Toys “R” Us Extends Hours, Offers Last-Minute Deals for the Holidays

toysrus.croppedIn the days leading up to Christmas, Toys “R” Us will offer extended shopping hours at stores nationwide. From December 20 through December 22, stores will remain open from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m., while beginning at 6 a.m. on December 23, and continuing through 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Toys “R” Us stores will be open around the clock.

At Toys “R” Us stores between now and December 20, deals are available on all Barbie dolls, Charmazing kits, Transformers Stomp & Chomp Grimlock, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combos or Blu-ray combo packs with ear buds and masks, Skylanders Trap Team Starter Packs, LeapTV systems, The Lego Movie DVD with Lego construction set, Imaginext toys, and select board games (while supplies last). [Read more...]

Barbie Makes First Heroic Debut in New Movie, Barbie in Princess Power

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment BarbieBarbie will make her first heroic debut in an all-new adventure, Barbie in Princess Power. The movie will be released on Digital HD on February 17, 2015, and on Blue-Ray Combo Pack and DVD March 3, 2015. For a limited time, consumers can get a Super Sparkle Mask with the purchase of the Blue-Ray Combo Pack and DVD.

In the movie, Barbie stars as Kara, a modern-day princess who was kissed by a magical butterfly. Soon after, she discovers she has super powers, allowing her to transform into Super Sparkle, her secret, crime fighting alter ego. Soon after, her jealous cousin captures the butterfly and also transforms, but into the nemesis Dark Sparkle. They realize the power of friendship when they discover the kingdom’s true enemy.

Bonus features include a “Soaring” music video, “Superhero Beat” music video, outtakes, “Anything is Possible” Barbie anthem with the band Fifth Harmony, and Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse episode “Mission Impawsible.”

COMMENTARY: Sibling Rivalries Exist in the Toy World, Too

FrozenproductsA real-life sibling rivalry exists between Disney’s Frozen Elsa and Anna products—with one sister clearly winning. According to a Wall Street Journal article published last month, Disney marketing executives expected the sisters to be equals in popularity. As such, they were caught off-guard by the overwhelming preference for Elsa, who outsells Anna in dolls, toys, costumes, and other items. Disney, in response, makes sure to keep Elsa items in-stock at stores: For example, about 10 percent more Elsa dolls are stocked than Anna ones at Wal-Mart, according to the same Wall Street Journal article.

To help combat the Frozen sibling rivalry, companies are selling dolls with both sisters, and sales data from last holiday season shows that girls want to play with dolls or role-play with costumes featuring both characters. In turn, companies such as Jakks Pacific, as well as retailers like Toys “R” Us, are making and selling products, respectively, that involve the two sisters. [Read more...]

Toys “R” Us to Celebrate 11 Days of Cyber Savings

toysrus.croppedToys “R” Us will be celebrating 11 days of savings at toysrus.com beginning Wednesday and continuing through December 6, the end of Cyber Week. Online shoppers will find daily deals, enhanced services, and free shipping offers during the period of gift shopping.

Toysrus.com will kick off Black Friday shopping on Wednesday night starting at 10 p.m. The website will also offer customers deals in the season’s most sought-after items throughout Cyber Week, with Cyber Monday sales beginning on Sunday, November 30 at 9 p.m.

In addition to daily deals, a three-day Big Brands sale will take place from December 2 through December 4, featuring brands such as Barbie, Fisher-Price, Frozen, Lego, Skylanders, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more. Also, a two-day event from December 5 through December 6 will provide shoppers with bargains on big gift items like dollhouses and powered ride-ons.

Fifth Harmony Barbie Dolls Now Available Nationwide

FifthHarmonyMattel has partnered with The X Factor-winning music group, Fifth Harmony, for a new Barbie Doll line to celebrate a year of girl empowerment. The five dolls reflect the personalities and signature styles of the five group members.

As part of their collaboration, the group recently released Barbie’s new brand anthem “Anything is Possible,” followed by a full-length music video. The dolls are available now at Justice stores nationwide and on www.shopjustice.com, with a worldwide release planned for next spring.

