December 19, 2013

China Toy Fair

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NPD Group: Cyber Monday Week Toy Sales Are Strong, Up from Last Year

Retail dollar sales for the toy category were up 23 percent for the Cyber Monday week compared to the same period last year. For the combined Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks, NPD reports that toy sales were up 12 percent on a dollar basis compared to the previous year. These sales trends include both online and brick-and-mortar channels.
The NPD Group noted that all 11 super categories it tracks in the toy sector experienced positive dollar sales growth during the period covering Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks. Those with the highest growth—with their respective change in dollar sales compared with Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks last year—include plush at 34 percent, youth electronics at 32 percent, arts and crafts at 26 percent, and outdoor and sports at 18 percent. These results reflect brick-and-mortar and online sales combined.

Senators Introduce National Toy Week Resolution

As reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR) and John Boozman (R-AR) are sponsoring a bi-partisan resolution to designate December 22 to 28 as National Toy Week in recognition of the value of toys and play. The resolution, introduced in the Senate this week, encourages people to observe by coming together to play with toys and games.
“Toys play an important role in a child’s growth and serve as a resource for teaching and development, while being fun,” Boozman said.
The resolution also recognizes the toy industry’s importance for the national economy, noting that it supports over 600,000 full-time jobs and had an economic impact of more than $75 billion this past year. For the resolution to pass, it only needs approval from the Senate.
“The toy industry is a huge economic engine for our country,” Pryor said. “National Toy Week recognizes that toys enrich the lives of our kids and contribute to our nation’s economic growth.”

Toys "R" Us Stores Nationwide to Remain Open 87 Hours Ahead of Christmas

With Christmas a week away, Toys “R” Us stores nationwide will remain open 87 consecutive hours for last-minute shoppers. Beginning 6 a.m. on December 21, and continuing through 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve, gift-givers can shop day and night for toys.
Meanwhile, Toys “R” Us Times Square opened its doors at 8 a.m. on Sunday, December 1 and is keeping them open through 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, providing New Yorkers and visitors alike with 566 hours to shop around the clock—the store’s most-ever uninterrupted shopping hours.

EU Toy Safety Standards Updated

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) reports that on December 2, the European Commission (EC) published a revised “Guidance Document on Technical Documentation” to help manufacturers and importers of toys in the EU demonstrate compliance with requirements of the EU Toy Safety Directive (TSD).
Revisions include a model letter that toy companies can use to remind suppliers about the need to provide a list of materials, chemicals, and components, as well as a model sub-declaration for suppliers to obtain a guarantee that the supplied parts and components have been assessed and comply with appropriate toy safety requirements. The updated guidance document can be viewed at the EC’s website.
The EC also amended restrictions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to include limits for allowable PAHs in rubber and plastic articles with prolonged skin or mouth contact. The new regulation goes into effect in two years.

Google’s Zeitgeist Reveals Top 10 Trending Toy Searches

Google has released its annual Zeitgeist, listing the people, places, and topics that got people talking—and ultimately searching—this past year. The top 10 trending toy searches were Pokémon, Play-Doh, Digimon Fusion, Minecraft Toys, Minions, Palace Pets, Paw Patrol, Pacific Rim toys, My Little Pony, and Disney Planes.
The Zeitgeist site provides more than 1,000 top 10 lists of popular and trending searches from 72 countries, making it the most comprehensive list to date.

New SeaWorld-Inspired Products Debuting for the Holidays

Monopoly: SeaWorldHoliday gifts inspired by SeaWorld are making their debut this season. The park's iconic marine animals, which include penguins and polar bears, will be featured in new toys such as Monopoly: SeaWorld Wildlife Conservation Edition, a version of the board game that rewards players who invest in the animals’ natural habitats.
Changes to the original game include “SeaWorld Cares” and “SeaWorld Rescue” in place of Chance and Community cards, while the game’s houses and hotels have been transformed into animal research and rescue facilities.
Other SeaWorld-inspired products include plush animals, which are part of Happy Plaid Accessories, a kid-friendly line featuring park-exclusive animal patterns. These and all other items are available at SeaWorld’s three parks and at<<>>.

Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Licensing Program to Include Toys

GhostbustersWith Ghostbusters celebrating its 30th anniversary next year, Sony Pictures Consumer Products (SPCP) is launching an all-new program in categories such as toys, apparel, construction, collectibles, and publishing.
The global toy licensees supporting the anniversary include Diamond Select, Mattel Inc., World Tech Toys, and Factory Entertainment. Funko and Underground Toys will produce collectibles and novelty products.



FS USA Announces Its New Name Is MegaFun USA

Fabricas Selectas USA, a manufacturer of glass toy marbles, wood marble games, and other toys, officially becomes MegaFun USA, effective next year. The ownership has not changed, but the new name is viewed as better representing the company’s product line and services. MegaFun USA will exhibit its new FunTime Inflation Station and Inflate-A-Balls at next year’s American International Toy Fair in New York City.

Play-Doh Celebrates a Year in Play-Doh Moments

Play-DohTo celebrate an eventful year, Hasbro Inc. and Play-Doh have created 10 sculptures out of Play-Doh compound as part of A Year in Play-Doh Moments. Some of the sculptures include the Boston Red Sox’s big World Series win—and unique players’ beards—this past October, the new foodie phenomenon cronuts, baby George joining the royal family, and the Super Bowl power outage in February. All 10 sculptures can be viewed at Play-Doh’s Facebook page.

Life-Size Plush Seems Like the Real Deal

Everything seems bigger when you’re a kid. Rooms, yards, playground equipment—it all just seemed so much larger back then. Revisiting childhood places and beloved toys of yesteryear can often be as amusing as it is perplexing, when making the comparison between how you perceived the same thing as a child versus now as an adult. I think that’s one of the things that makes childhood so special: It’s a finite amount of time to see the world from below and feel tiny. One of my great desires as a kid was to have a life-sized stuffed animal. Not a life-sized cat, bird, or bunny. I’m talking a life-sized elephant, lion, bear, camel—something enormous. Read more…

So Long Spice GirlsIntroducing The Beatrix Girls

There were the Dixie Chicks, the Spice Girls, and even The Pussy Cat Dolls. But now, there’s an all-new girls’ band with its sight set on taking over the world—The Beatrix Girls. If you haven’t heard of this 12-inch fashion doll phenomenon (similar to the likes of Monster High dolls and Barbie), it’s a line of collectible pop star dolls that create, sing, and play their own original music. Read more…

Monkeez (and Others) Help Kids Make a Difference

It’s the season of toys and giving, as the holidays are quickly approaching. December’s cheerful spirit is evident throughout the city, on social media, and in toy stores worldwide. Christmas lights are hanging everywhere, department stores are adorned with pops of red and green, and children are on their best behavior, hoping to fall on the right side of the naughty-or-nice list. Santa is taking last-minute requests from children who will surely receive their prizes for being good girls and boys all year long. Read more…

The Party Animal Inc. Adds Vice President of New Business Development

Ken Tinner has joined The Party Animal Inc.’s executive team. He will serve as the company’s vice president of new business development, and will oversee sales, strategic planning, and retail marketing for licensed toys and décor. The addition is timed to support Party Animal’s rapid growth in the U.S. toy market.
Most recently, Ken served as vice president of sales and marketing at Mag-Nif, and previously held a similar role at The Step2 Company. He has a strong background in sales and brand management, with more than 17 years of experience in the toy industry.

Toys “R” Us Inc. Reports Third Quarter Financial Results

On Tuesday, Toys “R” Us Inc. reported financial results for the third quarter ended November 2. Comparable store net sales were down 5.2 percent in the domestic segment, primarily resulting from decreases in the learning, juvenile (including baby), and core toy categories, and the impact of the shifted timing in the release of this year’s Big Book promotional catalog versus last year.
Comparable store net sales were down 3 percent in the international segment—an improvement over both the first and second quarters. This was primarily due to decreases in the juvenile, entertainment (including electronics, video game hardware, and software), and seasonal categories. 
Net sales were $2.5 billion, a decrease of $118 million, or 4.5 percent versus the prior year. Excluding the impact of foreign currency translation, which decreased net sales by $78 million, the company experienced a decline of $40 million, primarily the result of a decrease in comparable store net sales, partially offset by an increase in net sales from new locations.

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