The Chicago Toy & Game Group Reveals 2014 TAGIE Winners

TAGIE.AwardsThe Chicago Toy & Game Group has crowned this year’s recipients of the 2014 Toy and Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards. More than 400 guests representing 23 countries gathered at Chicago’s historic Navy Pier Grand Ballroom last Friday to toast today’s top playthings.

The Chicago Toy & Game Group acknowledged the following winners from nominated categories:

Excellence in Game Design: Oliver Morris, designer of Gravity Maze

Excellence in Toy Design: Ian Bernstein, Adam Wilson, and Sphero team, inventors of Ollie

Rising Star Designer: Alice Taylor, designer of Makies [Read more...]

Wal-Mart Doubles Its Cyber Monday Deals

Walmart.com_Cyber_Monday_Home_PageWal-Mart plans to have its biggest Cyber Week to date at walmart.com, offering 500 online deals this year, double the number of cyber deals from last year. Cyber Week at Wal-Mart includes savings on toys and tablets, along with free shipping.

The retailer will kick off Cyber Week on November 29, and every day through December 5, walmart.com will offer deals on 500 items including the Fisher Price Little People Musical Preschool; the PlayStation 4 Lego Batman and Little Big Planet Console Bundle, with choice of extra game and controller; the 2014 Holiday Barbie Doll; the MD Sports 2-Player Basketball Game; and more.

Wal-Mart will also be offering free shipping to customers’ homes on orders totaling $50 or more, as well as free pickup at its stores. In addition, Wal-Mart will offer free same-day pickup at a local store for more than 70,000 items.

Moose Toys to Ship Shopkins Series Two, Looks to Sustain Sales Momentum

Moose Toys Shopkins Small MartMore than six million Shopkins characters have been sold in less than four months, as estimated by Moose Toys. As such, the company will air freight additional Shopkins products to meet the holiday demand.

Moose launched Shopkins in July and built brand awareness with short-form video content featuring the Shopkins world, which led to the YouTube community posting its own Shopkins videos, including popular blind bag reveal videos. Season Two, which will feature more than 140 new characters and four new themes, is expected to hit shelves shortly. The new themes will include Baby Bits, Shoes to Choose, and more.

LA Port Executive Director Meeting with Top Shipping Officials in Asia

Gene Seroka, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, is currently meeting with top shipping officials in Asia as labor negotiations at West Coast ports continue. Seroka is on-hand to discuss how partners can help ensure cargo reaches its destination; topics include how cargo is most efficiently stacked aboard outgoing ships.

In other updates, the Port of Los Angeles has pulled three chassis leasing companies together to create a chassis pool that will begin next February, and has offered up property adjacent to the terminals for near-dock facility use, such as cargo and chassis storage. The port is also having active discussions with rail companies to improve operations through cargo consolidation, and working with rail companies to speed up transportation of cargo.

The International Longshore Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have been engaged in labor negotiations since last May, but have yet to reach an agreement on their contract, which expired in July. Both sides are expected to meet and continue negotiations next Monday.

Jakks Pacific Renews Global Toy License for Slugterra

slugterraJakks Pacific has extended its contract for the hit boys action property Slugterra from Nerd Corps Entertainment Inc. The toy manufacturer’s Slugterra toy line launched in the U.S. in February of 2013, several months after the series’ premiere in October of 2012.

Originally consisting of collectible slug figures, blasters, and darts, Jakks Pacific has since expanded the line to include human action figures, vehicles, plush, and stretchy velocimorph flyers. New styles of blasters and darts, as well as several waves of new slug figures have also been introduced.

To date, Jakks Pacific’s Slugterra toys have launched in dozens of countries, and the inclusion of exclusive game codes for Nerd Corps’ online Slugterra games and mobile game, Slug It Out!, will soon be implemented globally. The fourth wave of slug figures is slated to arrive at Toys “R” Us across the U.S. this fall, accompanied by a Toys “R” Us-exclusive 10-pack of the second wave of slugs.

Nerd Corps recently announced a green light for a third season of Slugterra, slated to begin rolling out next summer. Jakks Pacific, meanwhile, will introduce new waves of toys through next year.

