China Toy Fair


Chicago Toy & Fair Game Group Unveils ChiTAG Fair Lineup

ChicagoThe Chicago Toy & Fair Game Group Fair returns to Navy Pier in Chicago from November 22 to 23 this year. The fair is open to the public for a weekend full of interactive events and play. ChiTAG commemorates the toy and game industry as the global hub for consumers, inventors, trade and media to preview, play, and purchase the hottest new toys and games.

This year’s ChiTAG events roster includes playCHIC on November 20, an annual fashion show that pairs toy and game developers to create couture looks; Young Inventor Challenge on November 22, a toy and game inventing competition for kids ages six through 18; the TAGIE Awards on November 21, honoring innovation in the toy and game industry; I-SPI from November 20 to 23, a networking event with the International Summit for Professional Inventors; and T&G Innovation Con, where industry leaders can share key insights with others.

NRF Finds Back to School Spending Is Up, Driven by Demand for Electronics and Supplies

According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2014 Back-to-School Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend $669.28 on apparel, shoes, supplies, and electronics. This is up 5 percent from a total spend of $634.78 last year, driven by increased demand for electronic items, as well as parents’ need to restock their children’s school supplies.

NRF broke down spending by grade, and according to the survey, the average family shopping for high school students will spend $682.99, while spending on middle school/junior high comes in a close second at $682.13. Parents with elementary school-age children will spend an average of $580.94. [Read more...]

Disguise Renews Agreements with Top Entertainment Properties and Brands

july28 Jakks-Pacific-LogoJakks Pacific Inc. announced that its Halloween costume division, Disguise, has renewed and expanded agreements for multiple top entertainment properties to produce Halloween costumes and accessories launching at retailers nationwide this Halloween season.

Disguise has renewed its licensing contract with American Greetings Properties to create costumes and accessories for the Care Bears property and has expanded their agreement to now include Strawberry Shortcake.

Disguise has also renewed its agreements with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products and Warner Bros. Consumer Products  to produce costumes and accessories for The Simpsons, Family Guy, and the Austin Powers franchise, which will be available at retailers nationwide for the 2014 Halloween season.

 

Twenty One Toys and Spin Master Ltd. Send Empathy Toys to Israel and Gaza

TheEmpathyToyTwenty One Toys has partnered with Spin Master Ltd. to send its Empathy Toy to children and communities in need in Israel and Gaza. For Twenty One Toys, it represents the opportunity to have an impact far from home.

The Empathy Toy is a blindfolded puzzle game for kids and adults, designed to get players to think creatively, laugh through frustration, and help build a spirit of dialogue and understanding.

Spin Master Ltd. recently sent thousands of its toys to summer camps and kibbutz community centers in southern Israel, where children and families currently seek shelter amid the hostilities. It’s the third donation program for a war-torn area launched by Spin Master during the past eight years. Local and international support has included free freight shipping of all toys by El Al Airlines.

Genius Brands Names Stone Newman President, Global Consumer Products

StoneNewmanGenius Brands International Inc. (GBI) has appointed Stone Newman to the newly created post of president, Global Consumer Products. In this new role, Newman will work with retailers and licensees to build comprehensive consumer products programs for each of the company’s brands, including Baby Genius, Secret Millionaires Club, Stan Lee’s Mighty 7, and others. He will also appoint and oversee a team of licensing agencies from around the world to operate as sub agents.

Newman will continue to manage licensing programs represented by his former company, Art + Science International, including WowWee brands, ElectroKidz, MiP, and Archie Comics.  These brands will now be managed under GBI’s wholly owned subsidiary, A Squared Entertainment LLC.

Sony Pictures Teams Up with Iconic Video Game Companies for Pixels

Sony Pictures Entertainment has brought together a number of iconic video game companies, whose characters—such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede, Frogger, and Q*bert—will be featured in next year’s action comedy Pixels, to be released on May 15.

Companies with classic arcade games that are teaming with Sony Pictures on the film include: Atari Interactive (publisher of Asteroids, Breakout, Centipede, and Missile Command), Konami Digital Entertainment Co. Ltd. (Frogger), Bandai Namco Games Inc. (Pac-Man, Galaga, and Dig Dug), Nintendo (Donkey Kong), Columbia Pictures Industries Inc. (Q*bert), Taito Corporation (Space Invaders), and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (Joust, Defender, Robotron, and Wizard of Wor).

Funko and Mindstyle Form Alliance with Sights on China and Southeast Asia

PopAsiaFunko and Mindstyle International have reached an agreement for a strategic alliance in greater China and southeast Asia. The new alliance will build on Funko’s existing position globally and create new growth opportunities.

Funko will retain creative, marketing, and sales responsibilities for its portfolio of iconic collectibles, which include its Wacky Wobbler Bobble-Heads, Wisecracks, Mystery Minis, and the ultra collectible Pop! Vinyl Figures. Mindstyle—a global creative, development, and manufacturing company based in China—will bring strong product development with Pop! Asia and premium product lines, local distribution, and a history of initiatives for the Asia market.

NRF Revises Annual Economic Forecast to Expect Stronger Second Half of Year

The National Retail Federation has lowered its retail sales forecast for the rest of the year. Originally, slow growth was recorded during the first half of the year, but growth is expected to be significantly faster over the next five months. NRF forecasted in January that retail sales would grow 4.1 percent this year over 2013, but has since revised that number to 3.6 percent.

NRF calculated that sales grew 2.9 percent during the first half of the year and are expected to grow at least 3.9 percent during the second half. The numbers include general retail sales and non-store sales, and exclude automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants. This winter’s severe weather contributed to the slow growth during the first quarter, but a second look at the forecast is positive, expecting growth to increase, manufacturing to expand, and the employment rate to remain its strongest since 2005.

Goliath Games Acquires Pressman Toy

GoliathLogoGoliath Games is acquiring Pressman Toy, a move that supports Goliath’s goal of creating global brands. With the move, Goliath now shares a number of successful game brands with Pressman, including Rummikub and Tri-Ominos. Goliath will look to use elements of its European marketing campaign for Tri-Ominos in North America.

This past May, Goliath also made a strategic investment in Crown & Andrews, an Australian-based manufacturer of toys, puzzles, and games.

CPSC Releases CHAP Report on Phthalates and Phthalate Alternatives

Following four years of investigation by the Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP), appointed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the CPSC has released a long-awaited report detailing the potential health effects of phthalates and phthalate alternatives in toys and child care articles. Phthalates are substances used to make certain plastics soft and pliable, and there exist federal restrictions on the presence of phthalates in toys and certain children’s products.

Under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, there are currently permanent bans on three types of phthalates—DEHP, DBP and BBP—in toys and certain child care articles, and interim bans on three additional phthalates—DINP, DIDP and DnOP—in mouth-able components of these products. [Read more...]