Toys “R” Us Now Offers International Shipping
Toys “R” Us, Inc., will now offer international shipping for online orders on toysrus.com and babiesrus.com to more than 60 countries across Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, North America, and South America. The company is providing this service to its customers in partnership with i-parcel, a leading international air express company that facilitates global shipping capabilities. With international shipping, the company is extending the presence of Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us, and nearly doubling the number of countries that currently have access to the retailer. Customer inquiries related to specific shipments and deliveries will be handled by i-parcel.
Customers in the U.S. may use the new service when shopping at their local store. With the help of a store associate, shoppers can send packages to relatives and friends around the world.
The Toy Insider Now Available Online and on Newsstands
The Toy Insider, an annual consumer holiday toy guide designed to help readers get a head start on their holiday shopping, is now available both online at www.thetoyinsider.com and on newsstands as a special supplement in the November issue of Woman’s Day magazine, reaching more than 21 million readers in the U.S. Published by Adventure Publishing Group, Inc, the Toy Insider features the hottest holiday toys and gifts for children of all ages and is the essential holiday toy guide for shoppers nationwide.
Jam-packed with more than 100 toy recommendations, the Toy Insider is a convenient and user-friendly guide. Each section—Hot 20, 0-2 years old, 3-5 years old, 6-8 years old and 9+—includes a description of the developmental needs and interests for that specific age group to help readers find the perfect gift. A toy skill key on the Hot 20 page provides a list of icons matched to each toy, offering even greater assistance with age-appropriate gift giving.
The Toy Insider website (www.thetoyinsider.com) features descriptions of more than 130 toys, as well as direct click-through links to most manufacturer websites, which will stay live throughout the holiday season. Consumers also have the opportunity to sign on for a sweepstakes to win a room full of toys.
Nuremberg Toy Fair Theme Focuses on the Next Generation of Toys
Nuremberg Toy Fair organizers have commissioned an international study on the rising trend of digital toys, which mimics the theme of the fair: Toys 3.0—The Next Generation.
The fair will tackle the electronic trend and examine it in an international study. The study researches worldwide consumer and user behavior of so-called digital natives and analyzes the potential of digital toys. The study is supported by market researcher iconkids & youth.
On February 2, Axel Dammler, managing partner of iconkids & youth, will present the results of the study. U.S. trend expert Reyne Rice will discuss the fusion of traditional toys with digital play and the direction that traders and manufacturers may head in when developing new products.
The Toy Business Forum will take place in the InnovationCenter (hall four) daily, and admission will be free. The Toy Fair Special Toys 3.0—The Next Generation is located at the central entrance and will present iToys, toys with digital and electronic components, and virtual play worlds.
International Toy Fair will held January 31 to February 4.
Target Will Match Online Competitor Prices
For the first time, Target will offer its customers the ability to match select online competitors’ prices in its stores between November 1 and December 16. Qualifying online retailers include Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, and Toysrus.com.
Additionally, Target has extended the timeframe for its Price Match Policy for the holiday season, and new this year, the policy includes Target.com. If a guest purchases a qualifying item at Target stores between November 1 and December 24, and then finds it for less at Target.com or in a local competitor’s printed ad, Target will match that price. For more information, including terms and conditions, visit Target.com/morereasons beginning October 22.
Lego and Nickelodeon to Create TMNT Construction Toys
The Lego Group will expand its global partnership with Nickelodeon to develop construction toys inspired by the recently launched CG-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television series. The collection is slated to launch in North America and the UK in January and will roll out to global markets later in the year.
Lego will bring Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to life with a series of vehicles, scenes drawn from the TV series, and Lego minifigures. One play set and select minifigures from the forthcoming line were unveiled at New York Comic Con last weekend.
Topps Relaunches Garbage Pail Kids
Topps has launched a new collection of Garbage Pail Kids, now available nationwide. The new collection is reminiscent of the original 1980s collection and it is the first new series launched since 2007. To celebrate, fans can enter a national sweepstakes where five winners will be transformed into Garbage Pail Kids characters in a future series.
The new series includes hand-painted characters printed on the well-known trading card stickers. Remaining true to the original series of Garbage Pail Kids, the new characters include clever puns, witty parodies, and exaggerated interpretations of childhood fears come to life.
Each package includes a selection of cards from the set, which features 110 new character cards and a series of 30 exclusive cards including Motion, Mix ’n Match, and Adam Mania. The set also features rare cards for collectors including color parallels, sketch cards, printing plates, and bonus cards.
For more information, visit the official Facebook page at facebook.com/GarbagePailKids.
StinkyKids Signs ICM Partners as Exclusive Agent
StinkyKids LLC has appointed ICM Partners as its exclusive agent in support of the StinkyKids brand and characters. ICM will also promote Britt Menzies, the award-winning children’s author and creator of StinkyKids.
StinkyKids is a children’s property that centers around 10 diverse characters, each with their own personality, who help kids make right choices and live by the motto, “Always be a leader of good.” Each adventure captures the innocence of childhood and the lessons learned from mistakes.
StinkyKids is working with ICM and Jarrett Creative to develop and produce an animated series based on the StinkyKids books. The series, designed for early grade school kids, includes content for broadcast and digital distribution across multiple channels worldwide.
