New VTech Baby Amaze Line Available Exclusively at Toys “R” Us

Baby Amaze Learn to Talk & Read Baby Doll

VTech is introducing its new Baby Amaze line, launching with two learning dolls and a 3-in-1 stroller. Baby Amaze toys are currently available at toysrus.com, and will be available exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide this month.

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How Toymakers Can Succeed with Millennial Parents

CatherineMevsby Catherine Mevs, strategy director, Red Peak Branding

With more and more Millennials stepping into parenthood, big name toymakers are trying to guess at the expectations of a new generation of parents. However, from Mattel’s introduction of its Siri-inspired Hello Barbie to Hasbro’s more compact preschool toys, thus far their efforts are either misguided or not going far enough.

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Spin Master Completes C$220 Million Initial Public Offering

spin masterThis past Thursday, Spin Master Corp. completed its public offering of 12,225,000 subordinate voting shares at a price of C$18.00 per subordinate voting share. The offering raised total gross proceeds of C$220,050,000. The subordinate voting shares will commence trading today on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol TOY.

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LittleBits Electronics to Debut NYC Pop-Up Store

LittleBits store exteriorLittleBits Electronics Inc. is opening its first store in New York City. Located in the SoHo district, the pop-up store will open to the public on July 31.

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The Birds Are Back: Angry Birds 2 Launches Worldwide

Angry Birds 2 logoAngry Birds 2, the first sequel in the mobile game series Angry Birds, has arrived from Rovio. While retaining the popular slingshot format, the visuals and gameplay of Angry Birds 2 have been overhauled, with multiple stages in each level to go with new spells such as blizzards, magic ducks, and hot chili peppers.

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TIA Announces Business-Savvy Line-Up of Speakers for Fall Toy Preview

Fall Toy PreviewAs reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), speakers at this year’s Fall Toy Preview include Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire investor from the hit TV show, Shark Tank. He will deliver his address at the Women in Toys Empowerment Day, a mentoring and networking event for female business owners taking place on October 5, the day before Fall Toy Preview officially opens its doors.

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COMMENTARY: Toy Pets Are Becoming Man’s New Best Friend

Zoomer Kitty, from Spin Master

Pet ownership is a rite of passage for many children (and families), but it can also be a real hassle. After all, the vast majority of pets must be fed, cleaned up after, groomed, etc. They require constant care and semi-regular attentiveness, in other words, and that can be a real challenge for young ones (and some adults, too), who may not be used to that level of responsibility.

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TIA Reports Information Technology Agreement Will Extend Duty-Free Treatment to Electronic Toys

TIA LogoAs reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), a landmark deal was reached between 54 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) last week that will extend duty-free treatment to more than 200 information technology products, including certain types of electronic games, toys, and other electronic accessories.

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Moose Enterprise and Local Police Seize More than 150,000 Counterfeit Shopkins in China

MooseToysMoose Toys took aggressive action on July 27 to protect its popular Shopkins brand. Together with local police, the company’s agents raided two Chinese manufacturers located in Yiwu, China, resulting in more than 150,000 counterfeit Shopkins toys being seized by local police.

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Disney Consumer Products Introduces Disney∙Pixar Cars Diecast Line, High-End Collectibles, and Mobile App

Cars,groupDisney Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI) will release Cars Daredevil Garage, a new mobile app, as well as collectible Mattel diecast cars, which can be scanned into the app and used to perform extreme stunts in virtual environments.

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Redesigned Captain Action Card Game to Arrive Next Year

Captain Action1Captain Action Enterprises LLC (CAE), in cooperation with veteran game designers and developers Harold Sipe and Meg Stivison, will release a new card game based on the beloved Captain Action properties. They will be bringing the full cast of Captain Action, Dr. Evil, Lady Action, and the overall mythology to gamers and action figure fans next year as part of Captain Action’s 50th Anniversary.

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Disney Store to Unveil New Collections and Limited Editions at D23 Expo

Anaheim Convention Center

Disney Store has all-new collections and limited editions set to launch at this year’s D23 Expo 2015, the Disney fan event held at the Anaheim Convention Center from August 14 to 16. Located within the Disney Consumer Products Pavilion at D23 Expo, the Disney Store shop will feature new and exclusive products, and will be unveiling new items celebrating favorite characters each day throughout the weekend.

Highlights of the new collections include:

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Evil Threatens All of LEGO Humanity in LEGO Dimensions Story Trailer

LegoDimensionsLogoWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has released the story trailer for LEGO Dimensions, which merges physical LEGO brick building with interactive console game play. The game features an original story that combines characters and worlds from 14 entertainment brands including DC Comics, The Lord of the Rings, The LEGO Movie, The Wizard of Oz, LEGO Ninjago, Back to the Future, Scooby-Doo, Doctor Who, Jurassic World, and more.

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Learning Express Toys Presents Vendor Awards

LearningExpressLogoLast month, Learning Express Toys (LE Toys) hosted a franchise-wide convention in San Antonio, Texas, that included store owners, store managers, home office employees, and vendors. During the event, LE Toys presented its vendors with awards.