Wal-Mart’s Initial Holiday Offerings Include Discounts on Disney Frozen, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and More

logo-walmartFor its first round of holiday promotions, Wal-Mart has expanded its digital shelves to include 7 million items, which is one million more than last holiday season. Shortly after midnight PT on November 3, deals typically reserved for Black Friday and Cyber Monday will start on walmart.com, and will include discounts on toys and games, such as the Barbie Dreamhouse and Nintendo 2DS.

The retailer will also offer hundreds of weekly online specials on items that include toys and electronics, with same-day pickup at Wal-Mart stores available while supplies last at no additional charge, and free shipping to customers’ homes available for orders totaling $50 or more.

Wal-Mart has rolled out a new feature within its mobile app: Search My Store, through which customers can search for nearly any item carried in a Wal-Mart store and see that item’s availability, its aisle location, ratings, and reviews. Search My Store is available on Android devices and will expand to iPhones by mid-November. [Read more...]

Mattel Reports Third Quarter Financial Results, Including Lower Barbie and Fisher-Price Sales

Mattel_logoLast Thursday, Mattel Inc. reported third quarter financial results, including net income of $331.8 million for the quarter, or $0.97 per share. This includes a negative impact of $0.05 per share from Mega Brands integration costs and a tax benefit of $0.04 per share. This compares to last year’s third quarter net income of $422.8 million, or $1.21 per share, which included a tax benefit of $0.05 per share.

For the quarter, net sales were $2.02 billion, down 8 percent compared to $2.21 billion last year, while on a regional basis, third quarter gross sales decreased 7 percent in the North American region. For the international region, gross sales decreased 7 percent, including an unfavorable impact of currency exchange rates of 1 percentage point. [Read more...]

Thanks to The Lego Movie, Lego Is World’s Largest Toy Maker

LEGO_LogoAs reported by The Wall Street Journal today, Lego is currently the world’s largest toy maker.

Denmark’s Lego A/S said that revenue during the first six months rose 11 percent, boosted by The Lego Movie products. This makes Lego the biggest toy company in the world in terms of both revenue and profit, ahead of Mattel Inc. The jump also puts Lego slightly ahead of Mattel in sales for the first six months of the year.

A sequel to The Lego Movie, The Lego Movie 2, is scheduled for release in 2017, and Warner Bros. has already set the release for the Ninjago movie next year.

The licensing of the movies themselves isn’t a significant element of sales for Lego compared with the sales of movie-related boxes of bricks. Overall first-half sales for Lego rose to 11.5 billion Danish kroner ($2.03 billion) from 10.4 billion kroner in the same period last year, the company said. [Read more...]

NPD Reports Star Wars, Disney Princess among Top-Selling Toy Properties in Six Countries

npd_group_logoThe NPD Group recently released lists of the top five toy properties by country, ranked by value sales for January to June. Across the U.S., the UK, France, Spain, Germany, and Australia, Star Wars is the one property that ranks among the top five properties for each country. In the U.S., the top toy properties are Disney Princess, Barbie, Nerf, Little Tikes, and Star Wars.

Lego ranks in the top five toys for the UK, Australia, and Germany, with both Lego City and Lego Duplo on the short list for Germany. Disney Princess, meanwhile, ranks among the five top-selling toy properties in the U.S., the UK, and Australia.

“The unique cultures of a country lend themselves to unique preferences, and the toy industry is no different,” says Frédérique Tutt, global toy industry analyst with The NPD Group. “However, there are clearly messages and styles of play that resonate with a child, regardless of geography.”

Barbie and the Secret Door Opens into a Magical World

Universal Studios Barbie and the Secret DoorIn Barbie and The Secret Door from Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Barbie stars as Alexa, a shy princess who discovers a secret door in her kingdom and enters a whimsical land filled with magical creatures and surprises. Inside, Alexa meets Romy and Nori, a mermaid and a fairy, respectively, who explain that a spoiled ruler named Malucia is trying to take all the magic in the land. To her surprise, Alexa has magical powers in this world, and her new friends are certain that only she can restore their magic.

With seven original songs and a trifecta of characters, Barbie and The Secret Door will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack including Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD with UltraViolet on September 16.