A touch of déjà vu as Monopoly remains a Christmas banker

In the UAE the retailing sector for the month of December only comes up to $2.97 billion, said Rand El Samman of Euromonitor International.
The 'My Friend Cayla' doll is among the perennial favourites among girls for Christmas. Rob Stothard / Getty Images
The 'My Friend Cayla' doll is among the perennial favourites among girls for Christmas. Rob Stothard / Getty Images

Classics including Barbie, Lego and Monopoly are among the top choices for children’s gifts as parents hunt for value brands this Christmas, according to the Dubai Mall outlet of the oldest toy store in the world, Hamleys.

Perennial favourites such as the Barbie 2014 Holiday Doll and the Barbie House lead the sales for girls toys with ‘My Friend Cayla’ making up the top three.

While the boys’ toys weren’t dominated by guns they were definitely a staple for the Christmas stocking. The Wild West Gunslinger electric shooting set led the table for boys closely followed by the Nerf N-Strike Elite Rampage Blaster, another shoot-em-up toy.

The fondness, of parents, for dinosaurs was shown by the Zoomer Dino, an interactive electronic dinosaur, pushing its way into the top 3 boy toy list just above the unisex classic board game Monopoly which has now been given an ‘electronic banking’ moniker.

“It doesn’t seem much has changed since I was a kid,” said Sandy Fuller an Australian mum of three looking for some last minute stocking fillers. “Apart from the prices of course, it seems anything decent costs Dh200 plus. That’s why I’m buying the things I know that offer some value. Monopoly is always a winner and we can keep it for ever. I’m not sure you can say that for a lot of the products on offer.”

It seems price was the key determinant at the Mall of Emirates Carrefour with the lead toy a remote control racing car for the bargain price of Dh39. The second favourite was another radio controlled car for Dh65. The girls toys were led by a kitchen play set and toy shopping trolley which had both been marked down by 50 per cent. “Everything on offer has been very popular,” said Ahmed, a Carrefour sales assistant. “The cheaper something is the more popular it is. We have sold between 15 and 20 bikes a day for the last week, we will usually sell maybe 4. But we are only selling the bikes that are on offer. We have a very popular toy that is over Dh600 – a big Lego set – people are very happy to pay for something that they know will last and they have played with as a child.”

Electronics retailers Plug-Ins and Jackys Electronics both reported that their number 1 sellers in December are the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Plug Ins reported a 25 to 30 per cent jump in sales this month and a rise of 40 per cent in sales for the year at its Dubai Mall outlet. Jacky’s Christmas sales also showed growth compared to a year earlier.

“In the UAE the retailing sector for the month of December only comes up to US$2.97 billion,” said Rand El Samman, communications officer for Euromonitor International. “This means that [it is] only 9 per cent [out] of the total retailing sector for 2014 [of] $32.91bn. It is very small compared to the western world.”

ascott@thenational.ae

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Published: December 23, 2014 04:00 AM

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