Toys "R" Us Executives Outline TRU Transformation Strategy
Toys “R” Us Inc. recently outlined a four-point strategy, entitled TRU Transformation, intended to improve the company’s operational performance. At presentations for investors, industry analysts, and the media on Wednesday, Toys “R” Us executives discussed priorities and actions intended to slow the company’s sales decline, stabilize cash flow, and improve EBITDA to effectively position the company to grow revenue and profits next year and beyond.
TRU Transformation will focus on transforming both the in-store and online shopping experience; leveraging business partner relationships in both the U.S. and abroad to drive differentiation in products, events, and services, and create in-store excitement; hiring and retaining talent; and improving operational and financial performance, while positioning Toys “R” Us to capitalize on future growth opportunities.
As part of a renewed assessment of its operations and business structure, a number of opportunities were identified to streamline functions and reduce headcount.
McDonald’s Delivers Skylanders Happy Meals with Exclusive Toys
For the second consecutive year, Activision Publishing and McDonald’s will team up for a Skylanders Happy Meal program. From March 28 to April 24, participating McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. and Puerto Rico will launch a new Skylanders Happy Meal featuring one of eight exclusive toys inspired by Skylanders Swap Force.
Each Happy Meal comes with a toy that has a unique play feature, as well as coupons for $10 off the Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack and $1 off a Skylanders character. The figurines are inspired by fan-favorite Swap Force characters including Chompy, Eruptor, Free Ranger, Freeze Blade, Magna Charge, Prism Break, Rattle Shake, and Wash Buckler.
Hasbro Named as a 2014 World’s Most Ethical Company
Hasbro Inc. has been recognized by the Ethisphere Institute, an independent center of research promoting best practices in corporate ethics and governance, as a 2014 World’s Most Ethical Company.
Scores were generated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program; reputation, leadership, and innovation; governance; corporate citizenship and responsibility; and culture of ethics. It marks the third time that Hasbro has been recognized with this award, which recognizes organizations that continuously raise the bar on ethical leadership and corporate behavior.
Wal-Mart’s Toy Supplier of the Year Award Goes to Spin Master
Wal-Mart chose Spin Master Ltd. as the recipient of its Toy Supplier of the Year award, presented at the company’s annual supplier summit in Orlando, Fla. on March 13.
“We are so honored to have received such great recognition from Wal-Mart,” says Ben Gadbois, global president and chief operating officer of Spin Master Ltd. “Our goal is to collaborate with all of our retail partners to be a world class supplier and deliver high quality and innovative products. Wal-Mart’s Supplier of the Year Award exudes excellence in the business, and we look forward to continuing our work with Wal-Mart for many years to come.”
Contest Lets Fans Decide on House Rules for Future Monopoly Games
Through April 3, the Monopoly Facebook page will host the Great Monopoly House Rules Debate. Fans are encouraged to debate the pros and cons of 10 house rules that were selected as a result of crowd-sourcing fans globally on the Facebook page.
Hasbro will identify the top house rules, and incorporate them into the Monopoly: House Rules Edition game available this fall.
The house rules in the Great Monopoly House Rules Debate include: Free Parking, Fast Cash, in which all taxes and fees will be collected in the middle of the game board, and if a player lands on Free Parking, he or she collects all the money from the middle of the board; Dash for the Cash, in which a player who lands on Go! gets 400 Monopoly dollars instead of 200; the Frozen Assets Rule, in which a player in jail cannot collect rent money from other players; and more.
Spin Master Sues Chinese Manufacturers for Patent and Copyright Infringement
Spin Master Ltd. has filed civil lawsuits against two Chinese manufacturers with the Shantou Intermediate People’s Court. Spin Master seeks to recover damages and enjoin Shantou Chenghai Hui Ying Toy Factory (Hui Ying) and Shantou Chenghai Hua Cai Ke Yi Industry and Trade Co. Ltd. (Hua Cai) from further manufacturing what Spin Master alleges are knock-offs of Spin Master’s Flutterbye Flying Fairy.
The law suits claim infringement of both Spin Master’s registered copyright and utility model patent.
FAO Schwarz Hosts a Rilakkuma Day of Fun
This Saturday, the world of Rilakkuma will take over FAO Schwarz in New York City. Rilakkuma, created by San-X, is one of Japan’s most popular characters, famous for its “bear in relaxed mood” lifestyle of eating, sleeping, and listening to music.
