January 25, 2010
Ming Minibus

Target Outlines Growth Plans for 2010 and Beyond

Target Corporation is outlining its growth opportunities for the next five to 10 years. Target plans to continue growth within existing stores by investing approximately $1 billion in the renovation of about 340 existing stores, expanding grocery content in general merchandise stores, and enhancing layout, assortment, and “in-store experience” in areas including beauty, home, electronics, and video games. Target also plans to open fewer than 10 additional stores in 2010, and aims to increase that number in 2011 and beyond. Also in the company’s plans is the development of a smaller store format with an “edited merchandise assortment” to meet the needs of those in dense urban markets, and expansion outside the U.S, most likely in Canada, Mexico, or Latin America in three to five years.

Universal Announces Licensing Partners for Despicable Me

Despicable MeUniversal Partnerships & Licensing has signed on several new licensing partners for Universal Pictures’ and Illumination Entertainment’s inaugural 3-D CGI feature, Despicable Me. The movie is the studio’s first film from Chris Meledandri (Ice Age, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Horton Hears a Who!), who produces through his Universal-based family entertainment company, Illumination Entertainment.  
The licensees include D3Publisher for a video game; Ceaco for puzzles; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for publishing; Toy Factory for amusement plush; Rubie’s Costume Company for Halloween costumes; Hallmark for stationery/social expression; and Nanco Networks for an iPhone/iPod touch game app. All products are expected to release in stores this summer.
Despicable Me is slated to hit theaters July 9. The film follows Gru (voices by Steve Carell), the world’s second greatest villain as he plans to steal the moon, only to encounter three little orphaned girls who see him as a potential dad.

Hobbico Acquires Estes-Cox

HobbicoEstesHobbico, Inc. has acquired Estes-Cox Corporation from a group of investors. Estes, founded 51 years ago, is located in Penrose, Colorado where it operates a manufacturing plant and distribution center. It will continue to operate there as a subsidiary of Hobbico. Estes products include a wide range of flying model rockets in kit and ready-to-fly form, as well as launching systems and miniature solid-propellant rocket motors.
Hobbico is a manufacturer and marketer of model hobby products, including radio controlled models, plastic model kits, trains, and other hobby and toy products. The 100 percent employee-owned company sells products through several subsidiaries including Revell-United Model, Great Planes Model Distributors, and Tower Hobbies.

Wal-Mart Cuts 11,200 Jobs

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has cut about 11, 200 jobs at its Sam’s Club warehouse division, the company says, as it outsources its product-sampling department to marketing company Shopper Events. The move is part of an effort to win more customers and boost lagging sales.
The job cuts represent approximately 10 percent of Sam’s 110,000 staffers across its 600 stores. The terminations happened at mandatory meetings on Sunday morning.

TIA to Exhibit at CHA Convention & Trade Show

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) will host a pavilion for toys and youth products during the Craft & Hobby Association’s (CHA) Summer Convention & Trade Show held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention and Conference Center in Rosemont, Ill. from July 27 through 29. The pavilion will feature manufacturers and distributors from TIA’s American International Toy Fair and Fall Toy Preview.

Miffy the Movie to Release in November 2011

MiffyMiffy the Movie will premiere at the European Film Market in Berlin. The 70-minute movie is currently in pre-production and is slated to release in November 2011. Miffy, created by Dutch author and illustrator Dick Bruna, will celebrate her 55th birthday this year. The character is the basis for 117 original books, merchandising products such as toys and gifts, television episodes such as the 3-D animated TV series Miffy, and the specials Family Celebrations and Explore the World with Miffy.
In Miffy the Movie, Miffy’s parents set up a treasure hunt, giving Miffy and her friends five clues, one at a time. If they put all the solutions together, Miffy and her friends can solve the treasure hunt. Telescreen Film Productions, a division of Telescreen B.V., is co-producing the movie with Dutch public broadcaster KRO. The executive studio will be A.Film, Denmark known for working on films such as FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Quest for Camelot, and Asterix and the Vikings.

Every Baby Company Appoints Regional Sales Groups

EebeeEvery Baby Company, creator of the eebee’s adventures line of toys, books, and DVDs, has appointed several regional sales groups to represent the company in the specialty toy, gift, and infant trade channels across the U.S. and Canada.
The sales organizations include: 225 Unlimited (AL, FL,GA,MS, NC, SC,TN); Accentrics (gift only AK, LA, OK, TX); Brian & Co (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT); Carmela Forster (Canada); Casanova Sales. (NY); GB Sales (northern NJ); Goldstein Group (DE, south NJ, PA); Ketz & Assoc.(IA, MN, SD, ND, NE, WI); McManemin&Co (TX, OK, LA, AK); Singer Group (military); Singer & Son Assoc. (KY, MI, OH, WV); Sunshine Sales (CA, HI); Total Toys (IL, IN, KS, MO); and Toyology (AK, ID, OR, WA).

Disney Store Appoints New VP of Marketing

Damon WhitesideDisney Store has named Damon Whiteside vice president of marketing of Disney Store North America. In his new role, Whiteside will oversee key global marketing initiatives and lead the North American marketing strategy through in-store brand positioning, franchise, and synergy development. He will also help plan and execute the new store design set to launch this summer.
Whiteside began working at Disney more than 12 years ago at Walt Disney Studios in film distribution and in-theater marketing, before joining Disney Music Group. Most recently, Whiteside was the head of marketing for Walt Disney Records.

 

Dr. Seuss Promotes Brandt to President, Licensing and Marketing

Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., has promoted Susan Brandt from executive vice president to president of the licensing and marketing division. In her new role, Brandt will continue to oversee worldwide operations for Dr. Seuss Enterprises.
Brandt joined Dr. Seuss Enterprises in 1998 after working at Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, where, among other responsibilities, she ran the Home Office Division for the Asia Pacific region.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, which will be supported with promotions in the summer and fall. Also in September, the animated TV series The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That will debut on PBS.

MEGA Brands Awarded $1.3 Million for 2004 Breach of Contract

According to the New Brunswick Business Journal, MEGA Brands has been awarded $1.3 million by the Quebec Superior Court for breach of contract, following a legal battle with Hong Kong-based supplier, Blue Box International. In 2004, Blue Box agreed to produce several toys for the maker including My Pirate Ship. However, the Chinese supplier was unable to fill orders, which caused MEGA Brands to lose sales during the holiday season. The court also ordered MEGA Brands to pay $420,000 for product that had been delivered in 2005, which brings the total amount the company may recover to $880,000.

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