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Saban Brands Names Sanrio’s Janet Hsu as CEO

Janet HsuSaban Brands has named Janet Hsu as its new CEO, effective August 17. As Saban Brands’ first CEO, Hsu will be responsible for overseeing the company’s portfolio of global entertainment properties, as well as being instrumental in acquiring additional brands and building new intellectual properties.

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Zuru Secures Patent for Bunch-O-Balloons, Vows to Enforce It Against Knock-Offs

ZuruLogoZuru Bunch-O-Balloons has been granted a U.S. patent, which has been extended to broader territories across the globe.

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Gund to Launch New Huggy Buddha Product Line

Gund.Large Huggy BuddhaGund will release a new product line under license with Huggy Buddha International. Brokered by Remarkable Brands Inc., this global, multi-year agreement covers all retail channels, including department stores, mid-tier specialty stores, and more. The product line will launch in early fall.

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Toys “R” Us Supports Athletes Participating in Special Olympics 2015 Summer World Games

The Special Olympics 2015 Summer World GamesThe Special Olympics 2015 Summer World Games are underway, and Toys “R” Us employees throughout the greater Los Angeles area are volunteering at the 10-day event. Company volunteers are on hand to encourage and cheer on athletes as they reach personal victories in a variety of sporting activities.

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TIF Collecting Summer Toy Drive Donations through Labor Day

SummerToyDrive2015The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) is calling on toy manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and importers to continue donating arts and crafts, plush, outdoor toys, musical toys, board games, books, DVDs, and other toy and youth entertainment items for its 2015 Summer Toy Drive, which is open from now through Labor Day weekend. The items will be donated to children who are sick, in foster care, living on U.S. military bases, or experiencing other hardships.

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Bratz Relaunches with New Look and Digital Content

MGA Entertainment Bratz ReturnsMGA Entertainment (MGAE) has re-launched Bratz, which returns to stores with a new brand mantra: It’s good to be yourself; it’s good to be Bratz.

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Jakks Pacific Partners with Skechers on New Line of Twinkle Toes Dolls

Jakks,TwinkleToesDollSkechers USA Inc. has partnered with Jakks Pacific Inc. to launch a new line of dolls based on Skechers’ popular Twinkle Toes character. The initial launch includes four unique dolls that stand 6.5 inches in height, and are dressed in colorful, fashion-forward outfits and light-up Skechers Twinkle Toes shoes.

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GUEST COMMENTARY: Game Stores versus Toy Stores: There’s More than Enough Fun to Go Around

by Sara Erickson, owner, Rook’s Comics and Games

Rook's InteriorSitting in my game store on a warm Saturday afternoon, I watch as customers stream in with tote bags full of games they plan on playing during the next three or four hours. I know most of them by name and would consider many of them my friends. They’ve been shopping and playing at my store for the past nine years, and I’ve seen them grow from awkward teenagers into professional adults. Many have even outgrown my store and are now shopping at the local toy store across the street for their own kids. Eventually, the cycle will repeat and I’ll be selling the newest hot game to the next generation.

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News

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TIF Lights Up the Lives of Chicago-Area Foster Children with 3,700 Toys

The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, as well as CASA of Cook County, hosted nearly 500 Chicago-area foster children at Play Your Part–Chicago on July 16 at U.S. Cellular Field. TIF provided more than 3,700 playthings valued at more than $50,000 to foster children served by CASA of Cook [...]

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My Gym to Integrate Kids II’s Oball Toys into Fitness Curriculum

My Gym Children’s Fitness Center has entered into a strategic alliance with Kids II to incorporate its Oball product line into My Gym’s fitness curriculum. The partnership goes into effect with a three-month program across My Gym locations in the U.S. and Canada.

DHX Brands Appoints Giochi Preziosi as Teletubbies Toy Distributor for Italy, Spain, and Portugal

DHX Brands, the dedicated brand management and consumer products arm of DHX Media Ltd., has signed an agreement with Italian toy company Giochi Preziosi to distribute Teletubbies toys in Italy, Spain, and Portugal. The line will include: basic and feature plush; plastic toys including play sets, figures, and vehicles; and bath toys from master toy [...]

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Articles

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Barnes & Noble Throws the Book at Toy Retail

This article first appeared in the May/June 2015 issue of The Toy Book. The great American bookstore has made room for a great American toy store. Barnes & Noble is the largest retail bookseller in the U.S., with nearly 650 stores nationwide, as well as a thriving web presence. But in recent years, the bookstore [...]

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Q&A with Diana Brobmann, CEO and Creative Director, Giggo Toys

The Toy Book (TTB): How are you engaging customers to drive sales? Diana Brobmann (DB): We have the most powerful tool in the marketplace–the mommy bloggers, and now, the daddy bloggers. We have partnered with a consortium of top bloggers to engage our target audience by providing timely information about Giggo Toys as well as [...]

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The Unvarnished History of Beanie Babies and the Man Who Created Them

by Zac Bissonnette, author, The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute Between 1996 and 1999, Ty Warner earned more than a billion dollars with a single line of understuffed beanbag animals that retailed for $5 each. In my new book, The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the [...]

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