China Toy Fair


Lottie Dolls Hosts Holiday Adventure Story Writing Competition

Lottie 2Lottie Dolls is hosting the Lottie Holiday Adventure Story Writing Competition for kids ages 10 and under to write a story about Lottie and her holiday adventures. Kids can put their creativity and imagination to action through writing about themes like a love of reading, writing, and a passion for adventure. One winner will receive a selection of ten books from the Lottie Pinterest folder, Great Books for Girls, and new Lottie products before they hit shelves.

To enter, a parent or guardian is asked to download a printable template from the story writing app on the Lottie dolls Facebook page. Parents are then required to take a photo of their kid’s story and upload it onto the storywriting contest Facebook app and fill in a form to grant permission for the entry to be considered for the competition.

Entries will be judged on creativity, originality, fun, overall kid appeal, and keeping true to the pro-girl values of the Lottie brand. The closing date for entries is Friday, September 12.

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.

ChiTAG Welcomes New Advisory Board for Third Annual playCHIC Fashion Show

CHITAGThis year’s playCHIC advisory board is brand-new as the most stylish part of The Chicago Toy & Game Group’s (ChiTAG) Toy & Game Week is returning for the third time. playCHIC is a runway show that combines fashion with top toys.

This year’s playCHIC elite advisory board includes Anna van Slee, this year’s director of playCHIC and co-founder of Otherdoor Entertainment; Alison Ray, managing editor and founder of sassymomsinthecity.com; Gwen Austin, founder of RC Art Toys; Joan Severance, acclaimed model, actress, and game developer, who also walked in last year’s playCHIC fashion show; Mary Couzin, CEO and founder of ChiTAG; Moira Tuffy, who has developed brand identities and executed events for clients; and Peach Carr, self-taught Chicago designer on the eighth season of Project Runway and the second iteration of Project Runway: All Stars.

The 2014 playCHIC fashion show will hit the catwalk on Thursday, November 20.

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.

Brick Fan Festival Comes to Philadelphia in September

Brick FestThe Philly Brick Fest Fan Festival is coming to The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center on September 12 to 14. Attendees can play with the hands-on building attractions and shop a variety of Lego-themed merchandise. Attractions include the Brick Fest Derby, where participants can build and race custom Lego derby cars; the Video Game Arena, an area to challenge others to play Lego video games; The Brick Zone, where builders are free to create anything they desire; and more.

Additional Brick Fest live dates and locations are at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Maryland from September 19 to 21, Duke Energy Convention Center in Ohio from October 17 to 19, and Palm Beach Convention Center in Florida from December 4 to 7.

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.

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.

Brilliant Sky Toys & Books Acquires Retailer Bean Head Toys

BrilliantSkyInteriorBean Head Toys has turned over its keys to regional toy store chain Brilliant Sky Toys & Books. Seven years ago, original proprietor Chris Lowe opened Bean Head Toys in Sandy Springs, Ga., with a second store popping up several years later, in the Buckhead district of Atlanta.

The stores hosted weekly community events, such as story times, art classes, and Elf Magic gatherings during the Christmas season. [Read more...]