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Furby returns to the holiday shopping scene as Galleria prepares for Black Friday

November 13, 2012
(Raul Roa/Staff…)

Furby — the strange-but-cute fluffy animal with giant eyes from the 90s — is back. In 2012, it joins giant punching gloves, gangly dolls and, of course, the latest gaming stations.

These were just some of the items to pop up at a retail forecasting event at the Glendale Galleria mega mall on Tuesday.

Interactive Furby dolls are expected to make a return this holiday season alongside merchandise from the new hit animated movie “Wreck-It Ralph,” which will likely be in the minds of many children as they fill out their Christmas wish lists.

The new Furby is updated from the version that was popular in the late 1990s. It has a wider range of motion, more expressive LCD eyes and its own iOS app. It also has the ability to adapt its personality by reacting to the behavior of the children — and adults — who play with it.

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“Wreck-It Ralph,” a Walt Disney Co. movie about a video game villain who wants to be a hero, has several items associated with it at the Disney store, including two oversized, stuffed fists that kids can put over their own hands and punch walls and other objects like the film’s title character.

With each punch, a catchphrase from the movie can be heard coming from the wrists.

There are also plush and talking versions of a doll of the lead female character from “Wreck-It Ralph” — Vanellope Von Schweetz.

Another popular item this year is the Lalaloopsy doll, known for making her animal patients feel better when they’re under the weather.

“That little doll has helped with a lot of boo-boos in my home,” said Shoshana Puccia, senior marketing manager at the Galleria.

For games, Wendy Jaurigue, senior game advisor from Game Spot, demonstrated the newest versions of Wii and PlayStation 3.

After selling out early, she said she expected to get more inventory in next month.

On the tech side, Douglas Carlson with the Microsoft pop-up store demonstrated the new Surface tablet, which debuted Oct. 26.

The device lets users operate two applications at the same time and comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, Carlson said.

Retails sales are projected to be 3.8% higher compared to last holiday season, said Kimberly Ritter-Martinez, associate economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

While the increase is modest, it still shows the economy is recovering, she said.

“The heart is still beating,” Ritter-Martinez said.

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