HoliDAY of Play 2015

Lego Sees Strong Growth, with Huge Boost from The Lego Movie

LEGO_LogoFirst reported by the Associated Press, first-half sales for Lego were 14.1 billion kroner, or roughly $2.2 billion, up from 11.6 billion kroner one year earlier. Net profit during the same period was up 30 percent to 3.6 billion kroner, or $543 million.

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Border Agents Seize Undeclared Tobacco Amid Load of Toys

As reported by the Associated Press, U.S. border agents found $300,000 worth of loose-leaf tobacco hidden in a truck hauling toys.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said Thursday that agents made the discovery at the Lewiston-Queenston bridge in western New York in December and that the load was formally seized this week.

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Frozen Merchandise Helps Disney to Huge First Quarter

As reported by the Associated Press, The Walt Disney Co.‘s earnings rose 19 percent during the last three months of 2014, boosted by sales of Disney Frozen merchandise, as well as strong results from theme parks and networks such as Disney Channel. Sales of Frozen toys and other merchandise drove a 22 percent jump in consumer products sales to $1.4 billion.

In interviews with analysts and press, CEO Bob Iger pointed out that Frozen isn’t Disney’s only blockbuster franchise. The company has 11 franchises with more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales.

For the last three months of 2014, Disney earned $2.24 billion, while revenue rose 9 percent to $13.39 billion.

New York Attorney General Asks Toy Retailers to Be Extra Vigilant About Safety

The New York attorney general has reminded retailers that they are obligated under state and federal law not to sell toxic toys.

As reported by the Associated Press, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters to 190 retailers. Each letter stated that New York law prohibits the sale, import, and manufacture of children’s products that pose an unreasonable risk of injury, with penalties up to $1,000 per violation.

While federal law requires manufacturers and importers to certify that products comply with children’s product safety rules enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Schneiderman advises retailers to check the CPSC website for product recalls.

He also cites a recent report by Clean & Healthy New York Inc. and the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund Inc. that found some children’s items bought in Albany County contained arsenic, mercury, and lead.

Debit Swipe Fees to be Cut

According to the Associated Press, the Senate voted Wednesday to let the Federal Reserve cut fees that banks charge stores when purchases are made by using a debit card. Senators who did not support the proposal fell six votes short of the 60 that were needed to decline the price cut (a vote of 54-45). Currently, stores are charged 44 cents for every debit card that is swiped, which amounts to more than $16 million annually to banks and credit card companies.

In the suggested revised plan, the Federal Reserve wants to limit charges to 12 cents for every debit card transaction. A final ruling on the issue must be made by July 21.