Author: Guest Contributor

COMMENTARY: HobbyTown Growing Toy Sales Nationwide

HobbyTown is the largest nationwide footprint of hobby/toy retail stores in the U.S., with nearly 150 franchise stores in 41 states. Established in 1985, HobbyTown retail stores have evolved from a merchandise mix of traditional hobby lines (model trains, radio control, plastic models, rockets, etc.) to a broader mix with a growing emphasis on specialty toys. HobbyTown stores are well suited to expand and support toy sales, as they are very accustomed to providing customers with a shopping experience that goes beyond the sale with in-store events, activities, and a website to support omnichannel shopping. The HobbyTown Franchise Service...

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COMMENTARY: Without Toys “R” Us, Where Should Toy Manufacturers Play?

Toys and game makers should focus on the grocery channel to help fill the hole from the Toys “R” Us liquidation, according to industry vet Tim Hall by Tim Hall, CEO of Sadly for millions of Americans, Toy “R” Us (TRU) may soon be a relic of our collective, nostalgic history. The $10 billion company’s announcement of its pending liquidation has sent tremors across the toy industry. Toy and game manufacturers now need to pivot and backfill some of the huge crater that now looms for their profit and loss statements. The retail giant helped pave the foundation of...

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Google Design Lead Victoria Fang to Present at PlayCon

by Laurie Chartorynsky, The Toy Association During a special presentation at PlayCon, Victoria Fang, Google’s UX (user experience) design lead for the tech company’s new kid-friendly features, will share insight on emerging technologies when the conference returns, from May 8 to 9 in San Francisco, Calif. During her presentation, “Google Assistant for Kids & Families: Conversation, AI, and Play,” Fang will highlight more than 50 games, stories, and activities tailored to kids and families recently introduced on Google Assistant, its virtual personal assistant app which can engage in two-way conversations and is primarily available on mobile and smart home...

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Learning Express Toys Statement on Toys “R” Us Chapter Liquidation

The hard lesson to be learned from Toys “R” Us’ (TRU) bankruptcy, and now liquidation, for all those fast-growing businesses that dream of going public or aggressively expanding using private equity is: “Beware!” Hindsight is always 20/20, but had TRU taken a more conservative growth path, and invested its profits in developing a knowledgeable sales force, remodeling old stores and offering a great in-store experience, TRU would be hugely profitable. Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, and other big box stores will likely enlarge their toy departments in hopes of picking up the $4 billion in U.S. toy dollars left behind by...

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#SaveToysRUs and the Importance of Brick & Mortar Retail

Bob Wann shares his perspective on the evolving retail landscape and its impact on the business of toys by BOB WANN, chairman of The Toy Association Board of Directors, chief play monster at PlayMonster LLC It’s clear the retail landscape is undergoing seismic, disruptive change. Through all the confusion and uncertainty that everyone in our industry has been feeling in recent months—made far worse by news of the past week—the possibility that there might be an avenue to save some 200 Toys “R” Us stores in the U.S. by combining those in a sale with the Canadian operations finds me and everyone...

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