It's still technically summer, but for some it's not too soon to think about what the kiddies will want for the holidays.
Toys R Us has come out with its annual "hot toy" list that includes tablets for kids, fashion dolls in the likenesses of British boy band One Direction, and even retro hits such as 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 toy sales fell 2 percent to $21.18 billion, said Port Washington-based research firm NPD Group.
This year, Toys R Us is introducing a "hot toy" reservation program. Through October, customers may reserve the 50 toys on its list by putting down 20 percent of the toys' cost.
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 if there is, Toys R Us is betting that it is on its list.
"We have an incredibly skilled team of merchants here that track new products and identify toys," said Lisa Harnisch, general merchandising manager.
'HOT TOYS' FOR 2012 HOLIDAY SEASON
Here are the top 10 toys on the Toys R Us holiday list. The complete list of 50 can be found at toysrus.com/hottoys.
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 the TMNT's lair.
Ninjago Epic Dragon Battle by Lego Systems Inc., $139.99: Ninja-themed Lego board game.