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Furbies make Christmas comeback

Fourteen years after they first dominated the Christmas toy market, Furby fever is on its way back, according to industry experts.

The electronic owl-like creatures were first released in 1998, and have sold over 40 million units worldwide.

The toys have been updated with expressive LCD eyes and are able to adapt their personalities around interaction with owners.

Stephanie Gonzalez, brand manager for Hasbro, said: "If you're very sweet to your Furby and spend a lot of time petting and tickling it, then your Furby will have a lovely personality. If you're a bit cheekier and put it upside down or pull its tail, you might find that it's a bit more mischievous."

"Furbies talk their own Furbish language, and over time they will learn to speak English as well. They interact with one another and will dance to your music."

For the first time owners will be able to interact with their Furby via an iOS app. The app includes a Furbish-to-English translator and Furbish dictionary, and enables users to feed their Furby various types of food.

Furby was among the 13 top toys for Christmas revealed at the Toy Retailers Association's Dream Toys event.

Alongside other interactive electronic gadgets, the list featured many classics parents will have fond childhood memories of, including Lego, Twister and Cabbage Patch Kids. The revival of traditional toys was hailed by Miles Penhallow, of the Toy Retailers Association who helped to select the top 13, as "nostalgia with a twist".

Two Lego sets appeared within the top 13, Friends: Olivia's House, a female-oriented house construction set, and The Lord Of The Rings: Mines Of Moria, complete with cave troll.

Drew Brazier, vice president and general manager of Lego, said: "Lego is a traditional toy and we're very excited about that. I don't think it's something that will ever go out of style, it's a classic, timeless toy." Lego was first manufactured in 1949, and now sells an average of eight sets a second. During the festive season, this increases to 28 units a second.

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