November 13, 2013

Banner Spielwarenmesse

Major Toy Retailers Welcome Shoppers on Thanksgiving with Black Friday Deals

This Thanksgiving, Toys “R” Us, Target, and Walmart will be open for gift-givers who want a head start on holiday purchases. Toys “R” Us’ nationwide stores will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, and shoppers can plan strategies as early as Sunday, November 24, using the Toys “R” Us Facebook page. Meanwhile, customers can shop the majority of Thanksgiving Weekend deals online at Toysrus.com/BlackFriday beginning on Thanksgiving Day.
Target stores will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day for Black Friday deals. The retailer’s Black Friday sale will take place in stores and at Target.com between Thanksgiving and Saturday, November 30. Meanwhile, Walmart will hold Black Friday events on Thanksgiving Day, as well as on Friday, November 29. Customers in designated lines between 6 and 7 p.m. or 8 and 9 p.m. local time on Thanksgiving Day can purchase certain gifts at special low prices.

Toys “R” Us Unveils New Look for Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com

Toys "R" UsToys “R” Us has redesigned and updated its sites, Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com. The websites have a new design and layout, navigation, and new features. In addition, the sites have introduced social shopping, allowing customers to organize most-wanted items in shareable toy and baby boards, as well as post to social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
New and enhanced features on Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com include Toy and Baby Boards, Savings Center, Gift Finder, and R Live Chat.

Ridemakerz Opens New FAO Schwarz Store on Veterans Day

RidemakerzRidemakerz held the grand opening of its new, 1,300-square-foot store-within-a-store at New York City's FAO Schwarz on November 11. The ceremony began at 9:30 a.m. with a ribbon cutting, and was attended by the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, along with bloggers and media. Guests had the opportunity to build their own Ride, starting with a 1:18-scale body style, and then choosing from detailed, realistic cars including Corvette, Viper, or licensed characters such as Lightning McQueen and Iron Man.
At 10:00 a.m., when the store officially opened to the public, the first 100 customers to arrive before 11:00 a.m. received complimentary Ridez. Meanwhile, in celebration of Veteran's Day, veterans visiting the store received a complimentary baseball cap.
The FAO Schwarz flagship store in New York City is the fifth Ridemakerz interactive retail shop.

Jakks Pacific Launches miWorld Featuring Real Retail Companies

miWorldJakks Pacific Inc. has collaborated with established consumer products and retail companies—including Claire’s, Dairy Queen, and Sprinkles Cupcakes—to launch a new line of mini play environments called miWorld. The first assortment will consist of five sets, which kids can collect and fill with realistic miniatures of food, make-up, candy, accessories, and clothing, creating a mall of their very own.
The miWorld line will feature compatibility with the miWorld DreamPlay app, which brings miWorld playsets to life on iOS smartphone and tablet devices. The app was developed and published by DreamPlay Toys LLC, a joint venture between Jakks Pacific and NantWorks LLC. The miWorld line will be available at Walmart stores in December and at Toys “R” Us and other major retailers next year.

ASTRA Joins Other Indie Trade Associations to Form New Coalition

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) has joined six other organizations to launch the Advocates for Independent Business (AIB), a new coalition of trade associations and other groups dedicated to ensuring that locally owned, independent businesses succeed and thrive.
The coalition, co-founded by ASTRA with the American Booksellers Association, American Independent Business Alliance, Independent Running Retailers Association, National Bicycle Dealers Association, Professional Association of Innkeepers International, and Record Store Day, will reach out to other trade associations in the coming weeks. Membership is open to organizations that primarily represent independent, locally owned businesses. AIB will provide a structure for its member organizations to exchange information about successful programs that deliver value for their members, generate new ideas to support independent businesses, and advocate for shared public policy goals. 

Retail Industry Adds 37,600 Jobs in October

Recently, the National Retail Federation (NRF) issued a statement from NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay and Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz on the October jobs report, which they said provides positive indication that employment is steadily increasing.
NRF calculated retail industry job gains at 37,600 in October, and 295,000 year-over-year, a 2.4 percent increase over the prior year. Job gains were seen in every retail sector with the exception of clothing and clothing stores, which witnessed a contraction of 12,500 positions in September.
In its annual holiday sales and employment forecast, NRF predicted that retailers would see a 3.9 percent increase in sales, and hire an additional 720,000 to 780,000 employees this holiday season.

Cloud b Enforces Intellectual Property Rights Against Counterfeits

Cloud BCloud b has expanded a worldwide campaign to protect its products, including Twilight Turtle and Twilight Ladybug toys and books, from sellers of counterfeits and infringements. Responding to consumer notifications and complaints about the counterfeits, Cloud b has filed formal reports with European and U.S. consumer protection agencies.
So far, the company has concluded numerous settlements with and won lawsuits against the sellers of the infringing products in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. In addition, Cloud b has worked with customs offices worldwide and has had shipments of counterfeits confiscated and destroyed.

