Early next month, 425 Wal-Mart stores nationwide will begin carrying faith-based toys from One2believe that target parents who would rather that their kids play with a Samson action figure than a Spider-Man action figure.
It’s the first time the world’s largest retailer has carried a full line of religious toys. “We’re seeing interest from parents in faith-enriching toys,” says Melissa O’Brien, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman.
Religious products have become a multibillion-dollar business, and the toy move comes as it targets a younger audience. Fox recently created FoxFaith, a 20th Century Fox unit to distribute family movies with Christian themes. In January, Universal Pictures will release The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything â€” A VeggieTales Movie, based on the spiritual characters by Big Idea.
But until now, most faith-based toys have sold successfully only in specialty religious stores, not at mass-market retailers, warns Jim Silver, editor of Toy Wishes magazine. “Once children turn 4, parents tend to get them what they want. And right now, kids are asking for Transformers.”
About one-sixth of Wal-Mart’s 3,300 stores will carry the One2believe line, which will get 2 feet of toy aisle shelf space, says O’Brien.
One way Wal-Mart decided where to carry them, she says: Stores that sell a lot of Bibles will carry the new line.