ICM is focusing on building on StinkyKids existing licensing and publishing programs, which will be complemented by additional licensing and marketing partners. Current products include storybooks, dolls, and bikes. In addition, StinkyKids debuted as a musical this spring to sold out crowds and was awarded the 2012 Best Family Show from the Off-Broadway Alliance. StinkyKids The Musical is now partnered with Theatrical Rights Worldwide, making it available for worldwide publication and professional and amateur licensing.
Beanstalk to Expand Doodle Jump Products in the UK
International brand licensing agency Beanstalk has partnered with games developer Lima Sky for exclusive UK representation of its global app, Doodle Jump.
Recognized by Apple as the third all-time top paid app this March, Doodle Jump has remained in the Top 25 Paid Apps for over two years. With millions of game downloads on more than 2,700 mobile devices worldwide, Doodle Jump has established itself as a modern classic in the mobile app space.
Having secured global robotic and soft toy segment leaders, with Innovation First Labs and Gund as master toy partners, Lima Sky has appointed Beanstalk to support Doodle Jump’s expansion into licensed products in the UK, including apparel, accessories, and publishing.
Rainbow Secures Licensing Partners for PopPixie and Winx Club
Rainbow has secured a licensing partnership with Jakks Pacific, Inc., for toy rights to PopPixie. Jakks Pacific will manufacture, distribute, and market a line of toys based on the animated series. The agreement with Jakks Pacific covers all English-speaking territories with a planned launch of PopPixie consumer products including dolls, figurines, dress sets, and plush at retail in spring 2014.
PopPixie is already broadcasting in more than 25 countries in Europe. It has a target age range of 5 to 9. PopPixie is a comedy-adventure set in a fantastic dimension called Pixieville, inhabited by a group of inseparable friends. The Pixies are caring, cheerful, courageous, and spunky, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
In addition, Rainbow has signed a host of new licensing agents for its Winx Club property, extending its number of licensees further across Europe and through the Far East and Middle Eastern markets. New licensees include CPLG for Germany and Benelux; RBW for Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand; Tuesday (Bates Group) for Indonesia; License2Brand in Greece; and FWD Licensing in UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Oman, Saudi-Arabia, Tunisi, and Morocco.
Tomy to Launch Chuggington Stack Track System in UK and Europe
Tomy and Ludorum will launch the Chuggington Stack Track system, an innovative addition to the Chuggington Die-Cast Railway, in the UK and Europe. The new range will appear on retail shelves next year.
The new Chuggington Stack Track system was launched in the U.S. market in August, backed by a major television advertising campaign. The range includes several different play sets including the Chuggington Die-Cast Railway Koko’s Old Town Tour Play Set and the Chuggington Die-Cast Railway Koko’s Icy Escapade Play Set.
Kids can build spiraling track layouts with this track system, which has been engineered for stability and durability. Every play set in the Chuggington Die-Cast Railway can be built multiple ways, encouraging creativity, construct, and play.
Tomy’s Chuggington Die-Cast Railway is based on Ludorum’s animated series and inspired by Chuggington’s modern characters and adventures.
Record-Setting Halloween Sales Expected This Year
Americans are expected to be more liberal with holiday purchases this year, especially for Halloween. According to industry research firm IBISWorld, Halloween spending is expected to increase 10.7 percent from last year to reach a record-setting $8 billion, as more consumers participate in festivities and purchase small-ticket items such as home decorations and candy. Larger budgets will allow consumers to spend more on store-bought, ready-made costumes, rather than do-it-yourself alternatives that were popular during the recession.
Halloween spending has increased every year since its low of $5 billion in 2009, which was a massive 18.5 percent decline from 2008, according to IBISWorld. Halloween spending fully recovered last year when it surpassed the 2008 peak of $6.1 billion.
Costumes make up the largest proportion of Halloween spending at 35.8 percent, representing a 12.2 percent increase to $2.9 billion last year. This year’s anticipated costumes include Captain America, Batman, and other characters from recent blockbuster movies, and possibly even President Obama or Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
Revenue for the decorations segment is anticipated to grow the fastest, jumping 23.7 percent this year to total $2.4 billion.
Consumer Spending Surged in September, According to NRF
September retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted from August, and 2.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation.
September retail sales, released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 1.1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 5.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
American International Toy Fair Grabs Gold
The Toy Industry Association (TIA) has received top honors for its American International Toy Fair, according to a TIA news release. The award recognizes Toy Fair's position as the largest and most important toy and youth product exhibition in the Western hemisphere and acknowledges the event's innovative uses of social media.
At the Trade Show Executive Gold 100 Summit & Awards in Washington, D.C., Toy Fair was honored as a Gold 100 trade show, jumping three spots to No. 41 on Trade Show Executive Magazine's Gold 100 List of Shows that Set the Gold Standard.
The ranking indicates that Toy Fair 2011 was the 41st largest industry trade show in North America based on 2011 net square footage of exhibit space. Since the Gold 100 List's debut in 2008, the show has climbed 23 spots from its 2008 ranking of 64th place.
Toy Fair also received the coveted Gold Grand Award for Best Use of Social Media for its original Play Happens game, created by the Toy Fair team to transform New York City into a virtual game board and to reward Toy Fair exhibitors and attendees with prizes for their online engagement before, during, and after the show.