China Toy Fair


Zuru Signs Global Deal with Bunch O Balloons

BunchOBalloonsZuru has signed a global exclusive deal with Bunch O Balloons, which raised close to $1 million through the crowd-funding site Kickstarter.

Bunch O Balloon’s design allows for 100 water balloons to be filled in less than 60 seconds. The balloons are also self-tying, eliminating the step of tying regular balloons.

“We chose to work with Zuru because of their vast global network, marketing ability, and their expertise in automating production,” says Josh Malone, the creator of Bunch O Balloons. “They have an ability to work quickly, and much like us, are a family-run business who are incredible people to work with, and we are excited to be moving forward with them.”

Bunch O Balloons will be hitting the U.S. market next spring.

Toys “R” Us Inc. Reports Second Quarter Financial Results

ToysRUsLogo copyToday, Toys “R” Us Inc. reported financial results for the second quarter ended August 2. Consolidated net sales were $2.4 billion, an increase of 2.7 percent versus the prior year period. Excluding the impact of foreign currency translation, which increased net sales by $7 million, the company experienced an improvement in net sales of $56 million, or 2.4 percent. The growth was primarily a result of an increase in comparable store net sales in both the Domestic and International segments, as well as new stores in the International segment.

Second quarter highlights include domestic comparable store net sales up 1.5 percent, primarily driven by increases in the core toy, learning, and entertainment (which includes electronics, video game hardware and software) categories. International comparable store net sales were up 2.5 percent primarily due to increases in the core toy, learning and seasonal categories.

Adjusted EBITDA was $81 million, compared to $74 million in the prior year, an increase of $7 million, or 9.5 percent.

Big Hero 6 Arrives on Disney Infinity this Fall

BigHero6.DisneyInfinityHiro and Baymax from the upcoming action-packed movie Big Hero 6 will be entering the Disney Infinity Toy Box (2.0 Edition) from Disney Interactive. Fans will be able to use Hiro’s mind-power and Baymax’s super strength—along with hundreds of items, locations, props, vehicles, and more from across the Disney and Marvel universes—to create all-new adventures.

There will also be a Big Hero 6 Chem Capsule Power Disc, which allows players to create a cloud of frost that freezes enemies right in their tracks.

Disney’s Hiro and Baymax figures will be available in North American retail stores on November 4. In the meantime, check out the gameplay trailer below:

Barnes & Noble Partners with Rovio for Exclusive Angry Birds Stella Preview

June4.ABStella-300x186 copyNook Media, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble Inc., together with Rovio will make the upcoming Angry Birds Stella game available for fans to preview exclusively at Barnes & Noble stores from today to September 3. Angry Birds fans and Barnes & Noble customers can visit the Nook counter at any store nationwide to play the game on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook in-store demo devices.

Angry Birds Stella will launch on September 4 across all major platforms.

Toys & Kids Russia Becomes Kids Russia

Kids Russia will be held at the Crocus Expo International Exhibition Centre in Moscow from March 11 to 13. The trade fair, now in its ninth year, has been renamed Kids Russia after previously being called Toys & Kids Russia. The new title is meant to highlight that the fair is part of the Spielwarenmesse eG portfolio of trade fairs.

With its international World of Toys trade fair program, Kids Russia helps companies gain a potential foothold in Eastern Europe’s toy market. The event is organized by Grand Expo, formerly RNTA Expo, a company in which Spielwarenmesse eG holds a share together with other Russian toy manufacturers.

The closing date for registration for the World of Toys Pavilion at Kids Russia is November 30. Questions can be answered by Sabine Liebscher, senior project manager at Spielwarenmesse eG, who can be reached at +49 (0) 9 11/9 98 13-11 or s.liebscher@spielwarenmesse.de.

American Girl’s BeForever Line Connects to Stories and Characters from Times Past

AmericanGirl.BeForeverToday, American Girl introduces BeForever, a new line of historical dolls, books, and related accessories that connects girls ages 8 and up with characters and timeless stories from America’s past. First introduced in 1986, and now with a new look, BeForever provides opportunities to explore the past, present, and future.

The BeForever line will debut with eight characters; all-new, historically accurate outfits and accessories for dolls; new and refreshed fiction books; and an original line of historically inspired clothing for girls. The characters include a Nez Perce girl who does her best to be a friend to the earth in 1764, to an optimistic girl who stands up for what’s right in the mid-1970s.

To celebrate the launch of BeForever, American Girl is welcoming back Samantha Parkington to its lineup of historical characters. One of the company’s original characters introduced in 1986, Samantha will be reintroduced with new products, including an ice cream parlor, a bike, a bedroom set, and several new outfits and accessories. [Read more...]

New Lincoln Logs Grand Pine Lodge and Collector’s Edition Homestead Unveiled

LincolnLogsK’NEX has added two new sets to its Lincoln Logs product line for this year:

The Grand Pine Lodge includes real wood logs, plus colorful figures, play accessories, and cowboy and horse figures. Suggested for kids ages 3 and up, this set is available exclusively at Toys “R” Us and toysrus.com.

Meanwhile, the Collector’s Edition Homestead is the largest Lincoln Logs set ever created. This building set features 330 pieces including real wood logs, a frontiersman figure, a buildable covered wagon, and two horses. When playtime is over, kids can put the parts back into the handy storage container for a quick and easy clean-up. Suitable for kids 3 and up, the set is available on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.

You can check out K’NEX’s new video for the Lincoln Logs: Collector’s Edition Homestead below:

Toys “R” Us Releases 20th Anniversary Edition of Shopping Guide for Families with Differently-Abled Kids

toysrusLast week, Toys “R” Us published the 20th anniversary edition of its Toys “R” Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, a complimentary shopping guide for parents, caregivers, and other gift-givers in search of appropriate toys for children with special needs.

Available in both English and Spanish at Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores nationwide, as well as online at toysrus.com/differentlyabled, the 63-page Guide is packed with everyday playthings selected for their unique ability to help kids build critical skills–such as creative, emotional and cognitive skills–through play. Skill-building icons are paired with each featured toy to help parents select the most developmentally appropriate toys for their kids.

All of the toys in the Guide were vetted in partnership with the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making play accessible for children of all abilities. The guide’s 2014 cover features baseball World Champion, father, and special needs advocate Albert Pujols, who appears on the cover alongside Cameron Withers, a five-year-old boy from Southern California.

Sprout Introduces New Sprout Channel Cubby Tablet

SproutLogoThe 24-hour preschool TV destination Sprout has its own kids’ tablet, the Sprout Channel Cubby, which will be available this October at Wal-Mart stores and at walmart.com. Produced by Ematic for kids ages 2 to 6, the Cubby features trusted entertainment and learning content preloaded onto the tablet, and will include special credits for vudu.com, allowing customers to download additional content.

SproutCubby.vers2The preloaded content accessible without Wi-Fi connectivity includes full episodes of Sprout shows, such as The Chica Show, Barney, Fireman Sam, Chloe’s Closet, and the premiere episode of Astroblast; music videos; and songs. Meanwhile, the preloaded, Sprout-recommended apps include Sproutlet Weather Report, favorite characters The Wiggles, and more. [Read more...]

Dan Sugrue Joins Jazwares LLC as UK Sales Director

jazwaresDan Sugrue has joined Jazwares LLC as its UK sales director, and will lead the London-based sales force at retailers across the region. Most recently, Sugrue served as business manager for Flair Leisure Products Ltd.

The news follows the recent announcement of an investment by Allegheny Capital Corporation, and marks the company’s continued global growth and firm commitment to the expansion of its UK operation.