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U.S. Toy Industry Grows 5 Percent in 2016, NPD Reports

U.S. toy sales grew 5 percent last year, reaching $20.4 billion, according to retail sales data from The NPD Group. The industry was 16 percent larger in 2016 than last year, calculating a compounded annual growth rate of 5 percent.
 
Collectibles was a top contributor to the industry’s growth last year, with sales growing 33 percent, or $432 million, to reach $1.8 billion and representing 9 percent of total toy industry dollars. Sales of blind packs grew 60 percent for the year, and since 2013 sales have grown more than six-fold. Read more…

Jakks Pacific Enters Licensing Agreements with Cra-Z-Art, Morf, and More

Jakks Pacific Inc. signed a manufacturing and distribution agreement with Cra-Z-Art, a division of LaRose Industries LLC, for its BloPens brand of products.
 
The multi-year distribution agreement allows Cra-Z-Art to market, sell, and distribute the branded line of craft and activity airbrushed markers in the U.S. and Latin America. Cra-Z-Art BloPens products will be available this fall. Read more…

ChizComm Launches Second Annual Toy Fair Contest

ChizComm Ltd. returns to the North American International Toy Fair in New York City with a promotion to win one month of free public relations, communications, and marketing services.
 
To enter, participants must submit a photo or video of their “office frat” on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #PledgeChizComm and tagging @ChizComm for a chance to win. In the spirit of the toy industry, the only requirement is to showcase the work fraternity in a fun and creative way.
 
Click here to see the Chiz House anthem for more details.

Amazon.com Launches STEM Club

Amazon.com launched its STEM Club, a monthly subscription program that delivers hand-picked STEM toys. Every month, subscribers will receive one age-appropriate STEM Club toy designed to encourage kids to learn through play. All curated toys are either recently launched on Amazon.com or exclusive to Amazon.
 
Amazon.com customers can select their preferred age range (3 to 4, 5 to 7, or 8 to 13) when they sign up for the STEM Club. Products will feature robotics, natural sciences, and more, and will always ship for free. 

Spielwarenmesse Kicks Off Next Week

The 68th Spielwarenmesse trade show in Germany will take place starting next week from Feb. 1 to 6. The fair expects more than 70,000 trade buyers from 120 countries. A record-breaking 2,871 companies will exhibit at the show, showcasing more than 75,000 products total.
 
Spielwarenmesse will feature the Tech2Play Promotion Area, featuring technological toys in the electronic pets, robot toys, R/C drones, virtual play, and 3-D printing categories. The new Special Area for Baby & Infant Articles will feature a range of products including baby toys, baby textile, travel systems, care and food, home and safety, and licensed articles. Read more…

TIF to Host Toy Drive at Toy Fair

The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) will host its largest toy drive of the year at the North American International Toy Fair in New York City. Exhibitors are welcome to donate playthings when the marketplace closes at 4 p.m. on Feb. 21.
 
As the official charity of Toy Fair, the TIF and its team of Toy Bank volunteers will collect puzzles, plush, arts and crafts, dolls, action figures, and other toys. The donated toys will be sent to kids’ charities in the New York tri-state area, serving kids who are impoverished, neglected, sick, or in need.
 
Last year, the foundation collected more than 50,000 donated toys and games valued at more than half a million dollars.

Mattel Launches #DadsWhoPlayBarbie Campaign

Mattel Inc. launched a new articulation of the Barbie “You Can Be Anything” campaign today. The new spots, featuring dads and their daughters playing Barbie, is a follow up to the award-winning “Imagine the Possibilities” work celebrating a girl’s journey to self-discovery while playing with Barbies. Read more…

The Powerpuff Girls Toy Line Launches in the UK

The revival of Cartoon Network’s franchise The Powerpuff Girls made a debut across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) last April. As London Toy Fair prepares to open its doors, Cartoon Network detailed the UK launch plans for the new The Powerpuff Girls range from global toy partner Spin Master. Read more…

Kids Preferred Launches New Line of Fisher-Price Developmental Toys

This spring, Kids Preferred will launch a new line of Fisher-Price developmental toys for infants and toddlers. The range for boys and girls is based on the brand’s rainforest animal characters with age-appropriate developmental features. The new line of toys are colorful and made for small hands. The range consists of toys that are easy to clean, durable, and portable for parents, including wrist rattles and teethers.

China Toy and Kids Expo 2016 Issues a Challenge to International Brands

The China Kids and Toy Expo, held from Oct. 19 to 21, 2016 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center, set new benchmarks in terms of visitors and international participation. The show had 65,467 attendees from 130 countries and regions, and nearly 500 international brands from 20 countries and regions (up 30 percent compared to the year prior). Read more…

Carla Hassan Joins Toys “R” Us as Chief Marketing Officer

PepsiCo veteran Carla Hassan will join Toys “R” Us as executive vice president, global chief marketing officer, effective Feb. 20. She will report directly to Chairman and CEO Dave Brandon. Read more…

Mattel Reports Full Year and Q4 Financial Results

Mattel Inc. reported full year and fourth quarter 2016 financial results.
 
For the year, reported worldwide net sales were down 4 percent as reported, and were down 2 percent in constant currency, versus the prior year. Worldwide gross sales were down 3 percent as reported, and were flat in constant currency. Reported operating income was $519.2 million, and adjusted operating income was $560.8 million.
 
For the fourth quarter of 2016, net sales were down 8 percent as reported, and were down 6 percent in constant currency, versus the prior year. Worldwide gross sales were down 5 percent as reported, and were down 1 percent in constant currency. Reported operating income was $262.6 million, and adjusted operating income was $269.2 million. Read more…

NPD Reports December 2016 Video Game Sales

Total industry spending for video game hardware, full game software, and accessories from Nov. 27 to Dec. 31, 2016 declined 15 percent to $2.8 billion, with declines in spending across all categories, according to analysis from The NPD Group. Read more…

January 26, 2017
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