Prices vary greatly, according to a survey in the association's Which? magazine.
Reseachers compared the prices of 12 toys and games - including Scrabble, Meccano, Nintendo Game Boy, a Mini Chef kitchen and a Sindy's make-up counter - in October. The best buys were found at Argos, Children's World, Index, Toys R Us and Woolworths. Hamleys, in central London, came out worst. 'Hamleys was the most expensive for 8 of the 12 toys,' the magazine said. 'In one or two cases the differences were less than a couple of pounds but in many cases you would end up paying much more.'
Which? said a Sindy's make- up counter cost pounds 25.65 in Woolworths and pounds 44.99 in Hamleys. A Fisher Price Mini Chef was pounds 59.97 in Toys R Us and pounds 99 in Hamleys. And Scrabble was pounds 9.24 in Argos against pounds 19.99 in Hamleys.
The magazine said a second spot-check in November showed falling prices in the run-up to Christmas - but there were still big differences.
Hamleys said the Which? report contained a number of inaccuracies - the Fisher Price Mini Chef was pounds 79.99, Scrabble pounds 12.99, and the Sindy's make-up counter pounds 39.99. 'We constantly monitor our pricing to ensure it
adequately reflects the quality of experience we offer' a spokesman said