Toy budgets may feel the hit

NEW YORK — Will financial-market turmoil be the Grinch this Christmas?

The National Retail Federation trade group predicts holiday sales overall will rise a meager 2.2 percent to $470.4 billion, the slowest growth since 2002.

If parents buy their children even just one less toy each this holiday season, retailers will feel it, experts say.

BMO markets analyst Gerrick Johnson expects total sales of traditional toys during the last three months of the year to decline about 2 percent from the year ago period, when toy sales totaled $10.4 billion, according to market research firm NPD Group. Since prices have risen 5 percent to 10 percent as toy makers face rising costs for commodities, including oil and resin, that translates to even fewer toys sold.

However, most experts agree shoppers will cut back on gifts on adults before they stop buying toys for children.

Industry experts are beginning to unveil the list of what they think will be hot toys for the holiday season. Shown are a few that made's "Most Wanted" list, Toy Insider's "Hot 20." and Toy Wishes magazine's "Hot Dozen."