Lego Builds Tenth Consecutive Year of U.S. Toy Market Growth

Lego LogoLego Systems Inc. achieved U.S. consumer sales growth for the tenth consecutive year in 2014. The company increased its overall U.S. toy market share to end 2014 in its strongest position ever in U.S. toys. [Read more...]

Dirk Engehausen Appointed New CEO of Schleich Group

SchleichlogoDirk Engehausen has been appointed CEO of the Schleich Group. Dr. Thomas van Kaldenkerken will relinquish his role as CEO, and together with Dr. Konrad Nilbers, will co-chair the advisory board for the Schleich Group.

Engehausen has been a member of the advisory board since mid-2014, and brings extensive experiences from his 20-year career with Lego, where he played a major role in the strategic repositioning of the company. Engehausen intends to implement and further develop the strategic and operative realignment of the company initiated by van Kaldenkerken.

The operations of Schleich USA Inc. will continue to be under the leadership and direction of Sören Hjorth, Schleich USA president, from Schleich’s facility in Charlotte, N.C.

Lego Group Partners with Warner Bros. Consumer Products on Scooby-Doo Building Sets

Lego ScoobyDooThe Lego Group is partnering with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to develop Lego building sets inspired by animated franchise, Scooby-Doo. Five new building sets will bring characters such as Shaggy, Scooby, and the rest of the gang to life in Lego form for the first time ever.

The sets will include the Mummy Museum Mystery, the Haunted Lighthouse, and the Mystery Mansion. These are scheduled to arrive on store shelves in August.

In related news, there will be a 22-minute, animated Lego special featuring Scooby-Doo, and produced in partnership with Warner Bros. Animation. Warner Bros. Animation will also be producing made-for-video movie titles, which will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment during the coming years.

GUEST COMMENTARY: International CES Explodes with Family-Friendly Tech

by Reyne Rice, toy trends analyst and consultant

Meccanoid G15 KS, from Spin Master

During the first week of January, International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 unveiled the latest consumer electronics innovations. Kids, families, and educators were among the target audiences for this new world of technology, which extended across all exhibitor areas. Here are some of the family tech-focused highlights from the show: [Read more...]

The Little Gym Expands Its Partnership with Lego Systems Inc.

TheLittleGym.logoThe Little Gym International and Lego Systems Inc. will expand their ongoing partnership to integrate building time with Lego Juniors into birthday parties, camps, and other events.

Since last spring, The Little Gym has featured a special Lego Duplo building block curriculum incorporated into the gym’s Serious Fun programs. Adding Lego Juniors will provide opportunities for kids ages 4 to 7 to build projects as part of extended programs, including The Little Gym’s Summer and Winter Camps, which consist of both construction and project building along with creative role play. The Little Gym also offers Parents’ Survival Night, featuring special building activities with parents invited to join in; and the Awesome Birthday Bash, which incorporates Lego Juniors activities into 90-minute and two-hour parties.

Parents can visit thelittlegym.com to find their nearest The Little Gym location.

COMMENTARY: I Don’t Know Art, But I Know What I Like (and That Includes Books about Lego)

Everybody loves Lego. But naturally, not everyone loves it in the same way. For some, what they find most appealing is the look of the bricks, which can capture the shape of an object—whether we’re talking about the Empire State Building or the Batmobile—while retaining an element of whimsy. For others, what makes Lego so awesome is the infinite number of possibilities it presents; that is, the fact that with enough pieces (and the right ones), a person can construct whatever they want. The only limiting factor is one’s imagination. [Read more...]

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...]

Next Lego Ninjago Video Game Slated for Next Spring

LEGO Ninjago_Shadow of Ronin_Announce ArtTo celebrate International Ninja Day, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games, and The Lego Group announced that the next installment of Lego Ninjago franchise, Lego Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin, will be available for Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita next spring. Developed by TT Fusion, a subsidiary of TT Games, the latest Lego handheld game delivers an untold story of the Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu TV show.

In Lego Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin, players will battle through iconic locales from the TV series, including the Ice Temple, the Toxic Bogs, and a mysterious new island, as well as visit the mountain village of Spinjago, where the Ninjas are training with Grand Sensei Dareth and Sensei Wu. Using their Spinjitzu abilities, players can unleash their Ninja’s elemental power and smash their way through enemies and solve puzzles. They can even team up and create multi-elemental builds using the Tornado of Creation.

Cyber Monday Marks a Personal Best for Wal-Mart

Walmart.com_Cyber_Monday_Home_PageAs reported by Wal-Mart this past Tuesday, Cyber Monday was the retailer’s biggest online day for orders in its history. Customers viewed more than 1.5 billion pages on walmart.com between Thanksgiving and December 1, aka Cyber Monday, with mobile accounting for approximately 70 percent of traffic to the site between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

Walmart.com’s best-selling Cyber Monday items included the PlayStation 4 500 GB Console Bundle with Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and LittleBigPlanet 3; the Nintendo 3DS XL New Super Mario Bros 2 Limited Edition Handheld; the Xbox One Assassins Creed Unity Bundle; the Skywalker Trampolines 12-Foot Round Trampoline and Safety Enclosure with Blue Spring Pad; and the Lego Giant Creative Tower, with 1,600 pieces and storage box.

This year, more than 100 Cyber Monday specials were available for free same-day pickup at Wal-Mart stores, and orders with same-day pickups increased 70 percent over last year.

China Toy Expo Shows the Dynamism of the Toy Industry in China

Resized.EMILIALSINAby Emili Alsina

Over 50,000 professionals of the toy, baby, and licensing industries visited the trade shows organized by the China Toy & Juvenile Products Association (CTJPA) in Shanghai from October 14 to 16: China Toy Expo, China Kids Expo, and China Licensing Expo. This attendance represents a 26 percent increase compared to the previous year. Alsina, editor of the Spanish magazine Juguetes B2B (specializing in the toy industry in Spain) and member of the International Toy Magazine Association (ITMA), attended these three trade shows to witness the latest trends and developments of the industry in China.

The toy market is very dynamic in China, and has a consumer (the parents) increasingly interested in products that provide educational value to their children. The kids, in turn, are increasingly interested in licensed products. China Toy Fair, which has been held for the last 12 years–and is the largest international toy fair in mainland China and the third largest worldwide–was celebrated simultaneously with the China Kids Expo (childcare sector) and the China Licensing Expo (licensing sector).

Resized.LEGOJuguetes B2B, a professional communication magazine specializing in the toy industry in Spain, attended the three trade shows to give informational coverage of the latest trends in the industry that will shape the Chinese market next year. The strategy of holding the three exhibitions simultaneously makes perfect sense, given the synergies that occur between the three different sectors. For instance, the licensing business has a large influence in the toy industry, with licenses for baby care products as well. Therefore, celebrating the events at the same time is an interesting opportunity for the professionals. [Read more...]