Popular holiday toys may be hard to find

LOS FELIZ, Calif. Some early shoppers are getting a head start, not even waiting until Black Friday to snatch up the hot, in-demand toys before they're all gone.

"If they're not going to stock it as much, and if it's not available, and I'm going to give them to my nephews and nieces and my daughters, I might as well get the ones I want," said Brashandh Remdas of Pasadena.

Retailers learned a painful lesson last year. Too much merchandise and a drop in consumer spending forced them to slash prices.

So this season, many stores are expected to carry fewer items, lowering their inventory by up to 20 percent. Another problem is that tighter credit from suppliers makes it harder to stock the shelves.

The Los Feliz Toys R Us is already sold out of two hot items: Zhu Zhu Pets Toy Hamster for ages 4 and up and the MindFlex from Mattel for kids ages 8 and up.

"The hot toys, any other the hot Christmas items are probably going to be in shorter supply than we've seen in the past," said Dennis Tootelian, a marketing professor at Cal State in Sacramento.

So the message is to shop early, or you may be disappointed.

The Los Feliz Toys R Us said that they have not cut its inventory like other stores have and that they'll continue to restock the hot items. However, there is no guarantee that they'll be stocked for Christmas, because manufacturers have cut back their production, and they may not have the extra items to ship.

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