CPSC Amends Operating Plan to Reflect Concerns about Testing Burdens

CPSCAs reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), on December 13, the U.S. Senate passed an omnibus appropriations bill to fund government operations through next September. The bill included $123 million in funding for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which is the amount the agency asked for in its budget request for next year.

The committee report accompanying the bill includes a requirement that the CPSC allocate $1 million to reduce unnecessary and duplicative testing burdens. The language instructs the CPSC to provide a report within 90 days on the status of the agency’s testing burden reduction efforts, as well as a public timeline detailing what steps, if any, the agency will take to reduce testing costs while still assuring compliance. The accompanying report also includes a requirement that $4 million be allocated to import surveillance activities.

On Friday, December 12, the CPSC voted to amend the agency’s fiscal year operating plan for next year, after being strongly urged to use $1 million to find ways to reduce testing burdens. The agency voted 5 to 0 to amend their operating plan to include these funds.

Any questions related to this matter may be directed to the TIA’s Rebecca Mond, director of federal government affairs, at rmond@toyassociation.org.

REMINDER: Nominations Now Open for WIT’s 2015 Wonder Women Awards

WIT.logoWomen in Toys (WIT) is now accepting nominations for the 11th Annual Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Awards. Industry stakeholders are invited to nominate a co-worker, client, associate, family member, or acquaintance for consideration in one or more of the following categories: Rising Star, PR or Social Media, Manufacturer, Designer or Inventor, Licensing or Entertainment, Social Responsibility, and Marketing or Advertising. All nominations are due by January 15. Nominations may be submitted online.

Winners in the eight categories will be announced at an awards dinner, scheduled to take place on February 15 during North American International Toy Fair week in New York City. For the first time, the annual awards dinner will be held at Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers. A ticket and table may be purchased at the WIT website.

The Award Selection Committee and WIT Board of Directors will review all nominees and select the winners for each category. All nominees must be WIT members in order to be eligible to win; however, WIT members and non-members are invited to submit nominations.

Alex Brands Acquires Shrinky Dinks

AlexBrandsShrinky Dinks will be part of the Alex Brands family of toys, which includes Alex Toys, Poof, Slinky, Scientific Explorer, and more. Invented in 1973, Shrinky Dinks consist of large, flexible sheets, which when heated in an oven, shrink to small hard plates without changing their color or shape.

Alex Brands historically licensed the Shrinky Dinks brand for use in the Alex Toys product line. It also joins Alex Brands’ growing collection of Made in the U.S. products, including Poof foam balls and Slinky products.

Toys “R” Us Lights Up Times Square for 183 Continuous Hours

ToysRUS_TimesSquareToys “R” Us Times Square is opening its doors at 7 a.m. this morning, and will remain open through 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, to provide New Yorkers and visitors with 183 uninterrupted hours for holiday shopping. Specialty services such as personal shopping and corporate sales; gift-wrapping; and shipping to local, national, and international locations are also available.

Toys “R” Us Extends Hours, Offers Last-Minute Deals for the Holidays

toysrus.croppedIn the days leading up to Christmas, Toys “R” Us will offer extended shopping hours at stores nationwide. From December 20 through December 22, stores will remain open from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m., while beginning at 6 a.m. on December 23, and continuing through 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Toys “R” Us stores will be open around the clock.

At Toys “R” Us stores between now and December 20, deals are available on all Barbie dolls, Charmazing kits, Transformers Stomp & Chomp Grimlock, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combos or Blu-ray combo packs with ear buds and masks, Skylanders Trap Team Starter Packs, LeapTV systems, The Lego Movie DVD with Lego construction set, Imaginext toys, and select board games (while supplies last). [Read more...]

Target Offering Last-Minute Sales During Final Week of Holiday Season

Target LogoWith one week until Christmas, Target Corp. will offer last-minute deals and free shipping on target.com, where orders placed through December 20 can still be delivered by Christmas. Meanwhile, on Christmas Eve, guests can place online orders for store pickup as late as 5 p.m. and have their items ready that day.

Over the next week, Target will offer deals on gifts including the Sony PlayStation 4; select video games and starter packs, including Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, Disney Infinity Marvel, and Skylanders Trap Team; select Disney Junior toys; and the New Bright Mud Slinger R/C Jeep.

Cartwheel, Target’s mobile savings app, is offering 50 percent off a different toy every day until December 24. From now until Christmas, Cartwheel is also featuring more than 150 offers, including discounts off Sony PlayStation 4 bundles.

Target stores are also offering extended hours through the holiday season, with the following days and times: December 16 to 20, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. or 12 a.m.; December 21 to 22, 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.; December 23, 7 a.m. to 12 a.m.; December 24, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.; December 26, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., 11 p.m., or 12 a.m.; and December 31, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Imports Dragon Grows Sales Team in Toronto

ImportsDragon.logoImports Dragon has added five new members to its Toronto sales team following the successful expansion of its Caillou and Johnny Test product lines in the U.S. market, as well as the continued success of its Shopkins, The Trash Pack, and The Zelfs product lines.

The new additions to the sales team will be working under the leadership of Renee Lochhead, director of sales, who has more than 16 years of experience and joined the Import Dragon team this past July. Other additions include Danny Machado, who has more than 13 years of experience working at Wal-Mart, and Blake Turvey, who has more than 14 years of managerial and corporate development experience.

Gail Benham, Jason Kiss, and Tyler Patriquin round out the new sales team that will be working out of the company’s Mississauga headquarters.

Play-Doh’s Year in Review Features Ice Buckets, Selfies, and More

Hasbro Inc.‘s Play-Doh brand is celebrating memorable moments and top trends for the past year with its second A Year in Play-Doh Moments, a year-in-review sculpted out of Play-Doh compound. There’s the Ice Bucket Challenge, selfies, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the 20th anniversary of Friends, The Fault in Our Stars, smart watches, nostalgic ’90s-inspired fashion, and the polar vortex.

Play-Doh fans can visit the Play-Doh Facebook page to celebrate the past year with other Play-Doh fans.

TIA Discusses Industry Priorities at Annual Strategy Meeting

TIALast week, Toy Industry Association (TIA) members attended TIA’s Annual External Affairs Strategy Meeting held in Los Angeles to discuss key priorities for next year, and to strategize on new and emerging topics projected to impact the toy industry next year and beyond.

On December 3, there was an update and forecast of the industry’s short-term priority policy areas, including chemical regulation, product safety, environmental sustainability, marketing to children, and international trade. On December 4, TIA staff and member representatives participated in a full-day series of brainstorming sessions to discuss how TIA’s efforts on behalf of the toy industry could be enhanced, both domestically and abroad. [Read more...]

Spielwarenmesse eG Calls Upon Exhibitors to Donate to Charity

SpielwarenmesseegEach year, Spielwarenmesse exhibitors donate their products to charity. Spielwarenmesse eG collects these items on the last day of the fair and presents them to SOS Children’s Villages and regional institutions in Franconia.

The Spielwarenmesse eG fair team has been working with the Nuremberg SOS Children’s Village since Spielwarenmesse 2014 to give gifts to children all over Germany. That year, around 800 of the 2,700 exhibitors donated some of their products to the charity, and all in all, more than 8,000 products were collected and donated to social institutions throughout Germany. [Read more...]