Consumers will have the opportunity to celebrate Rilakkuma Day and interact with a life-size Rilakkuma mascot and branded Lolita girls. There will also be merchandise giveaways while supplies last. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at FAO Schwarz, 767 5th Ave., New York, NY.
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Will Feature New Music and The Hollow
The Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved video game, by Disney Interactive and Harmonix Music Systems, will include new songs from award-winning artists including Lorde and David Bowie. Players can collaborate and choose unique remix paths to discover new melodies and beats in the songs. Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved will be available for the Xbox One and Kinect this year.
The game also features The Hollow, an all-new interactive discovery realm. When users perform songs, they interact with the world to add light, color, and characters to its forest environment.
TIA Urges Resolution to Vancouver Truck Driver Labor Dispute
The Toy Industry Association (TIA) urges a swift resolution to the ongoing truck driver strike at one of Canada’s busiest ports, Port Metro Vancouver. As reported by the TIA, nearly 1,500 unionized and non-unionized container truck drivers have protested for more than three weeks. The protest impacted $126 million worth of goods and the drivers have turned down legislation introduced by the provincial government, seeking a negotiated agreement.
New Zeenie Dollz Animated Web Series Arrives in Time for Earth Day
On April 3, Zeenie Dollz will launch a new animated webisode series introducing its six “eco-warriors”: Zennia, Yana, Evee, Kazumi, Lina, and Sini. The webisodes add to the continued expansion of the brand and offer another educational tool for parents to teach children about both preserving the environment and the power of teamwork.
Created in collaboration with Brandberry, each webisode will be two to three minutes long and take the Zeenies on eco-themed adventures. “A New Addition” will be available both on the Zeenie Dollz website and YouTube channel.
Captain Action Returns to Action, Courtesy of ZICA Toys
Zica Toys and Action Enterprises have teamed up to produce a series of retro, 3.75-inch Captain Action figures, vehicles, and play sets. The first wave of new toys will include Captain Action, Action Boy, Dr. Evil, and the Silver Streak vehicle. They will be on sale internationally late this year.
Safe Kids Day 2014 Planned for Los Angeles, New York City
Safe Kids Day 2014, hosted by Safe Kids Worldwide and sponsored by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), will take place on April 5 in Los Angeles and April 12 in New York City. TIA will provide attendees with free tips, tools, and guidelines for choosing age-appropriate products to play with that will keep kids safe during play.
The bicoastal events will feature games, activities, guest appearances, and an opportunity for families to learn how to stay safe from preventable injuries.
Adora Dolls Collecting Entries for Designed by Kids for Kids Contest
Adora’s new campaign, Designed by Kids for Kids, invites kids to work with the Adora design team to create an outfit for the 18-inch Adora Friends dolls. Young designers can sign up by emailing the Adora Dolls Design Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org, including their name, contact email, age, description of design (200 words or less), inspiration of design (200 words or less), six photos of the design concept or idea, and favorite charity for donation. The submission deadline is March 31.
The Adora Dolls Design Committee will select the top 10 entries and post them on the Adora Dolls Facebook page for voting. The design with the most likes will be produced in the 2015 Adora Doll collection, and a donation will be made in the winning entry to the charity of their choice. Full eligibility information can be found at the Adora website.
TIA Invites Nominations for Member Committees
Members of the Toy Industry Association (TIA) are invited to help set the association’s strategic direction by nominating candidates to serve on TIA’s member-led committees. The newest is the market research and data strategy committee, which identifies meaningful topics to study and business intelligence and data to collect that is relevant to the toy industry.
Full descriptions for committees can be found on the TIA website<< http://www.toyassociation.org/TIA/Membership/committees/Membership/TIA_Committees.aspx?hkey=2fae6b93-569a-473f-b5da-89e065aad202#.UzMZ8Ci-SL9>>. By category, the various committees are divided into: Operations and administration, which includes credit and market research and data strategy committees; advocacy, which includes environmental sustainability, federal government affairs, responsible marketing to children, safety standards and technical, state government affairs, strategic marketing and communications, and the publicity and promotion subcommittee; and events and membership, which includes the membership, PlayCon, Toy Industry Hall of Fame, Toy of the Year, and trade events committees.
Nominations can be submitted, and requests made for more information, at email@example.com or by completing the online form.