American Girl to Open Shop-in-Shop Boutiques in Mexico

AmericanGirlAmerican Girl has partnered with El Palacio de Hierro, Mexico’s largest high-end retailer, to bring its line of products to Mexico, the company’s second international location.

Visitors to the new American Girl specialty boutiques will find a curated assortment of the company’s most popular products, including the My American Girl personalized, contemporary doll line and the annually-launched Girl of the Year dolls. They will also carry a selection of the company’s Dress Like Your Doll clothing for girls, as well as American Girl books, which will be translated into Spanish. In addition, there will be the signature Doll Hair Salon.

 The first two American Girl shop-in-shop boutiques will open next summer at El Palacio de Hierro’s Perisur and Interlomas locations in Mexico City, followed by a third boutique at the Polanco location in next fall.

Build-A-Bear Workshop Opens Pop-Up Shop in Times Square

Times_Square_Grand_Opening_PhotoJust in time for the holidays, Build-A-Bear Workshop has opened a new pop-up workshop in Times Square, New York. Primly located at 1619 Broadway, this new shop is officially open to the public after a ceremonious ribbon cutting by Build-A-Bear CEO Sharon John Tuesday morning.

The new store celebrates the arrival of Olaf, Elsa Bear, and Anna Bear, merchandise that is exclusively available at Build-A-Bear Workshops.

The first 200 guests to arrive were invited to build a “Stuffed with Hugs” bear that will be donated to a local charity.

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.

Adora’s Designed by Kids for Kids Program Brings Ideas to Life

adoradollsisabellacato Pretty Little Cowgirl OutfitAdora Dolls has announced the latest winner of its Designed by Kids for Kids program. Isabella C., an 8-year-old from Florida, designed the ”Pretty Little Cowgirl” outfit that will be added to production next year.

The program, which is in its second year, encourages young designers to submit drawings in hopes of seeing their ideas come to life. The winner also gets to select their favorite charity to receive a donation from Adora Dolls.

 

 

 

Nintendo Shows Strength on New Games in Financial Results

NintendoAs reported by Bloomberg News on Wednesday, Nintendo posted second-quarter profits that beat analyst estimates, helped by a weaker yen that boosted the value of overseas sales and demand for new games, including the company’s Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8. Net income was 24.2 billion yen, or $224 million, for the three months ended September 30, compared to an 8 billion yen loss a year earlier.

The company booked a 15.5 billion yen gain in the fiscal first half from the weaker Japanese currency. Second-quarter sales fell to 96.7 billion yen from 115 billion yen a year ago, but Nintendo left unchanged its forecast for full-year profit of 20 billion yen and sales of 590 billion yen. The company maintained its projection to sell 3.6 million Wii U consoles across the full year.

In a statement, Nintendo also maintained its full-year sales targets for the 3DS handheld player and software titles for both. The newest version of the 3DS, which features additional buttons and a faster processor, went on sale in Japan on October 11; and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, which was released in Japan on September 13, and in North America and Europe on October 3, sold 3.2 million units as of the end of the month. The company is also entering the multi-billion-dollar, collectible toy market with its amiibo figurines, which let players enter a Nintendo character into a game through the Wii U’s GamePad tablet.

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.”

Toy Industry Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America Treat Military Families to “Day of Play”

tif_logoThe Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and national partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America Military Services treated 1,100 kids of military personnel stationed at Naval Station Mayport in Florida to brand-new toys and games this past Saturday. The “Day of Play” also included family games and activities, food, and entertainment. Every child in attendance was able to take home a toy. Barnes and Noble, Big Red Dog Patch, Imperial Toy, Lego, Lulu Jr., Mattel, and Yamie Chess donated the toys to TIF.

The event was held as part of the joint TIF/BGCA Play Comforts program, the first national toy distribution initiative to serve every branch of the U.S. military. Through Play Comforts, toys and games donated are delivered annually to families on U.S. military installations at home and abroad. Since the program’s launch in 2010, more then 1.7 million toys have been delivered to military families on over 152 U.S. military bases worldwide.

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...]

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.

ChiTAG Group Brings Largest Toy and Game Inventor Event to Chicago Toy & Game Week

CHITAGHosted by the Chicago Toy & Game Group (ChiTAG), the International Toy & Game Innovation Conference (T&GCon) is a networking and educational opportunity in which both industry leaders and those looking to get involved in the industry and/or have their product licensed can come together to share key insights and ideas.

The conference, scheduled to take place on November 20 and 21 at the Navy Pier in Chicago, also includes the International Summit for Professional Inventors (I-SPI), and the Inventor Relations Summit (IRS), which is part of I-SPI. Attendees will have the chance to meet top executives from Hasbro, Spin Master, Ravensburger, NASA, Patch Products, and more.

At T&GCon, new inventors will have opportunities to show their ideas to dozens of toy and game industry companies. Meanwhile, at I-SPI, aspiring inventors can meet colleagues from around the world, experience new technology, meet with manufacturers in private offices, and more. Finally, at IRS, attendees can discover new ideas, products, and innovation from different inventors and companies, as well as discuss ways to strengthen both the inventor community and the industry as a whole.

Registration includes a ticket to PlayCHIC, the toy, game and entertainment brand-inspired fashion show on the evening of November 20, as well as a ticket to the Toy & Game Inventor of the Year Awards. Interested parties can visit the official T&GCon site to register.