TIF Toy Giveaway Benefits 2,000 Kids

On November 8, the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Military Services treated approximately 2,000 kids living with families on Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, to a toy giveaway. They received brand-new toys, games, and stuffed animals, donated by toy companies to TIF’s The Toy Bank.
Playthings were also distributed to kids with family members recovering at the local veteran’s hospital, as well as those in residence at the Fisher House, a temporary housing facility for the families of wounded servicemen and women.
The event was held as part of the joint TIF/BGCA Play Comforts program. 

Toy Industry to Induct Five into Hall of Fame

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) will induct Jill Barad, former chairman and CEO of Mattel; Horst Brandstätter, president of Playmobil/Brandstätter; the late Jack Friedman, former chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Jakks Pacific; and the late co-founders of Wham-O, Arthur “Spud” Melin and Richard Knerr, into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. 
The five were selected for induction in recognition of their significant contributions to the industry, and the impact they have made on the lives of kids through a lifelong commitment to toys and play. They join an impressive roster of 62 toy industry luminaries who have been previously inducted into the Hall since it was established in 1984. Their induction will take place on February 15, in conjunction with the annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards celebration.

New Exhibitor Center Moves to New Hall 3A for Spielwarenmesse 2014

Spielwarenmesse 2014The New Exhibitor Center will move into the newly-built hall 3A for next year’s Spielwarenmesse fair, scheduled for January 29 to February 2. Every year, approximately 60 national and international exhibitors that have never exhibited at Spielwarenmesse before present their products in the New Exhibitor Center. Here, traders find new business contacts and product ideas for all toy segments.
The fair organizer, Spielwarenmesse eG, takes care of stand organization and planning and the relevant marketing of first-time exhibitors in the New Exhibitor Center. Besides complete stand equipment, companies can also take advantage of marketing measures for highlighting their products.
More than 300 manufacturers from the total of around 2,700 exhibitors will exhibit for the first time at Spielwarenmesse 2014.

Easing Kids’ Nighttime Fears One Toy at a Time

It’s 9 p.m.—already well past bedtime—and your little one is still buzzing about the house in his or her favorite footie pajamas, begging to play with just one more toy for just five more minutes. Whether it’s because they are restless, afraid of the dark, or see looming shadows in their room, getting kids down at the end of a long day can be a challenge. While you’d probably like the toy box to stay shut so you can get them off to bed, there are actually some great toys on the market that can assist you in this (often) headache-inducing process. Read more…

Toys to Brave the Chilly Weather

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but it can also start to get very chilly. I know that in New York City, I’m layering my clothes and bundling up, preparing for (an always windy) winter. Fall for kids means back to school and less outdoor play, which can lead to a bummed out little one. Outdoor play is fun because it’s physical—you run faster, the toys fly higher, and of course there’s always the option of shooting water out of most of those toys. But just because the play is moving inside and becoming a little less physical, doesn’t mean it has to be less fun. Read more…

MGA Entertainment Adds Veteran Senior Executives

MGA Entertainment Inc. (MGA) has added three new senior members to its leadership team: Bruce Morrison, executive vice president of sales and licensing; Efren Gonzalez, vice president of advertising and public relations; and Ame Cameron, vice president of marketing.
Morrison will focus on strengthening critical business relationships with MGA's key retailers, licensees, and distribution partners in the U.S. and abroad. He most recently held the position of senior vice president retail sales for Disney Consumer Products (DCP) North America.
Gonzalez joins MGA after 11 years with Ogilvy & Mather, where he was most recently a senior partner and executive group director. He will fuel the creation of integrated programs for each MGA brand.
As vice president of marketing, Cameron will leverage her consumer packaged goods background to infuse strategic business leadership into branding and marketing initiatives across MGA product lines.

VTech Reports 2013 to 2014 Interim Results

On Wednesday, VTech Holdings Ltd. reported higher revenue and profit and an improvement in gross margin for the six months ended September 30. Group revenue for the same period increased by 1.9 percent over the previous year, to $892.4 million. This was primarily due to higher revenue in North America and Asia Pacific, which more than offset lower revenue in other regions.
Profit attributable to shareholders of the company increased by 4.7 percent to $95.2 million. The rise in profit was mainly attributable to higher revenue and an improved gross margin. Basic earnings per share consequently increased by 4.4 percent to 38 cents, compared to 36.4 cents in the corresponding period last year.

Ubisoft Reports First-Half Fiscal Year Results

This past Tuesday, Ubisoft reported results for its first-half fiscal year. Sales came to €293 million, up 5 percent—or 8.2 percent, at constant exchange rates—compared to €279 million for first half of the previous year.
Sales in the second quarter totaled €217 million, versus €148 million in the same period during the prior year, representing an increase of 46.6 percent, or 53.4 percent at constant exchange rates. Second-quarter fiscal year sales were higher than the guidance of around €200 million issued when Ubisoft released its sales figures for the first quarter of the fiscal year.
Ubisoft’s first-half sales performance reflects robust back-catalog sales, which rose 16 percent year-on-year to €113 million. The company is standing by its recently revised targets for the full year; namely, sales of between €995 million and €1,045 million, and a non-IFRS operating loss of between €40 million and €70 million.

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