Walmart Matches Competitors’ Black Friday Deals One Week Early
Holiday shoppers can start shopping for deals at Walmart before Black Friday. At 8 a.m. on November 22, the retailer will start a pre-Black Friday savings event in stores and online, lowering prices on popular toys and electronics to match select Black Friday offers from Target, Toys “R” Us, and Best Buy one week early. Toys and electronics that are part of Walmart’s pre-Black Friday event include LeapPad 2, Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, and Skylanders and Infinity starter packs.
Walmart’s official Black Friday events will take place at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and 8 a.m. on November 29.
Hazardous Toy Dolls Seized at U.S. Ports
On Tuesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigators seized more than 200,000 toy dolls arriving from China due to high levels of phthalates. A total of 10 shipments valued at nearly $500,000 were seized at ports around the country.
The Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC) targeted the shipments, due to the potential of containing items prohibited in the U.S. and presenting a safety threat to children. They were flagged as high risk after CTAC identified key commonalities in the hazardous products.
CPSC compliance investigators are assigned to several major ports across the country, and work side-by-side with the CBP to examine shipments of potentially unsafe imported consumer products.
ASTRA Sells Out Exhibit Hall for 2014 Marketplace & Academy
The exhibit space for the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA) 2014 Marketplace & Academy in Phoenix, Arizona, has sold out months in advance of the event. The exhibit hall will be the biggest ever for ASTRA, and will feature more than 80 first-time ASTRA exhibitors.
ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy will be held in Phoenix from June 8 to 11. More information is available at www.astramarketplace.org or by calling 1 (800) 591-0490. Registration opens in January.
Women in Toys and Walmart to Collaborate at Toy Fair 2014
Women in Toys (WIT) and Walmart will once again collaborate to help women-owned businesses pitch children’s products and brands to Walmart buyers at the 111th American International Toy Fair in February 2014.
Scheduled for February 18, the Second Annual WIT-Walmart Women’s Global Economic Empowerment Initiative will kick off with a morning panel discussion featuring Raquel Taylor and Kelly Deimel of Bobo Buddy. Immediately following the panel presentation, by-appointment-only pitch meetings between women-owned toy companies and Walmart buyers will take place in Room 1C01 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
Companies that would like to apply for Walmart pitch meetings must complete the online application form by December 30. Accepted applicants will be notified by February 1. For more information, contact Patti Becker at PBecker@BeckerAssoc.com and (203) 321-6813.
Icing Introduces Exclusive Monopoly-Inspired Collection
Icing has teamed up with Hasbro to design a capsule collection of jewelry and accessories inspired by Hasbro’s popular Monopoly game. This exclusive collection is designed in metallic gold and bedazzled jewels, featuring chain link, beading, and glitter details on pieces including a charm bracelet, stud earrings, and more.
To celebrate, Icing is also launching an Instagram “Glam Game” promotional sweepstakes in which fans are encouraged to snap and upload photos of themselves. The grand prize is a seven-day cruise for two on Carnival Cruise Lines. Official “Glam Game” sweepstakes rules can be found on Facebook.
A Squared Entertainment and Genius Brands International to Merge
Genius Brands International Inc. and A Squared Entertainment LLC are merging to form an intellectual property (IP) and multimedia content creation and distribution company focused on branded content with a purpose for kids. The assets of both companies will be consolidated under the Genius Brands International banner.
In addition to producing original content with subject matter experts, the company will develop interactive digital entertainment in all formats, including broadcast, online, mobile, tablets, and more.
Safari Ltd. Is Official TIF Toy Bank Sponsor
Safari Ltd. has been named the official sponsor of Toy Industry Foundation’s (TIF) The Toy Bank for 2014. Its sponsorship includes a $10,000 donation in support of TIF’s mission to bring joy, comfort, and learning to kids in need.
Earlier this month, Safari committed to donating up to 2,500 toys, to be distributed to children in need throughout the upcoming holiday season. The Toy Bank collects millions of toys from generous companies and distributes them to thousands of children’s charities nationwide.
Little Pim Partners with VTech for Foreign Language Content
Little Pim has partnered with VTech for the Little Pim foreign language video series for preschoolers. The series will be available for the InnoTab Learning Tablet range starting December 1 in VTech’s Learning Lodge app store, which is home to educator-approved downloadable content and curriculum.
The Little Pim videos help kids learn 360 words and phrases in a second language. The videos will be offered in English, Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, and German.
Toy Business Forum Brings Knowledge to Spielwarenmesse eG
The Toy Business Forum offers extra knowledge for exhibitors and visitors at Spielwarenmesse eG. At the forum, scheduled for January 29 to February 3, experts will speak on the latest toy trends as well as unusual marketing tools.
Christian Blümelhuber, professor at the Berlin University of the Arts, will tackle the subject of future management, while toy specialist Reyne Rice will reveal the latest developments in the international toy market. Andreas Haderlein will discuss what strategies tomorrow’s shops should adopt.
The presentations will be given in German and English. A detailed overview of topics is available at www.toyfair.de/toybusinessforum.