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WMT Canada gets kids in holiday spirit with toy-testing event


MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — For the second year in a row, Walmart Canada is holding its Great Big Toy Testing Event, which not only gets parents and their children into stores, but also showcases toys for the 2013 holiday season in a real-world holiday wish list catalog setting.

Last summer, more than 300 parents and 550 kids took on the role of toy testers and gave their input on which toys should be on the 2012 holiday season list. The "Toy Lab" experience takes place July 20 at an undisclosed location just outside the GTA. Toy testers will be reviewing more than 120 toys to see which make the cut for the 2013 holiday season — many of which, according to the retailer, are not even available to the public yet.

The added bonus of having parents and children review toys and help curate a holiday wish list is that it entices children to start adding to their own wish lists, which means mom and dad will very likely be back in Walmart Canada stores to make purchases.

"Walmart understands that shopping for the right toy for children during the holidays can be stressful, we also know that it can be difficult to find toys that kids love and parents approve of," said Jeff Tate, director of category marketing at Walmart Canada. "Listening to what the customer wants is invaluable to us, so an event that involves both kids' and parents' feedback is just the type of two way conversation that we love to have with our customers to help to give them what they are looking for."

To participate, parents can register their toy-testing children online, and Walmart will then select toy testers at random from the list of registrants.

"This exclusive event creates the ultimate playroom where kids can try out the new toys for the season freely and most importantly where they can have fun doing it," said Cheri Anthony, senior director of toys at Walmart Canada. "Their reactions, alongside their parents' feedback, are important in determining which products will make our top toy list for the holidays and to ensure we are carrying the toys kids want on our shelves."

The toys will be evaluated based on a number of criteria, including educational value, age appropriateness, ease of use, how the child reacts to the toy and whether parents like it.

Walmart Canada operates a growing chain of 380 locations nationwide serving more than 1 million customers each day, as well as its flagship online store, which is visited by more than 250,000 Canadians daily.

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