By Jack King
If you’re the parent, relative, or even a close friend of a preteen girl, among the most popular ways to say “Merry Christmas” this year is “Bratz.”
The fashion-plate dolls were mentioned most often when Clovis merchants were asked Wednesday which are the hottest-selling toys this year.
“Craft kits are also really popular and there’s the ever-popular Barbie,” said Margaret Flores, assistant manager of the KayBee Toy and Hobby store in North Plains Mall.
For boys, remote control cars and skateboards are holding their own as popular Christmas gifts, Flores said.
Sears, in North Plains Mall, has a KayBee Toys concession in its store this year. Melia Kovasigrach, assistant manger of Sears’ hard goods department, agreed with Flores about the popularity of Bratz and remote-controlled cars among preteens.
Norma Perez, co-manager of Clovis’ Wal-Mart store, said “remote-controlled anything” is proving a big seller at her store. Along with the ever popular Bratz, Hokey Pokey Elmo and Swan Lake Barbie are strong sellers for girls, while the H-2 Hummer — a scale model replica of the Jeep replacement and parking lot intimidator — and the John Deere Gator are big sellers for boys, she added.
Now for the big kids’ toys.
Sandra Hemmenway, manager of Dillard’s clothing store in North Plains Mall, said cashmere sweaters and cold-weather coats are proving popular as gifts for both men and women this year.
Purse maker Dooney and Bourke’s It Bag also has been selling very well this season, as have housewares and all kinds of adult games, like blackjack sets and small pool tables.
And, if what Hemmenway has observed is true, Homer Simpson has achieved a prestige with adults as powerful as the one Bratz have achieved with preteens.
“There are all kinds of Simpsons games — board games and puzzles — that are selling very well.” Hemmenway said. “There’s even a Simpsons bowling game that is selling well.”
Kovasigrach said laser-equipped tools, such as circular saws with laser guides, and big-screen TVs are the most popular adult gifts in her department.
At Big 5 Sporting Goods, manager Roy Rocha said that, besides foosball tables, paintball equipment and shotguns for quail and pheasant seasons, night vision goggles and global positioning system trackers have been his big Christmas sellers.
“I call them ‘big boys’ toys,’” Rocha said.