China Toy Fair


Above-average Retail Imports as Longshoremen’s Negotiations Continue

by Alexis Willey

The import of retail merchandise remains above average as negotiations continue between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association.

In a report released September 9 by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, 1.47 million containers are expected to pass through U.S. ports covered by the Global Port Tracker report this month. September has averaged 1.42 million containers for the past five years.

Concerns grew among retailers as the West Coast longshoremen’s contract remained unsettled after its expiration on July 1, which prompted an early import of back-to-school and holiday goods in preparation for a potential disruption on the docks. August saw an all-time monthly record of 1.53 million containers because of these precautions. [Read more...]

Tonner Haute Couture Wizard of Oz Dolls Still Available for Bidding

WizardofOz.TonnerThere’s still time to bid on haute couture dolls by high-end fashion and costume designers inspired by Dorothy Gale, Glinda the Good Witch, and The Wicked Witch of the West. These collectible dolls were made for Tonner Doll’s collection of 22-inch dolls in celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz.

Doll designers included Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan Atelier, Hervé Léger by Max Azria, Betsey Johnson, and more.

Earlier this month, Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) and Tonner Doll Company unveiled the 20-doll collection at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. The collection is now located at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship in New York City for additional public viewing on the third floor until October 9.

The dolls are still available for bidding on eBay Giving Works at wizardofozdollauction.com until Sunday, with proceeds benefiting Habitat for Humanity as part of the There’s No Place Like Home campaign.

Toys “R” Us Reveals Plans, Programs for Holiday Season

toysrus

Toys “R” Us unveiled its plans for the upcoming holiday season. The company will launch a new Rewards “R” Us program for its more than 18 million existing Rewards “R” Us members, and those who sign up in-store or online at toysrus.com/myrewards, who are now able to earn more rewards.

The complimentary Rewards “R” Us program enables members to earn one point per dollar spent at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us locations; for every $125 spent, Rewards “R” Us members receive $5 in “R” Us Rewards. Rewards “R” Us members who are also “R” Us credit cardholders earn two points per dollar spent in-store or online at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us—for a total of $10 for every $125 they spend. In addition, they can enjoy special financing and partake in 10 percent off Thursdays at any “R” Us location.

Toys “R” Us will also introduce online layaway, giving customers the ability to create layaway orders at toysrus.com and babiesrus.com, make subsequent payments either in-store or online, and pick up their order at a local store or have it delivered to their home. [Read more...]

Mia Hamm, Kids, and Families Set Record in Celebration of LeapBand

Jan27.LeapFrogLeapFrog Enterprises Inc. hosted its Fit Made Fun Day event last Saturday at Santa Monica Beach with soccer star Mia Hamm and more than 300 kids and families. The attendees became the new Guinness World Records record holders for three active play records: the most people making sand angels, the most people hopping on one foot, and the most people doing the swim dance.

In celebration of the newly launched LeapBand activity tracker for kids, Fit Made Fun Day encouraged families to get active in creative ways while having fun together. LeapFrog invited families nationwide to host their own Fit Made Fun Day, and share images and videos across media channels.

WIT Unveils Details for Its Winning Moves Empowerment Workshop

WITWinningMovesWomen in Toys’ (WIT) Winning Moves Empowerment Workshop will take place at the Dallas Market Center on October 6, the day before the start of Fall Toy Preview. The event will provide attendees with the opportunity to pitch to Wal-Mart, share their inventions with toy companies including Hasbro, and learn through speed mentoring sessions.

The workshop schedule includes panel discussions on topics such as selling to Wal-Mart and approaches to raising capital. There will also be an evening cocktail party with appetizers on the 15th floor of the Dallas Market Center.

The deadline for applications has been extended until September 12, and the event is open to women, men, and WIT members and non-members. The ticket price is $40 for WIT members and $55 for non-WIT members. More information about the workshop can be found at the WIT homepage.

VOXX Electronics to Market Singtrix

SingtrixVOXX Electronics Corp. will be the exclusive marketer of Singtrix to Europe and North America.

Powered by advanced vocal effects technology and featuring more than 300 effects, the Singtrix karaoke machine covers every genre and generation of music.

Destiny’s Day One Mark Exceeds $500 Million

DestinyActivision Publishing Inc. reported that it sold more than $500 million of its latest video game title, Destiny, into retail stores and first parties worldwide as of day one. The title launched on Tuesday at more than 11,000 midnight openings worldwide.

Destiny, from Bungie and Activision Publishing Inc., is available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. Two expansions—the first of which will launch in December—extend the adventure with new story missions, cooperative activities, competitive multiplayer arenas, and more.

Kids Preferred, Carter’s Sign Licensing Agreement

KidsPreferred.Carters License AgreementKids Preferred has acquired the toy license from Carter’s Inc. to develop branded plush, activity, and wood toys, puzzle, play gyms, plush rockers, and foot-to-floor scooters in the U.S. and Canada. The first items will arrive on shelves this fall. The companies will jointly develop products, which will match back to the seasonal collections of apparel and accessories.

Kids Preferred is showing the Spring 2015 collection at ABC Kids Expo Toy Fair in Las Vegas.

Toys “R” Us Bolsters Leadership Team to Drive TRU Transformation Strategy

toysrusToys “R” Us Inc. has appointed a number of proven executives to key leadership roles, as the company continues to position its business for long-term profitable growth.

Debbie Lentz has been named senior vice president, chief supply chain officer, with responsibility for U.S. distribution and customs compliance, global importing and exporting, fleet operations, and domestic transportation. She will report to Hank Mullany, president, Toys “R” Us, U.S. In this role, Lentz will oversee inventory planning and allocation, as well as e-commerce fulfillment, while driving efforts to significantly improve in-stock levels both in stores and online. She will also lead logistics strategy development for the company’s international markets and efforts to improve global supply chain efficiencies, reporting in this capacity to Antonio Urcelay, chairman and CEO of Toys “R” Us Inc.

Lentz most recently held the position of senior vice president, customer service and logistics, at Kraft Foods Group. Prior to Kraft, she worked for many years in logistics operations at Nabisco Foods Group. [Read more...]

Jeffrey Dunn Named President and CEO, Sesame Workshop

sesame-workshopVincent Mai, chairman of the board of trustees of Sesame Workshop, announced today the appointment of Jeffrey Dunn as president and CEO of Sesame Workshop, effective September 29. Dunn, formerly the president and CEO of Hit Entertainment, will succeed Mel Ming, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Dunn currently serves as a 2014 Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University with a focus on media and education. Previously, he served as president and CEO of Hit Entertainment from 2008 until 2012. Before joining Hit, Dunn served as group COO of the Nickelodeon Networks group and the president of Nickelodeon Film and Enterprises, where, among other things, he built Nickelodeon’s international networks business and oversaw the growth of Blue’s Clues, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Dora the Explorer into three of the world’s largest licensed property brands.