Kathleen McHugh to Resign as President of ASTRA

KathleenMcHughEffective October 6, Kathleen McHugh will resign her position as president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA).

“It is bittersweet to be moving on at a time when ASTRA is stronger, more financially stable, and more of a force in the toy industry than it has ever been,” says McHugh. “It will be difficult to leave an organization with such an important mission and so full of many valued friends, colleagues, and mentors.

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Toy Advocacy Groups Come Out in Favor of Safe to Play Coalition Lawsuit

A number of advocacy groups representing manufacturers and sellers throughout the toy industry favor a lawsuit filed in Federal District Court against Albany County. The lawsuit, filed by the Safe to Play Coalition, alleges that by passing Albany County Local Law No. J, the county acted with gross disregard of extensive federal laws regulating the safety of toys and children’s products.

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ASTRA Increases Play Time at Marketplace & Academy

ASTRAlogoThe American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is giving independent toy retailers registered for ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy up to five hours over the course of the event to play with new-to-market games and kits.

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ASTRA’s Record-Breaking Marketplace to Feature 89 First-Time Exhibitors

ASTRAlogoAccording to the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), 89 toy manufacturers will be participating for the first time in its exhibit hall at ASTRA’s upcoming Marketplace & Academy. The exhibit hall, which will represent ASTRA’s largest ever, includes a total of 15 percent more exhibitors than last year.

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Q&A with Kathleen McHugh, President, American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)

ASTRA.KathleenMcHughThe Toy Book (TTB): How can specialty retailers compete in 2015?

Kathleen McHugh (KM): ASTRA is launching an exciting new program that is designed to help independent specialty retailers position their stores as destinations. The program will offer exclusive products for ASTRA member retailers that will not be available elsewhere.

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ASTRA Welcomes 80 New Manufacturers to Its Marketplace & Academy

astra_logo_homeAs reported by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), more than 80 new toy manufacturers will be showing new products in the exhibit hall at the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Most of these products are not yet available online, which gives specialty retailers the opportunity to offer them in their communities before anyone else.

“Specialty toy retailers need innovative products with high play value that consumers cannot find elsewhere, and ASTRA is the place to discover them,” said Kathleen McHugh, President of ASTRA. “These products help retailers position themselves as a hands-on shopping experience that is more creative and more fun and more interesting than the competition.”

ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy will be held June 8 to 11 in Phoenix, Ariz. Admission to the ASTRA Marketplace exhibit hall is free to specialty toy retailers, with registration through ASTRA’s website.

ASTRA’s 2012 Marketplace & Academy Exhibit Space Sells Out

Exhibit space for the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA) 2012 Marketplace & Academy has sold out. The exhibit hall, which will be the biggest ever, reports ASTRA, will feature approximately 100 first-time ASTRA exhibitors.

“Given the huge number of first-time exhibitors, the exhibit hall will be full of product we haven’t seen before,” said ASTRA President Kathleen McHugh. “And remember, even though exhibit space is sold out, we have plenty of room for any and all independent retailers.”

ASTRA will be held in Baltimore, Md. from June 10-13. For more information, or to register, visit www.astramarketplace.org or call ASTRA at 1-800-591-0490.

This post was originally written by Elizabeth A. Reid and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

ASTRA Reveals 2012 Marketplace & Academy Theme

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) announced that the theme of its 2012 Marketplace & Academy will be “Get more from your store: Build your business at ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy.” The event will take place in Baltimore June 10-13.

“Independent retailers are always looking for creative new ways to increase revenue and contain costs. Never has it been more important for store owners to get the most out of every dollar they spend and every business decision they make,” said Kathleen McHugh, president of ASTRA. “Our theme reflects what retailers will find at Marketplace & Academy: unique quality toys that fit their stores, huge show-only discounts, and business tips from the best retailers in the industry.”

As more information becomes available about speakers and special events at Marketplace & Academy, it will be posted at www.astramarketplace.org.