Hello Kitty pounces on Japan pet craze

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[Tokyo] In the latest consumer craze in Japan, toy pets are getting pets of their own. Japan's Sanrio Corp. has extended its Hello Kitty product line with Charmy Kitty, Hello Kitty's very own pet-cat and pet-hamster dolls. The "pets" retail for $9, but have sold out quickly at Sanrio department stores. According to Dave McCaughan, director of strategic planning at Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson, Tokyo, their success stems from the boom in real pets in Japan. Last year, Japanese bought more than 1.5 million dogs, mostly miniature varieties. Pooches usually are purchased as "cute little partners," so "it was only a matter of time before their toys or pets get their own pets."
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