Operation Santa Claus

Doll set LOL Surprise! is hottest item this Christmas, Toys ‘R’ Us chief says, as girls’ toys fly off shelves

Chief commercial officer Jo Hall also says store’s charity gift-wrapping service has raised HK$1 million for Operation Santa Claus

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 December, 2017, 12:35pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 December, 2017, 10:54am

It’s all about the girls’ toys when it comes to Santa’s Christmas gift list this year.

They are selling out fast, according to Toys ‘R’ Us Greater China and Southeast Asia chief commercial officer Jo Hall.

Hall joked that she was afraid she might be mugged as she stood in the retailer’s Tsim Sha Tsui store holding its very last and highly coveted LOL Surprise!, a collection of 50 collectable dolls.

“It’s girls’ collectibles this year, the girls have it over the boys. It’s LOL – we have completely sold out and that’s been the hottest toy,” she said. “Star Wars is still strong with the new movie, but the girls are beating the boys.”

Christmas is an important period for sales, Hall said, but the Lunar New Year is also a key time, along with Children’s Day in mainland China on June 1 and the summer school holidays.

“While everyone enjoys Christmas with toys, we also see very strong business at other times because of those different calendar events across Asia,” she said.

Toys ‘R’ Us has 15 outlets in Hong Kong along with six pop-up stores. Despite offering online shopping for customers, many still prefer to visit the stores, Hall said.

“Families love to come shopping for toys together with their children, and we know they enjoy time here because it’s quality family time together. When the children are happy, the parents are happy.”

She said Toys ‘R’ Us had made its stores interactive and accessible as its philosophy was that interacting with toys and digital technology should form part of quality family leisure time.

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This is the fourth year Toys ‘R’ Us has supported Operation Santa Claus, the annual charity campaign jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK.

“We started out with our OSC campaign as early as summer this year so we could gain momentum ahead of Christmas,” Hall said. “We ran a campaign which enabled us to give toys to needy children in the summer, as well as our Christmas gift-wrapping service, which we operate at this time of year as part of the Christmas campaign.”

Customers are given the option to have gift wrapped the toys they have bought at stores in return for a donation to Operation Santa Claus.

Shopper Talia Kagan, who was carrying two bags full of Christmas presents in the Tsim Sha Tsui store, supported the donation scheme.

“I think it’s a very good idea. It’s very interesting to give money for a good cause. We buy gifts for children and then can help other children,” Kagan said.

Another shopper who said she supported it was Tess Healy.

“It made me get my presents wrapped. I wouldn’t have done it if they hadn’t said the money went to charity,” Healy said. “It also saves people buying lots of rolls of wrapping paper and only using a quarter and binning the rest.”

Hall said the gift-wrapping service, which started in 2014, had raised more than HK$1 million so far. That figure does not include this year’s proceeds.

“I think gift-wrapped presents under the Christmas tree are an integral part of family time, and that epitomises Christmas and the surprise for children on Christmas morning as they unwrap a gift, which is precious,” Hall said. “We’re very, very happy to continue our gift wrapping.”