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The Toy Insider Predicts Toys to Top Kids' Wish Lists with Expert 2017 Hot Holiday Toy Picks

The Toy Insider, one of the toy industry's most influential organizations and a trusted go-to resource for parents and gift-givers, today unveiled its expert picks for the best kids' toys and tech in its 12th annual holiday gift guide. The hottest and most coveted items for 2017 are broken out into three lists: the Hot 20 (the most wished-for items of the year), Top Tech 12 (featuring AI, AR, VR and other cutting-edge technologies), and STEM 10 (science, technology, engineering and math toys that make learning fun).
 
These hand-picked 42 items represent an incredible assortment of must-have collectibles, interactive toys, traditional playthings, and tech-infused robots and drones, among many more categories that are sure to make kids of all ages jump for joy this holiday season. Read more…

Ravensburger Acquires ThinkFun

Ravensburger AG acquired ThinkFun, broadening the company's portfolio of brands. ThinkFun joins Wonder Forge, acquired in 2012, and BRIO, acquired in 2015, as the newest company under the recently established Ravensburger North America division. Read more…

Zuru, Tangle Creations Partner to Relaunch Tangle Toys

Zuru partnered with Tangle Creations to relaunch inventor and sculptor Richard Zawitz’ Tangle toys. The new line is available now at major retailers in the U.S. and a marketing campaign will roll out next month.
 
Tangles feature interconnecting links on a 90-degree curve that click together and pivot at each joint to form twisty creations. Tangles can be used as puzzles, fidget toys, movable sculptures, and more. Tangle toys originally launched in 1981 by Richard Zawitz, with more than 120 million Tangle units sold in over 40 countries to date.
 
Zuru’s full range of product will include Tangle links in an assortment of colors with a wide variety of different patterns and textures.

3Doodler, Cartoon Network Partner for Powerpuff Yourself Kits

3Doodler partnered with Cartoon Network for its 3Doodler Start Powerpuff Yourself Pen Set and Activity Kit. The kit features a special-edition 3Doodler Start Pen, new themed DoodleMolds, DoodleBlocks, and a new plastic color palette for kids to create their own Powerpuff adventures.
 
The 3Doodler Start Powerpuff Yourself Pen Set and Activity Kit will be available at amazon.com and the3Doodler.com. Each 3Doodler Start Powerpuff Yourself Pen Set includes a Special Edition Black Sparkle 3Doodler Start x The Powerpuff Girls 3D Printing Pen, four packs of 3Doodler Start Plastic in 12 colors, a Powerpuff Head DoodleMold, four DoodleBlocks, a Powerpuff Yourself activity guide, and a Micro USB Charging Cable. Each 3Doodler Start Powerpuff Yourself Activity Kit contains two packs of 3Doodler Start Plastic in eight colors, a Powerpuff Head DoodleMold, four DoodleBlocks, and a Powerpuff Yourself activity guide.

Moose Toys Launches Pikmi Pops

Moose Toys launched Pikmi Pops, its newest collectible toy.
 
Pikmi Pops come with a plush character, an assortment of surprises including stickers and charms, and a message of encouragement, which are all delivered inside a lollipop package. Each character also comes with a hang loop and a lanyard. Videos featuring Pikimi Pops have already amassed millions of views on YouTube.
 
To celebrate the new collectible, Moose invited four-time Gold Medalist and three-time All-Around World Gymnastics Champion, Simone Biles, to surprise her fans with Pikmi Pops surprises and sweet messages. Simone enlisted her fans to share their own personal messages to spread encouragement and friendship inspired by the sweetness of Pikmi Pops. The surprises will be featured on YouTube starting next week until October 5.

K'NEX Reintroduces Kid K'NEX Building Line

K'NEX brought back its Kid K'NEX building line for kids ages 3 and up. The line is designed to get kids' imaginations active with colorful, kid-friendly, made-in-the-USA rods, connectors, and blocks. Each set comes with building ideas or kids can come up with their own designs. The sets also aid with growing key developmental abilities such as fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity.
 
The 2017 product line includes Blinkin' Buddies, Stretchin' Friends, Flyin' Pals, Zoo Friends, Zoomin' Rides, Ocean Buddies, Oodles of Pals, and Budding Builders.

Elemental Path Launches STEMosaur

Elemental Path launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to support its newest product in the CogniToys family, STEMosaur. The STEMosaur is a customizable toy that doubles as a learning companion for children, with a more hands-on approach featuring science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) elements, as well as lessons in coding. The Indiegogo campaign aims to raise $25,000 in 45 days. Read more…

Mega Show Comes to Hong Kong in October

Mega Show Part 1 will take place from Oct. 20 to 23 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. The Asian Toys and Games Show, an umbrella event under Mega Show, will feature more than 200 Asian- and internationally based suppliers presenting traditional toys, gadgets, and games. Read more…

Toys "R" Us Receives Court Approval of First Day Motions to Support Business Operations

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted either final or interim approval for all of Toys "R" Us Inc.'s first day motions related to its Chapter 11 restructuring. Collectively, the orders granted by the Court at a hearing on Sept. 19 will help ensure that the company continues normal business operations throughout the financial restructuring process. Read more…

Retail Sales Down Slightly in August from July But Up Over 2016, NRF Reports

Retail sales in August decreased 0.2 percent from July on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the National Retail Federation. August sales increased 3.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants. Year-over-year growth was up 3.4 percent on a three-month moving average.

In addition, the NRF reports that Halloween spending in the U.S. will reach a record $9.1 billion. The figure is up 8.3 percent from last year’s previous record of $8.4 billion. Read more...

NPD Reports August 2017 Video Game Sales

Total industry spending for video game hardware, software, and accessories from July 30 to Aug. 26, 2017 declined 2 percent to $568 million compared to last year, according to analysis from The NPD Group.
 
Video games hardware sales compared to the same period last year decreased 6 percent from $179 million last year to $168 million this year; video games software decreased 2 percent from $276 million last year to $271 million this year; and video games accessories increased 10 percent from $108 million last year to $118 million this year.
 
The top 10 games for the period based on dollar sales in August across all platforms are Madden NFL 18, Grand Theft Auto V, Unchartered: The Lost Legacy, Splatoon 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Seige, Mario Kart 8, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, and Overwatch.

Alpha Group Launches Latin American Operations

Following launches of subsidiaries in North America, France, the UK, and Canada, Alpha Group appointed Jose Antonio Espinoza to head the launch of Latin American operations.
 
"One of the integral pillars of our growth strategy is international expansion through the establishment of Alpha subsidiaries in key markets," says Jean-Christophe Pean, president of Alpha Group U.S. & Europe. "Having successfully worked for some of the top toy companies in the world—Mattel, Kreisel, and MGA—Jose Antonio brings unparalleled expertise to the role."
 
Alpha will showcase its new 2018 product lines at its Los Angeles showroom in September and Hong Kong in October.

September 21, 2017
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