Angry Birds Stella Animated Series to Premiere on ToonsTV Worldwide

June4.ABStella-300x186 copyOn Saturday, Angry Birds Stella premieres with a brand new animated series, the first season of which will consist of 13 six-minute episodes. Weekly episodes will be released on Saturdays on Rovio Entertainment’s ToonsTV channel, and the series will also make its way to TV and VoD services.

With each episode, fans will learn more about Stella and her friends Poppy, Luca, Dahlia, and Willow—all with clashing personalities and superpowers. The cast also includes Gale, a good-bird-gone-bad, as well as Stella’s ex-best friend.

Check out the series trailer below:

Wal-Mart’s Initial Holiday Offerings Include Discounts on Disney Frozen, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and More

logo-walmartFor its first round of holiday promotions, Wal-Mart has expanded its digital shelves to include 7 million items, which is one million more than last holiday season. Shortly after midnight PT on November 3, deals typically reserved for Black Friday and Cyber Monday will start on walmart.com, and will include discounts on toys and games, such as the Barbie Dreamhouse and Nintendo 2DS.

The retailer will also offer hundreds of weekly online specials on items that include toys and electronics, with same-day pickup at Wal-Mart stores available while supplies last at no additional charge, and free shipping to customers’ homes available for orders totaling $50 or more.

Wal-Mart has rolled out a new feature within its mobile app: Search My Store, through which customers can search for nearly any item carried in a Wal-Mart store and see that item’s availability, its aisle location, ratings, and reviews. Search My Store is available on Android devices and will expand to iPhones by mid-November. [Read more...]

Tomy Debuts New Sonic Boom Toy Line at Toys “R” Us

SonicBoomlogoA new Sonic Boom toy line, from global master toy partner Tomy International, is now available at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and at toysrus.com. The line will feature items across best-selling categories including plush, action figures, R/C, vehicles, and more, and will include a 12-inch talking plush and the Sonic Boom Launcher. Additional products will become available next year.

PBS Kids and Whole Foods Market Partner on Sustainable Toy Assortment in Time for Holidays

pbskidsPBS Kids and Whole Foods Market are partnering to bring PBS Kids’ line of educational and earth-friendly toys exclusively to the supermarket’s customers this holiday season. Starting this week, gift givers can find the PBS Kids line, including classic wooden toys and soft plush animals, at Whole Foods Markets nationwide in the retailer’s Whole Body department.

Appropriate for young children ages 6 months to 3 years, the PBS Kids toy line features race cars made from recycled milk bottles; colorful, wooden vehicles assembled by hand from local wood in Vermont; shape sorters and stackers intended to inspire a love for fruits and vegetables; and phthalate- and PVC-free plush. Each item is made with safe, non-toxic materials and inks, and all packaging is made from recycled materials.

Neil Friedman to Serve as Next President and CEO of Alex Brands

AlexBrands.Copy Alex Brands has named toy industry veteran Neil Friedman as its president and CEO. Friedman, who joined Alex Brands’ board of directors earlier this year, was most recently president of the U.S. division at Toys “R” Us. He was also previously president at Mattel Brands, Fisher-Price Brands, Tyco Preschool, and MCA/Universal Merchandising. Friedman is a member of the Toy Industry Hall of Fame and the International Licensing Industry Merchandiser’s Association’s Hall of Fame.

“This is a unique opportunity to work with some of the most iconic and highly recognizable brands in the industry,” says Friedman. “In the time that I have been associated with Alex Brands, I have been extremely impressed by the company’s accomplishments, vision, and growth plans. I am most looking forward to using my experience and expertise to help this company realize the incredible opportunities that lie before it.”

Retailers Re-Focus Shipping Calendar in Preparation for Surge in Online Shopping, Reports NRF

nrfExpectations are high for a strong omnichannel holiday season, so retailers are preparing their shipping operations to avoid delivery and service hiccups, according to Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Shop.org’s eHoliday survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, indicates that nearly eight in 10 retailers surveyed, or roughly 78.8 percent, will set their standard shipping deadlines for guaranteed Christmas delivery to expire at least a week before the big day. This compares to 73.7 percent last holiday season. In addition, approximately 21.2 percent will set their standard shipping deadlines to expire on December 19 or later, compared to 26.3 percent last year.

Of the 92.3 percent of retailers polled that plan to offer free standard shipping of some sort this holiday season, 69.1 percent said their guarantee for Christmas delivery will expire on or before December 19. Nearly three quarters of retailers polled last year, or 74.2 percent, had a deadline on the equivalent day; in this case, December 20. [Read more...]

Robert Tonner to Release New Sindy Dolls through Harrods

SIndyTonnerRangeAccording to Bulldog Licensing, the brand new Sindy collectible doll range, from Robert Tonner, will make its retail debut at Harrods later this month. Sindy is a British fashion icon first launched in 1963, which became the biggest-selling toy in the UK by the late ’60s, enjoying sales throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s, to go with a large adult fan base.

The U.S.-based Robert Tonner has tapped into the enduring popularity of Sindy with an exquisite recreation of her 1972 Trendy Girl collection, which is one of the most sought after of Sindy’s original ranges of dolls. Both original and modern clothing styles have been developed to accompany the release.

Moose Toys Is Ready to Throw Down with Mutant Mania

MutantManiaMoose Toys has kicked off the retail launch of Mutant Mania, a new collectible toy line featuring wacky, mix-and-match wrestlers. Each customizable figure is created using an interchangeable head, torso, and legs, so kids can swap out a piece to create a new mutant wrestler.

The line includes a Mutant Masher vehicle, a Rampage Arena play set, and more than 120 characters to collect. The Mutant Mania Rampage Arena lets kids put their built-up wrestlers to battle, and even launch them into the ring.

Available exclusively at Toys “R” Us, Mutant Mania is intended for kids ages 5 and up.

McFarlane Toys Unsheathes the Assassin’s Creed Unity Phantom Blade

AssassinsCreed.PhantomBladeThe Assassin’s Creed Unity Phantom Blade, a wearable life-size collectible based on the video game from Ubisoft, and crafted from a design by McFarlane Toys, is now available in stores and online. A replica of Arno’s signature weapon from Assassin’s Creed Unity, it comes equipped with a functional hidden blade, retractable crossbow, and firing dart.

The collectible blade is constructed out of thermoplastic and safety tested for actual use, with a recommended user age of 17 and up. The Phantom Blade also includes a bonus code for downloading the French Cavalry Pistol in Assassin’s Creed Unity, available November 11 for Xbox One.

More information about the Phantom Blade, as well as a list of retailers, can be found at assassinscreed.com/phantomblade and facebook.com/assassinscreed.

New Product Labeling Required for Toys Containing DINP for Sale in California

Under California’s Proposition 65, manufacturers of consumer products for sale in California will be required to include a warning label on items containing diisononyl phthalate (DINP). As reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), the law does not include a “safe harbor” level for DINP, and as such, companies with products containing any amount of the substance are required to comply. The requirement goes into effect on December 20.

Last year, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) added DINP to Proposition 65, which requires the labeling of products containing any one of the approximately 800 chemicals of concern identified by the state.

Under the federally mandated Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), DINP is restricted to maximum levels of 0.1 percent in mouthable toys and components and remains legal for use in non-mouthable toys and inaccessible components. TIA members and industry stakeholders that sell toys in California are advised to include the required warning label on all packaging of products that may contain any levels of DINP.

Any questions may be directed to TIA’s Alan Kaufman, senior vice president of technical affairs, at akaufman@toyassociation.org.