Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will bring forward its holiday layaway program by two weeks, in what has been viewed as a move to get ahead of year-end demand for toys, and to generate sales of upcoming Star Wars toys. As reported by Reuters, Anne Marie Kehoe, the vice president of toys for Wal-Mart, said in a briefing that shoppers can utilize the program starting August 28, two weeks earlier than last year.
As reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved a pilot program last week that will require participating importers to electronically file five data elements for imported consumer products, in order to help the agency more accurately target noncompliant and unsafe consumer products before they are imported. CPSC is currently seeking volunteer participants.
by Scarlett Wisotzki, editor-in-chief, das spielzeug
On June 1, Peter Handstein, the CEO of Hape, rolled out the red carpet for his retailers in France, and gave them a sneak peek of The Little Prince movie and tie-in products prior to their official global release. Scarlett Wisotzki, the editor-in-chief of das spielzeug for the past four years, has this exclusive report:
Hasbro Studios and Sony Music/Legacy Recordings to Release Truly Outrageous: A Jem and the Holograms Tribute
by 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.
by Ed Desmond, executive vice president of external affairs, Toy Industry Association (TIA)
One of the biggest threats facing your business today is the increasing problem of state after state seeking to ban certain chemicals used in toys. Individual state legislatures—and even counties—have been creating their own flawed chemical management laws, which could force retailers to pull perfectly safe products from store shelves. While the TIA is working to prevent such state laws, we are also actively engaged in addressing this threat by urging Congress to pass a federal, uniform chemical management policy that will help preempt state-by-state activity.
by Sara Erickson, owner, Rook’s Comics and Games
Sitting 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.
According to new research from Netflix released just in time for Father’s Day, 85 percent of dads around the world have already or plan to introduce their kids to the cartoons they grew up watching. For 75 percent of those polled, it lets them feel like a kid again, while for 76 percent, it helps them teach life lessons. The research finds dads take seriously the role of keeping the pop culture references from their childhood alive: Roughly two-thirds of them, or 66 percent, are turning to internet TV services such as Netflix for this new family tradition.
by Reyne Rice, trend hunter, toy trend expert, industry analyst, and consultant
Smart tech for kids is no longer buzzword lingo. It has become a reality and has grown to encompass so much more than just technology added to toys to make them interesting or “tech-y.” Today, kids’ technology-enhanced products offer engaging and explorative play patterns that span a wide spectrum of categories. And while there are new technologies being used in these toys, the thrill is in the play experience, not in the technology itself. New technology enhances and extends play patterns way beyond how kids were playing in past decades. Plus, parents, older siblings, caregivers, and educators are all using new technology that companies are translating into toys and tech products for kids’ worldwide.