The most popular toy on the market this holiday season hasn’t been flying off the shelves as fast as retailers expected, according to new data.
Thousands of L.O.L. Surprise! toys — which children have been collecting en masse since they were introduced in 2016 — are being shipped to industrial warehouses instead of to children’s homes by large retail clients like Walmart, Target and Costco, according to B-Stock Solutions, which helps retailers auction off excess inventory.
Between Nov. 30 and Dec. 30, the tiny dolls made up 3 percent of the surplus merchandise B-Stock Solutions received from retail clients — up 450 percent over the same period a year ago, B-Stock spokesperson Melissa Gieringer told The Post.
The returns are likely the result of “over purchasing” by retailers, Gieringer explained. “This year our warehouse and big-box store clients were more aggressive about pulling overstock early,” she said, referring to retailers’ practice of removing from shelves items that didn’t sell.
But Isaac Larian, the colorful head of MGA Entertainment, the LA-based company behind L.O.L. Surprise! and Bratz dolls, blasted any suggestion that demand for his latest hit toy is anything but through the roof.
MGA Entertainment “left $200 million of sales” on the table because the toymaker was unable to keep up with all retailers’ demand, Larian said of 2019 sales.
He’s projecting that the L.O.L. franchise will grow by another 25 percent in 2020 as it rolls out new versions of the dolls, which helped to fuel the “unboxing” trend, whereby toys are only revealed after the packaging is opened — often through elaborate unveilings seen social media websites.
“Not only aren’t we seeing any demand for L.O.L. diminishing for 2020, L.O.L. shelf space will grow dramatically at all big-box retailers in 2020,” Larian told The Post in an email.
The outspoken toy mogul — who tried to buy Toys ‘R’ Us out of bankruptcy and has tried to acquire archrival Mattel only to be rebuffed by both companies — threatened to sue B-Stock Solutions for its “bogus” and “irresponsible” report after being contacted by The Post.
“I totally understand why [MGA would] dispute” the data, Gieringer said, “given the popularity of the dolls. But our data does show a substantial uptick in the L.O.L. merchandise over last year.”
Shortly after its launch in 2017, L.O.L. Surprise! was ranked the top-selling toy by retail tracker NPD Group, and again in 2018. The research firm is expected to release its 2019 ranking this month.
In spite of B-Stock’s finding, Jim Silver, president of toy review website TTPM, predicts the dolls will reign atop the toy charts once again for 2019.
“L.O.L. was the No. 1 brand in the toy industry in 2019, followed by Barbie and Marvel Avengers,” Silver said. “While it might not have been as big as , it’s still over $1 billion sold in 2019,” he added.