Mattel Launches New Direct-to-Consumer Strategy for Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway

Thomas_Hero_CGI_ApprovedMattel is bringing a new shopping experience to Thomas & Friends fans nationwide, through a cross-company collaboration that began this month. Anchored by the Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway product line, the new experience includes the first ever Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway direct-to-consumer catalogue, e-commerce website, and partnerships with 20 independent specialty retail stores, which will serve as official Thomas & Friends Specialty Stations in the U.S.

Thomas & Friends will also introduce a limited-release wooden engine, Logan, a Shunter that works at the coal plant, and is only available in the U.S. through the new catalogue, e-commerce website, and official specialty stations. Logan will also be the first of a series of limited-release engines to be introduced by the new program annually.

The e-commerce website, thomaswoodenrailway.com, launches in August, and the Logan wooden engine will be available through December 31 of next year.

In addition, moving forward, Toys “R” Us will become the exclusive national chain retailer of Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway.

OYO Sports to Develop Innovative E-Commerce Company

OYOSports.DavidOrtizBattingOYO Sports, a manufacturer of licensed mini-figure building toys that look like popular professional athletes, is building a vertically integrated e-commerce business with real-time U.S.-based manufacturing. Seed investors include Boston Seed Capital and Atlas Venture.

OYO Sports features players from multiple fan-favorite sports, including football, baseball, and hockey. The company currently features over 2,000 unique athletes.

The new business venture is aimed to extend beyond toys, and bring out the kid in all sports fans.

Virtual Piggy Partners With Innovation First For E-commerce Platform

Virtual Piggy, Inc. has integrated its youth-friendly payment system to Innovation First International, the company behind Hexbug Micro Robotic Creatures and Vex Robotics product lines. Hexbug products are available in more than 4,000 outlets globally including Walmart, Target, Toys “R” Us, RadioShack, and other mass and specialty retailers.

Virtual Piggy is integrated directly into Innovation First International’s Hexbug e-commerce platform to allow direct online and mobile purchases. Virtual Piggy has a standard interface to eBay’s Magento e-commerce platform, which facilitates a simple and rapid integration.

MBE Releases Despicable Me 2 Toys in India

Despicable Me 2 Toy RangeMy Baby Excels (MBE), along with Thinkway Toys, released a new line of toys in India, based on the characters of Despicable Me 2. The toy range includes interactive figures like Gru, Agnes, and the yellow minions Stuart and Dave. All the toys are suitable for kids ages 4 and up, and are available at leading retail stores like Hamley’s, Landmark, Shopper Stop, Lifestyle among others as well as on the leading E-commerce websites like Flipkart.com

Report: U.S. Retail e-Commerce to Grow Nearly 13 Percent

According to a revised eMarketer forecast, U.S. retail e-commerce sales (excluding travel, digital downloads, and event tickets) will grow by 12.7 percent in 2010 to $152.1 billion. eMarketer estimates that in 2014 online sales will reach $233.9 billion, with a growth rate of 8.2 percent due to “maturation of the online sales channel.” The revised forecast follows the U.S. Census Bureau’s recent news that online sales in Q4 2009 grew 14.6 percent compared to a year earlier, the biggest gain in eight quarters.

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