic, but I thought this question was along the same lines so I didn't want to start a new thread.  What line, or lines, do you think are the "hottest" at retail these days?  We're starting to see the influx of movie tie-in stuff (Wolverine, Star Trek...and soon Transformers and Joes) in the toy aisles, and we'll see how those do as movie lines usually seem pretty hit and miss.

It seems like Star Wars is still doing pretty well, at least here locally.  The pegs aren't as barren as they were around say Christmas time, but figures (particularly new waves) seem to sell through pretty quickly.  I have been seeing a lot of kids looking at SW stuff lately (almost always CW), and the battle packs and vehicles seem to be selling well too.  Recent exclusives have seemed to sit, but that may be due to price/value more than anything (UBPs in particular).  We'll see if that changes as the year goes on.

It also seems like the Marvel Universe line is selling very well, at least here locally.  The pegs are usually pretty sparse, and usually just filled with a couple Spideys, Johnny Storms, and maybe Black/Silver Wolvie.  The GI Joe 25th line seems to still be selling ok, but maybe slowed down recently with the lack of new releases for the most part.  I think this might have been one of the hottest sellers around here last year for awhile though.  DC Universe was very difficult to find for awhile, particularly last year, but I've noticed some stuff (even Wave 7) sitting for awhile here locally - which surprised me.  I'm not sure why, maybe it is character selection (Flash was missing from Wave 7, while the rest were there), but I've been seeing more of them hanging on the pegs this year (maybe distribution has improved).  I'm sure Transformers will be picking up again here as the movie approaches.  The classic stuff seems to do decent there as well, and I think kids are still into the movie stuff.  Anyways, what do you think is the "hot" toy line right now?

Offline efranks

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Re: Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2009, 05:53 PM »
Anyways, what do you think is the "hot" toy line right now?

Bakugan.

Seriously, that section clears as fast as it's filled.  It's probably got the lifespan of Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh, meaning it'll probably be dead by Christmas, but it's been hot since late last year.  It sold huge for both Target and WM here leading up to Christmas '08 and so far this year it's been on fire as well.

The new movie lines for 2009 have not been moving well here.  The first shipment of Wolverine figures at WM moved out fast but the Target stock has been sitting since it debuted.  My WM hasn't restocked and hasn't gotten the aisle display (if they ever do get it) and even though the movie opens in 2 days, it's not helping sales if Target is any indication.  The new Marvel line sold out here at Target and hasn't been restocked in a couple of weeks.  But the stragglers on the pegs haven't sold either and I would expect them to if the line had any heat behind it. 

Terminator and Star Trek have only popped at Target so far and only a couple figs from either line have moved.  I don't think any role play stuff has sold and if any of the Trek playsets sold I didn't notice.  Local WM hasn't stocked either yet.

GI Joe is stagnant.  WM hasn't restocked since Christmas and Target has had the same stock, only adding one case of comic 2-packs, since late February.  The 12", vehicles and Battle Packs, dormant.  Mighty Muggs, sitting.  The shine is definitely off this locally. 

Transformers, I thought, was doing well but the pegs have been really empty for a few weeks now.  Some of the sets have clearance tags on them but still aren't selling.  They don't seem to be condensing the section, just not stocking.  I don't know if this is a planned clear out in anticipation of a run at the movie stuff or what.  If it is, it might not be a bad idea.  When the first film came out there was a severe lacking of movie product.  Even I wanted to buy movie figures of Bumblebee and Barricade and had to wait quite a while to find them.

Star Wars isn't moving any product other than the vehicles.  Target and WM have both moved some stuff but I don't see where any store really sold much beyond a couple figures from any of the three lines since K-Mart had their sale.  I think people used that to empty the pegs at WM but it only generated a restock of maybe 1 case of TLC New Hope figures, which have now been sitting.  BPs, role play, Transformers, nothing moving at Target.  Titanium is flat except at WM which did sell through the latest wave due mostly to it's still (somewhat) competitive pricing.  Target's $8.19 killed all sales at that store.  Unleashed is dead and the Muggs are just another flat surface for dust to collect.

Lego sells.  All brads, from the looks of it, but the $10 range of Troop builders (SW), cars/city/etc, and Bionicle all seem to move well.  It's seems to be a consistent seller most of the year.

I was out of town on Saturday and hit two WM stores and a Target that I haven't been to before.  Same things as locally seemed to be playing out in those stores as well.  The one exception was the Wolverine toys, I found the aisle display in both WM stores (both Supercenters) although they didn't seem to be selling heavily.  I think I found Star Trek in one of the WM stores but not the other.  I don't recall seeing Terminator in either.

In general, I don't think a lot is moving in the action figure aisle at my local stores.  Especially not Target.

