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Tot tablets, retro brands are Toys R Us 'hot toys'

The holidays are months away, but for some it's not too soon to think about what the kiddies will want for gifts.

Toys R Us has come out with its annual "hot toy" list that includes tablets for kids, fashion dolls in the likeness of boy-band sensation One Direction, and even retro hits like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Furby.

Knowing early what will be popular during the holiday shopping season is crucial to retailers seeking to have the right mix of toys at the right prices. The holiday season can account for about 40 percent of a toy seller's annual profit.

Last year, U.S. retail sales of toys fell 2 percent to $21.18 billion, according to research firm NPD Group.

Last week Toys R Us introduced a "hot toy" reservation program which will let customers reserve the 50 toys on its list. The reservation system will run through the end of October. Toys must be reserved in stores and customers have to put down 20 percent of the cost.

The Toys R Us hot toy list has a mix of items carried exclusively by the chain, as well as toys available everywhere. Toys on the list come from both established companies as well as from some lesser-known toy makers in the U.K. and Australia.

There's no indication yet of a runaway success like 2009's Zhu Zhu Pets stuffed hamsters and last year's Leapfrog LeapPad tablet. But executives at Toys R Us, which is based in Wayne, N.J., are betting that if there is, it is on their list.

"We have an incredibly skilled team of merchants here that track new products and identify toys," said Lisa Harnisch, the company's general merchandising manager.

Here are the top 15 toys on Toys R Us' list. The complete list of 50 can be found at toysrus.com/hottoys.

Doc McStuffins Time for Your Check Up doll by Just Play, $39.99: Doctor doll based on Disney Jr. show character

Furby by Hasbro, $59.99: Update on hit 1998 furry interactive toy robot

Gelarti Designer Studio by Moose Toys, $24.99: Sticker set that lets kids paint and customize reusable stickers

Hot Wheels R/C Terrain Twister by Mattel, $99.99: Radio-controlled car that takes on all terrains

Jake and the Never Land Pirates Jake's Musical Pirate Ship Bucky by Mattel's Fisher-Price, $44.99: Ship from Disney Jr. animated series

Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Stars Harmony B. Sharp by MGA Entertainment, $69.99: Version of popular button-eyed dolls that talks and sings

LeapPad2 Explorer by LeapFrog, $99.99: Latest iteration of LeapFrog's kids tablet with faster processor and more memory

Micro Chargers TimeTrack by Moose Toys, $34.99: Miniature car racing track set

Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Secret Sewer Lair Playset by Playmates, $119.99: 42-inch playset that recreates TMNT's lair

Ninjago Epic Dragon Battle by Lego Systems Inc., $139.99: Ninja-themed Lego board game

One Direction collector dolls by Hasbro, $19.99: Dolls of each of the five members of One Direction

Skylanders Giants Starter Pack by Activision Publishing Inc., not yet priced: A sequel to Skylanders Spyro's adventure that combines real-life action figures with a video game

Tabeo by Toys R Us, $149.99: Toys R Us' own tablet offering with enhanced safety features and 50 preloaded apps

Wii U by Nintendo, not yet priced: Nintendo's new two-screen gaming console

Y Volution Fliker F1 Flow Series Scooter by Atomic Sports, $99.99: A three-wheeled scooter that is self-propelled by the rider's movement.

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