NRF, Ascential PLC Form Global Partnership

nrf1The National Retail Federation and Ascential PLC, parent company of the World Retail Congress, entered a global partnership. The partnership will leverage the strengths of each group to help continue to provide their shared audiences with insight, networking opportunities, intelligence, and more in the years ahead.

Between NRF’s Retail’s Big Show and Shop.org and Ascential’s annual World Retail Congress, the two organizations host the premiere retail forums each year. The announcement was made by Shay and WRC Chairman Ian McGarrigle at Ascential’s Retail Congress Asia-Pacific conference in Hong Kong.

The partnership is supported at the highest levels of both organizations.

ICTI CARE Seeks Toy Industry Views on Program Enhancements

ICTICareICTI CARE currently seeks consultation of proposed enhancements to its program. These updates include an enhanced, graded ICTI CARE Audit Checklist—the standard against which all factories are certified—and the introduction of a new Star Rating System for ICTI CARE Certification. [Read more...]

Spin Master Continues Global Expansion with New Poland Office

spin masterSpin Master Corp. further expanded its presence in Central Eastern Europe (CEE) with a new sales and marketing office in Warsaw, Poland.

Pavol Vano has been appointed to the new role of CEE general manager of Spin Master, reporting directly to Hedley Barnes, general manager of Spin Master Northern Europe. Vano will be based in Prague and oversee sales and marketing activities in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania‎. Centralized European Operations and Finance functions will remain in Bratislava, Slovakia. [Read more...]

Spin Master Unveils What’s Inside Hatchimals Surprise

HatchimalsSurprise_GirlsLookingInEggSpin Master Corp. is celebrating its second annual Hatchimals Day tomorrow with the release of Hatchimals Surprise. The new iteration of Hatchimals features new eggs, hatching process, and species, with the big surprise revealing that there’s two Hatchimal twins inside each egg.

Like the original Hatchimals launched last year, kids can care for the egg and guess what’s inside. There are two species of creatures available—Giravens and Peacats—each with its own unique personality. Kids will need to nurture each Hatchimal in order to help it hatch, and then through interactive play to help their creatures progress from baby, to toddler, to kid. The twin creatures will interact and recognize one another, including telling secrets, playing games, and dancing.

Hatchimals Surprise will be available in-store and online tomorrow, October 6.

Bunch O Balloons Remains No. 1 Selling Toy in Q1 and Q2

bunchoballoonsZuru‘s Bunch O Balloons is once again the No. 1 selling toy in Q1 and Q2 of 2017 in the U.S. for the second year in a row across all categories.

The water balloon line had its biggest sales at retail to date this year, increasing by 46 percent year-over-year across major retailers based on retailer sales data. A Bunch O Balloons #UnleashSummer marketing campaign also generated more than 2 billion media impressions, resulting in the Bunch O Balloons 3-pack recording its biggest week of sales to date during the week of July 2.

Bunch O Balloons creates more than 100 water balloons in 60 seconds. The line in 2017 included a Minions-licensed Bunch O Balloons and the Filler Soaker, which fills up the water balloons without a water hose and doubles as a blaster. Zuru plans to expand the line with new launches next year, including a new license and a play on water slides.

NRF Forecasts Holiday Sales to Increase Between 3.6 and 4 Percent

nrf1The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects holiday retail sales in November and December—excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants—to increase between 3.6 and 4 percent for a total of $678.75 billion to $682 billion, up from $655.8 billion last year. [Read more...]

WowWee Retains Striker Entertainment as Worldwide Licensing Agency for Fingerlings

wowwee.fingerlingsWowWee retained Striker Entertainment to serve as the worldwide licensing agency for the Fingerlings toy line. The toys cling to kids’ fingers and react to sound, motion, and touch with more than 40 animations.

Striker will work with WowWee to develop a worldwide licensing strategy to expand the growing consumer interest and retail demand for additional consumer products categories.

WIT to Host NYCC Panel

WITLogoWomen in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment (WIT) will host a panel for New York Comic Con on “The Power of Narrative: Iconic Characters and How They Reflect a Dynamic Culture.” The panel will take place on Thursday, Oct. 5 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Panel moderator, Zuri Rice, vice president of production and development at Nickelodeon, will lead the panel, which will explore the ways storytelling and narrative in the contemporary world reflect and reinforce cultural changes from gender to interaction and identification. Panelists include Casey Collins, executive vice president, consumer products at WWE; Melissa Flores, director of development and production at Saban Brands; Tonya Lindo, director of licensing for North America at Nelvana; and Random House kids author Bill Doyle.

First Licensees Announced for Zing’s Stikbot

StikbotThe first licensees for Zing’s Stikbot will be in the toys and bedding and apparel categories in the U.S. and Canada. The deal was brokered by The Joester Loria Group, the exclusive licensing agent for the brand.

Basic Fun will release Stikbot plush and figural stretch toys, which may include sound, construction, and roleplay items. Hybrid Apparel will release girls, boys, and young men’s t-shirts and tops.

The Young Scientists Club Extends The Magic School Bus Line

TheMagicSchoolBusThe Young Scientists Club will launch new science products for it’s The Magic School Bus line next year. The products will feature packaging inspired by The Magic School Bus Rides Again, the new Netflix series that launches this month.

In the series, Professor Frizzle recently earned her doctorate degree and takes off to travel the world, leaving her sister, Fiona Frizzle, in charge of her class. Ms. Fiona Frizzle and her class will soar into outer space, dive into the ocean, and travel into the human body.