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Offline iFett

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Re: Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2009, 06:56 PM »
Transformers, I thought, was doing well but the pegs have been really empty for a few weeks now.  Some of the sets have clearance tags on them but still aren't selling.  They don't seem to be condensing the section, just not stocking.  I don't know if this is a planned clear out in anticipation of a run at the movie stuff or what.  If it is, it might not be a bad idea.  When the first film came out there was a severe lacking of movie product.  Even I wanted to buy movie figures of Bumblebee and Barricade and had to wait quite a while to find them.

It was planned out this way by Hasbro, but stores are still milking what's left of Universe and Animated that hasn't been clearanced yet.  ROTF toys hit in late May.  Expect a large portion of your favorite toy aisle to be massively consumed.
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Offline Brian

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Re: Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2009, 09:34 AM »
Anyways, what do you think is the "hot" toy line right now?

Bakugan.

Seriously, that section clears as fast as it's filled.  It's probably got the lifespan of Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh, meaning it'll probably be dead by Christmas, but it's been hot since late last year.  It sold huge for both Target and WM here leading up to Christmas '08 and so far this year it's been on fire as well.

I know next to nothing about things like Bakugan, but our nephews (9 and 7 years old) are way into it since around Christmas time.  Plus, I've seen it get its own endcap at Target before, so I could see that it might be a big seller.

Offline Brian

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Re: Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2009, 09:55 AM »
We sort of touched on this in the Marvel and Star Trek threads, but which line do you think will be the big winner this summer out of the "movie-based lines".  We already have Star Trek and X-Men Origins: Wolverine out locally, and I wouldn't say that either line is selling like gangbusters.  The Terminator line is out as well, but I'll admit I haven't paid any attention to it at all, so I have no idea how the sales are there (although I don't really see that being a big kid line).  We also have Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and GI Joe: Rise of Cobra on the way later this summer (or the end of this month for TF), so there are a couple more contenders.  I would think that Transformers would do well again, much like the first movie line which seemed to sell quite well to kids and adults in 2007.  GI Joe is a tough call.  Sure, most adults are saying how crappy this movie will be - and it might just be that - but it is something I could see kids getting into as well.

Offline efranks

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Re: Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2009, 10:29 AM »
If I had to make this guess about a month ago I think my answer might have been a little different because I was expecting to see the Star Trek line get a boost.  So far, however, it hasn't had that locally.

One thing that wouldn't have changed is my overall winner for the summer and I think that will be Transformers.  The amount of business the first film generated was huge; sell out lines for 2+ months locally.  You couldn't buy a Deluxe movie figure for the first month and the second you had trouble finding the movie vehicles like Bumblebee and Barricade.  The video game vehicles (or whatever they were based on) were around but those on-screen characters were tough for a long time.  I'm expecting things to be similar this time around with the exception that it seems Hasbro is planning better with a toy launch like they have done for Star Wars in the past.  We'll see if it translates to sales, however.  The wild card this year is the general economy.

As I said, I expected Star Trek to take off but I don't think it's going to.  So my guess for the number 2 line of the summer is going to be GI Joe.  I've posted in other threads that I think this movie is going to suck and has the potential to tank both itself and the toy line.  But I have to step back for a second and recognize that there's a whole lot of kids that, except for seeing toys in stores, have no connection to the 80's comic or cartoon who may see this film and love it and drive sales of the toys.  From the toy standpoint I can't say that's a bad thing because a healthy Joe line is good for Hasbro and may trickle down to Star Wars in some way.  But, if this film is epically bad, it'll take the toy line with it which could be devastating based just on how broad this line is shaping up to be.

I don't think Terminator is going to be a big seller.  I think Salvation finally did get a PG-13 rating but I don't think that'll matter much.  There's not even a real John Connor figure on the pegs.  In name there is, but he has no face.  How do you launch a line without your hero?  It would be like launching Star Wars toys with no Luke.

I believe Harry Potter will have a toy line but other than the first line from Mattel, and maybe the Neca stuff from the last film, I would be surprised if it was a big seller.  I think even Lego only did one set for the last film (another Hogwarts set) and it went to clearance at most Target stores.

I can't think of any other movie lines coming to the toy aisle right now.  So, I'm picking Transformers to be the top line with the possibility of GI Joe being big if, and only if, kids like this new film.  I think most of us on this board are not going to be big fans.  Some collectors will buy anyway but if the film is bad, I think a lot of them could justify not buying.

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Offline Brian

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Re: Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2009, 11:01 AM »
Harry Potter is one that I didn't mention - but I wasn't sure if it was going to have a mass-retail line or not.  Like we've said before on these forums, the retail landscape these days is so much different than the 80s - but if there was one movie franchise I would have thought could have had a good selling and long lasting line, it would have been Potter.  It has a broad fanbase from kiddos to adults, it has (or had) books to keep things going in the movie "off years", and it has a broad character selection as well.  You've got the core trio (not unlike Star Wars), plus a number of other students, baddies, creatures, and locations for playsets.  I know there is (or was) a pretty spiffy line that is/was being sold in the UK, but it didn't make it to the US stores.  I might just really overestimating the market for it, but it seems like it would have the potential to be a continual seller much like Star Wars was in the vintage days (and still is now).  I don't know that it would have life beyond the books/movies being completed, but it could have had a nice ten year run or so.

