New York Attorney General Asks Toy Retailers to Be Extra Vigilant About Safety

The New York attorney general has reminded retailers that they are obligated under state and federal law not to sell toxic toys.

As reported by the Associated Press, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters to 190 retailers. Each letter stated that New York law prohibits the sale, import, and manufacture of children’s products that pose an unreasonable risk of injury, with penalties up to $1,000 per violation.

While federal law requires manufacturers and importers to certify that products comply with children’s product safety rules enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Schneiderman advises retailers to check the CPSC website for product recalls.

He also cites a recent report by Clean & Healthy New York Inc. and the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund Inc. that found some children’s items bought in Albany County contained arsenic, mercury, and lead.

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...]

Toys “R” Us to Celebrate 11 Days of Cyber Savings

toysrus.croppedToys “R” Us will be celebrating 11 days of savings at toysrus.com beginning Wednesday and continuing through December 6, the end of Cyber Week. Online shoppers will find daily deals, enhanced services, and free shipping offers during the period of gift shopping.

Toysrus.com will kick off Black Friday shopping on Wednesday night starting at 10 p.m. The website will also offer customers deals in the season’s most sought-after items throughout Cyber Week, with Cyber Monday sales beginning on Sunday, November 30 at 9 p.m.

In addition to daily deals, a three-day Big Brands sale will take place from December 2 through December 4, featuring brands such as Barbie, Fisher-Price, Frozen, Lego, Skylanders, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more. Also, a two-day event from December 5 through December 6 will provide shoppers with bargains on big gift items like dollhouses and powered ride-ons.

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.

American Girl Announces Share the Wonder of the Holidays Campaign

Nov24.AmGirlThrough December 18, American Girl will match any doll purchase made online, in-store, or via phone with an 18-inch doll donation, for up to 1,000 dolls a day, as part of its 2014 Share the Wonder of the Holidays campaign. With the pledged donation of nearly $3 million in retail value, the Children’s Hospital Association will distribute the dolls among its 200 member hospitals throughout the U.S.

Fans can also share pictures and videos of their favorite American Girl moments, from unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning, celebrating a birthday, or visiting a store, on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #Joy2EveryGirl.

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.

Toy Industry Unveils Nominees for 2015 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards

TOTY2015logoToday, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced the 83 finalists for the prestigious 2015 Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY). Between now and January 11, toy consumers of all ages can visit www.toyawards.org to vote for their favorite toys, games, and properties across 12 categories.

The 2015 finalists were selected from more than 600 nominees submitted for consideration by 159 companies. Sixty academics, journalists, toy trend experts, play therapists, toy inventors and designers, and toy retailers staffed the nomination committees that narrowed the field to the slate of finalists.

Votes from mass retailers, specialty toy retailers, media, TIA members, and consumers will be weighted and used to determine each of the 12 category winners. The winners—including the overall Toy of the Year and the People’s Choice awards—will be announced at the TOTY Awards ceremony held on February 13, 2015 as the kick-off to the 112th North American International Toy Fair. [Read more...]

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.

TIA Spotlights Value of Toys and Play in a Child’s Healthy Development in New Campaign

Toy Industry Association InfographicThe Toy Industry Association has launched an industry-wide campaign to stress the important role that toys and play have in the healthy development of children. The Genius of Play campaign includes awareness of facts: for example, pediatricians recommend children spend at least one hour a day engaged in open-ended play, and that children who have access to a variety of toys reach higher levels of intellectual development.

TIA members, industry professionals, academics, and play-focused organizations developed the campaign. The TIA also polled Millennial and Generation X parents about their lifestyles, views on play, spending habits, and purchasing decisions. In its findings, the survey said that 95 percent of parents agree that time spent playing together as a family enhances the child-parent relationship.

Parents, caregivers, teachers, and play professionals are encouraged to visit The Genius of Play website to learn more information about the value of play and share it across social media platforms. Watch the video made for the campaign below, featured on the website, that demonstrated the benefits of play.