LeapFrog to Webcast First Quarter Results

LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. will webcast its first quarter results conference call on May 2, at 5:30 a.m. PDT, following the release of its financial results.

The live webcast will be available at LeapFrog’s investor relations website at www.leapfroginvestor.com. An archive of the webcast will be available on the web site approximately three hours following completion of the call. To participate in the call, dial (706) 634-0183 and request Conference ID 36439156. A telephonic replay of the call will be available for one month. To access the replay, dial (404) 537-3406 and use Conference ID 36439156.

LIMA Cares on Track to Raise $4 Million for Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation

Through the dedication of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) and the generosity of the licensing industry, the LIMA Cares campaign is well poised to raise $4 million for the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation (CBTF), the organization’s charity of choice. LIMA expects to reach the achievement just in time for May’s National Brain Tumor Awareness Month–and the group’s commitment will continue strongly, as it works to meet its goal of raising an additional $5 million in the next five years.

As part of the 2013 LIMA Cares campaign theme, “Save the Bravest,” LIMA is encouraging all of its members and licensing industry professionals to “Tweet for the Bravest” on April 17. In addition, companies and individuals of the licensing community can invest in a tribute ad to appear in the official program distributed at the LIMA Awards Ceremony on June 18, 2013 during Licensing International Expo in Las Vegas.  [Read more...]

Skylanders Franchise Reaches More Than $1 Billion in Worldwide Retail Sales

Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc., announced that together Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders Giants have generated more than $1 billion in retail sales worldwide, inclusive of toys and accessories.

Last year, the combined sales of Skylanders Giants and Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure toys out-sold the top action figure lines in the U.S. and Europe, including Beyblades, Star Wars, and Transformers. Additionally, through January, more than 100 million Skylanders toys have been sold at retail. [Read more...]

New PriceGrabber Survey Serves Up Holiday Shopper Stats

PriceGrabber has released additional results of its first winter holiday shopping survey, revealing that 54 percent of consumers plan to spend $500 or more on gifts this season, slightly higher than last year. Conducted from August 31 to September 12, the survey includes responses from 2,235 U.S. online shopping consumers. Click either photo below to view the full-size infographic.

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Report: Six in 10 Holiday Shoppers Plan to Buy Non-Gifts for Themselves

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has released its 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, and the report predicts a slight decrease in the average amount each shopper will spend this holiday season. According to the survey, shoppers say they plan to shell out an average of $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise, down slightly from last year’s $718.98. NRF still forecasts overall holiday retail sales to grow 2.8 percent during November and December to $465.6 billion.

Holiday shoppers also plan to take advantage of sales and discounts to purchase goods for themselves. Nearly six in 10 holiday shoppers (59.9 percent) say they plan to purchase additional non-gifts for themselves and their families during the holiday season. The largest portion of a consumer’s holiday budget will go to family members, with the average person spending $403.26 on kids, parents, and other family members. Additionally, an average of $68.23 will be spent on friends, followed by $21.06 on co-workers, and $23.39 on other gifts. Consumers will also spend on decorations ($46.73), greeting cards ($26.52), candy and food ($96.75), and flowers ($18.23.) Gift cards will be popular with consumers again this year, with 57.7 percent of shoppers saying they’d like to receive a gift card this holiday season.

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Reports: Mattel Finalizing Deal to Buy Hit Entertainment

According to multiple news outlets, including the Financial Times, Mattel is in talks with Apax Partners to buy Hit Entertainment for £500 million. Two anonymous sources told the Financial Times that Mattel is in the final stages of negotiations to purchase the company that Apax bought in 2005 for £489 million. The sale of Hit will not include the group’s stake in children’s channel Sprout, but will include Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, Angelina Ballerina, Fireman Sam, and Pingu.

NRF Forecasts an Average Holiday Season

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is expecting this year’s holiday season to be just average. Although last year’s holiday season outperformed most analysts’ expectations, NRF expects 2011 holiday retail sales to increase 2.8 percent to $465.6 billion, close to the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 2.6 percent. Last year, retailers experienced a 5.2 percent increase.

For the first time this year, NRF used its holiday forecasting model to create a projection for seasonal hiring in retail. According to NRF, retailers are expected to hire between 480,000 and 500,000 seasonal workers this holiday season, which is comparable to the 495,000 seasonal employees they hired last year.

Retail Sales Climb; Fastest Rate in Four Months

Improvements in the U.S. economy bolstered retailers’ February sales, reflecting improved consumer sentiment as it relates to spending. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) for February 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from January and 4.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“Retailers have done a commendable job keeping their inventory levels where they need to be, while still offering attractive promotions for those who are eager to spend,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “The big challenge retailers will face in the coming months, however, will be going head to head with high cotton, food, and energy prices.”

“February retail sales are in sync with evidence of the expanding economy,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “While February is typically a slow month for retailers, consumers showed their spending power, though it’s too soon to tell what type of impact the spike in gasoline prices will have on consumers this spring.”

February retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 1 percent seasonally adjusted over January and 9.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Solid growth in discretionary spending was seen across the board.

Tomy to Acquire RC2 Corporation

Tomy Company, Ltd. and RC2 Corporation have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Tomy will acquire RC2 through an all-cash tender offer and second-step merger valued at approximately $640 million. The transaction was approved by Tomy’s board of directors. RC2’s board of directors has also approved the agreement and recommended that RC2’s stockholders tender their shares to Tomy pursuant to the offer. Tomy, through a U.S. subsidiary, will make an offer to purchase all outstanding shares of RC2 common stock for $27.90 per share. The tender offer price represents a 30.9 percent premium to RC2’s average closing stock price over the three-month period ended March 9, 2011, and a 27.2 percent premium over the closing price of RC2’s common stock on March 9, 2011. The tender offer is scheduled to commence in 10 business days and is expected to close during the second quarter of this year. The tender offer is subject to certain customary conditions, including the tender of a majority of the outstanding shares of RC2’s common stock on a fully diluted basis. The transaction is not conditioned on financing. Following completion of the tender offer, Tomy will acquire the remaining outstanding shares of RC2’s common stock for $27.90 per share through a second-step merger.

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NPD Analyst: Retailers Scrambling to Recover Lost Sales

Marshall Cohen, chief industry analyst of The NPD Group, initially expected that the holiday 2010 season would “be remembered as a good year, not a great one.”
“To be great,” said Cohen right before Christmas, “the consumer would have to be in a frenzy and retailers would still be stocked with plenty of product to go around.” According to Cohen, retailers practiced the theory that it is better to sell out than to have leftovers.
On Monday, Cohen revised his outlook saying: “Holiday 2010 just went from a truly Merry Christmas for retailers to a lost weekend with retailers scrambling to recover lost sales.” Cohen called the post-Christmas weekend “brutal,” citing an already shortened post-holiday shopping weekend due to the holiday falling on a Saturday and the Sunday snowstorm in the Midwest and Northeast.
“All-in-all, retailers will lose about 0.5 [percent] of sales with the loss of this big post-Christmas day. And by the time they make it up, the sales will fall out of the range of the ‘holiday numbers’,” Cohen said. “Consumers will now have to wait longer to use those gift cards and make their returns. This is an important part of the sales in that consumers tend to spend approximately an additional 16 percent above the face value of gift cards and returns.”