Wal-Mart to Offer More Disney Frozen Items than Any Other Retailer

During the coming holiday season, Wal-Mart will offer more than 700 licensed Disney Frozen items, which is more than any other retailer. The toy items include Jakks Pacific’s Frozen Snow Glow Elsa, Blip’s Frozen Dancing Olaf, Disney‘s Frozen Sing-Along DVD, and more.

IBISWorld Forecasts Stronger Retail Spending for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday

According to IBISWorld’s annual Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday spending forecast, retail spending should receive a boost during the upcoming holiday shopping period, thanks to a stronger U.S. economy, higher e-commerce sales, and earlier store openings on Thanksgiving.

Total spending over this year’s Black Friday weekend is forecast to rise 1.8 percent to $36.7 billion. The biggest contributor to holiday spending growth will be online sales, as Cyber Monday revenue growth reaches double digits for the fifth consecutive year.

Americans will spend an estimated $8.4 billion this year on Thanksgiving food and drinks, gifts, and decorations, reflecting a 1.7 percent increase from last year. About two-thirds of households’ Thanksgiving budgets will be spent on food and drinks for family gatherings and festivities.

The price of a typical Thanksgiving dinner is expected to increase 1.5 percent to $5.7 billion. The average household will spend $46.38 on Thanksgiving dinner, with turkey consisting of roughly 43 percent of the meal’s total cost.

Spending during Black Friday weekend is anticipated to grow 1.8 percent, to a total of $36.7 billion. This year, Black Friday is projected to generate $13.1 billion in revenue, an increase of 1.6 percent over last year’s total.

Cyber Monday sales are again anticipated to record double-digit growth of 15.0 percent, as more than half of all consumers are expected to do some holiday shopping online.

ICTI CARE Foundation Names Carmel Giblin Its President and CEO

The International Council of Toy Industries(ICTI) CARE Foundation has named Carmel Giblin as its new president and CEO. ICTI CARE promotes ethical manufacturing, fair labor treatment, and employee health and safety in the global toy and children’s product supply chain. Giblin will officially assume this new role on February 2.

For the past five years, Giblin has been the CEO of Sedex, a not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to improvements in ethical and responsible business practices in global supply chains.

New Exhibition of Antique Trains and Toys Opens at New-York Historical Society

P.RHCS Gallery2This past Wednesday, the New-York Historical Society Museum and Library hosted a preview for its new exhibition, Holiday Express: Trains and Toys from the Jerni Collection. The showcase arrives right in time for the holidays, and includes a number of toys, toy trains, and scenic elements, some dating as far back as the 1850s.

At the museum’s Central Park West entrance, an abstract display shows the historical connection between the U.S. and the railroad, which opened up resources in the west to the east. Using American toys, including an electric train that will move through the entire tableau, it implies the consequences of progress and its effects on New York City.

Meanwhile, the adjacent Robert H. and Clarice Smith New York Gallery of American History contains an expansive array of cases showing off antique toys of European and American origin. These go beyond oil-powered (not electrical) trains to the largest-known version of Gebrüder Bing’s Leviathan ocean liner; a zeppelin train of German origin; even a bridge accessory for a train set, designed by the architect Alexandre Gustave Eiffel and dating back to 1909.

[Read more...]

Nintendo to Power Up Malls Across the U.S. This Holiday Season

NintendoFrom November 24 to December 21, Nintendo characters Mario, Luigi, and Pikachu will visit 16 malls across the country to offer holiday shoppers hands-on play time with new games for Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo 2DS. Visitors can also check out amiibo, Nintendo’s foray into the toys-to-life category.

Interactive spaces tailored for kids will feature a Mario Kart 8 tournament played on a large, high-definition display. Visitors can also play Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. The scheduled lineup of Wii U games also includes Hyrule Warriors, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Super Mario 3D World, Skylanders: Trap Team, and Nintendo Land.

Meanwhile, Nintendo 3DS fans will be able to check out Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Pokémon Omega Ruby, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, Mario Kart 7, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Tomodachi Life, Yoshi’s New Island, and more. [Read more...]