Offline DoctorPadawan

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Re: Taking a Look at the Toy Aisle...
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2009, 07:30 PM »
The retail situation across the board right now is grim.  Just from looking at Wal-Mart, Target, and TRU on a daily basis, the pattern pretty much repeats itself in each area:

STAR WARS:  The only things that stores are getting, figure-wise, are the animated figures and Saga Legends.  Even in stores with very little Yarnas or Brehas, they aren't getting ANY Legacy BAD figures.  SL and CW are restocked immediately and in large numbers.  And Plo Koons and Saesee Tiins aside, the SL figures do seem to be selling out fairly quickly.  Vehicles sell, as do Battle Packs, albeit at a much slower rate.  Comic packs are lucky to move at all unless they're brand new, and even some of those sit (EEEEEEVIL Luke and Clone Palpatine, for example). 

GI JOE:  Dead in the water.  WM and TRU haven't stocked a basic figure since before Christmas, and all Target seems to get are endless revisions of the repaint wave. 

TRANSFORMERS:  Dead in the water right now.  WM jacking the price up to 13 bucks a deluxe didn't help matters, nor does the sea of Oil Slicks and Blazing Lockdowns help that retailer either.  I think that, at least in the case of TF and Joe, things are going to be at a standstill until movie toys hit.  I just hope that Hasbro does a better job this time around than during the last film's release, when, Deluxe Swindle aside, you couldn't find anything for at least four months after the film was out.

MARVEL:  XMO:W stuff is sitting, and again, WM is leading the charge in keeping those pegs warm with their price which is 50 cents of more above everyone else.  Too many Wolverines, too fast, and a lack of kid interest in the film itself from what I can tell is going to kill this line quickly.  Hasbro needs to cut and run on these, and integrate any further X-characters into the MU lineup.  I wound up buying the Logan vs. Sabretooth TRU exclusive set because I was starting to doubt whether or not the deluxe set with Creed and Blob were going to even show up at retail given how they're hanging around.  MU figures, however, are selling really fast, and nobody can keep them stocked.  Target has had the same three Ronins on the eight pegs for MU for the last month, and WM has two Torches on four pegs.  No sign of any restocking, though, so I guess Hasbro's just taking this quarter off.  :P

DC:  The Infinite Heroes tend to go pretty quickly, although there are a lot of Spectres warming the pegs these days.  DCUC is a pretty swift seller, as well, but some of those (Black Superman) are starting to hang about a bit.  Ditto the endless Batman repaints and repackages.  Those haven't moved an inch.

TERMINATOR:  These look awful and I have yet to see any of them move.  They're the toy equivalent of those cops who spend their day putting chalk marks on the tires of parked cars and then going back to give them tickets when they haven't moved for hours on end.  I could make a chalk mark on a Marcus figure and I guarantee it would still be in the same spot six months from now.

STAR TREK:  6 inch figures are selling, the 3.75" stuff isn't, unless your name is Uhura.  I don't see these really moving now that the film is out either, even though it's only been less than a week so far.

WRESTLING FIGURES, McFARLANE FIGURES, OTHER LINES:  Wrestling figures are pretty much dead in my area, and TRU's stock of McToys stuff hasn't moved an inch either.  Some of the Diamond Select stuff that TRU's been getting turns over on a regular basis (BSG figures especially), but a lot of the ancillary stuff (like Bobble Heads, Sports figures, and TV properties) tend to sit for a long time.  The "Heroes" figures never sold well here, and less than three months after each wave was released, they'd been marked down to 5 bucks apiece.

BAKUGAN:  Like Pokemon, Gigapets, Furbys, and Britney Spears before them, this seems to be the hot disposable fad of the moment and I can't figure out why.  I personally think they're laced with some tactile form of LSD and that it renders kids stupid and mute (hence why parents probably continue to buy so many of them), but it just seems to get stranger and stranger how these are NEVER in stock at any retailer around me.  Weird.

As for what's coming up, I really think that the TF movie stuff is going to be the winner yet again this year, as you're going to have regular collectors (myself included) and kids with impulse buying very interested in the lineup.  I think that Trek, XMO:W, and (especially) Terminator are going to be heading to the clearance aisle before too long, and that GI Joe had better depend on the quality of the toys to succeed, as the movie looks horrible.  If stores actually order and stock SW stuff, I think it'll continue to do well, as will the Marvel and DC stuff.  Still, the main issue is going to be the balance of ordering on the part of retailers, as overordering will doom the lines just as much as underordering these days.