The new consoles — the Xbox One and Playstation 4 — as well as the remote-controlled “quad-copter” AR Drone and talking dolls from the Disney Store — were highlighted as hot items for this holiday shopping season at a retail forecasting event at the Galleria on Tuesday.
VIDEO: AR Drone 2.0 by Parrot takes flight at Glendale Galleria
R.D. House from the Disney store displayed the company's new toys and dolls, including talking action figures from the “Toy Story” movies, and singing dolls inspired by characters from the movie “Frozen,” which will be released later this month.
The gaming consoles, which are the first major home-gaming console releases in seven years, are especially important for the mall's Gamestop store, said manager Seven Cisneros.
“We've really needed it,” he said, adding that the Playstation 4 goes on sale Friday.
The Xbox One, which debuts on Nov. 22, will also be sold at the mall's Microsoft store, which is featuring new versions of the company's Surface tablet — the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 — said store representative Stephanie Yang.
The tablets are popular both for entertainment, such as playing movies or music, and because they come with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, Yang said.
Looking at retail sales, they are projected to be 3.4% higher than last holiday season, said Kimberly Ritter-Martinez, associate economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
While consumer confidence is still growing slowly, steady growth — even if slow — is giving retailers a positive outlook this year, she said.
“This season gets a qualified ‘nice' rating,” Ritter-Martinez said. “It's possible consumers will put aside their worries about the economy and go shopping anyway.”
The holiday shopping season continues to get started earlier, with three of the Galleria's department stores — Target, Macy's and JCPenney — opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night and the mall-wide official start of Black Friday kicking off at midnight.
Galleria General Manager Larry Martin said that getting shoppers into the mall earlier this year is crucial because there are only 25 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, compared to 31 last year.
Galleria shoppers will also see a revamped mall this year, with new flooring and wall paneling plus remodeled entrances and new elevators that were unveiled earlier this month.
“What we've been able to do is really [start] the holiday shopping season earlier, with the [renovations] and the 30 new stores that recently opened,” Martin said.
He added that the plan appears to be working because shoppers are already lining up to take photos with the mall's Santa and there are higher levels of activity throughout the mall.