China Toy Fair


Lionel Opens New Brick-and-Mortar Store and Headquarters in North Carolina

Lionel.NewStoreThis past Monday, Lionel opened its first retail store in Concord, N.C. The new location will serve as a central station for popular train sets, replicas, and collectibles, as well as store-exclusive gifts and keepsakes.

To celebrate the new store, which will also serve as the company’s new headquarters, Lionel President Howard Hitchcock drove festivities with J. Scott Padgett, the mayor of Concord, and Donna Carpenter, the CEO of the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Lionel.NewStore2The store will become a terminal for field trips, new product testing, and company announcements. The 1,100-square-foot space will house one of Lionel’s fully decorated layouts, which will feature different trains throughout the year. Kids can control the layout with handheld remotes and test the newest trains.

Lionel has made numerous expansion efforts of late, including partnering with the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago to debut its first life-sized trackless train ride, The Lionel Train Adventure, earlier this month. The company has also continued to add licenses for new train models through partnerships with DC Comics, Coca-Cola, Crayola, and other brands.

Disguise Receives Vendor Partner of the Year Award from Spirit Halloween

DisguiselogoDisguise, the Halloween costume division of Jakks Pacific Inc., has received the Vendor Partner of the Year Award from Spirit Halloween for its contributions to the costumes and accessories categories. The award is based on innovations, new licenses, service level, and strategic approaches to sales and profit.

“We are honored to receive the Vendor Partner of the Year Award from Spirit Halloween,” said Joe Anton, president of Disguise. “It has been a pleasure collaborating with the entire Spirit team on unique Disguise programs to make Spirit stores the ultimate Halloween destination for families. Our partnership with Spirit Halloween has allowed us to create unique products not offered in any other retail channel while increasing sales year after year.”

COMMENTARY: Spanning Generations: Modern Takes on Classic Brands

Nostalgia is a growing trend in the toy and licensing industry, but recently many classic brands have been given a modern reboot. The modernized take on classic brands offer fun for consumers both young and old, spanning generations and providing licensees with multiple new opportunities. Today, some modernized takes on old favorites live along side their predecessors.

PlaymatesToys.BasicMutagenOozeTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT), for example, launched in the 1980s. A huge, revolutionary boys’ property, the brand was given a reboot last year when a new TMNT animated series launched in September on Nickelodeon. The brand has seen massive success in the toy industry, with partners including Playmates Toys with a full line of figures and play sets, bubbles and water toys from Little Kids, and awesome electronics from Sakar International, including adorable TMNT earbuds. In addition to producing toys based on the new animated series, Playmates Toys also offers a classic collection including all four turtles, which reflects the look of the characters in the original series. [Read more...]

The Wish Factory Named Toy Licensee for Singer Cody Simpson

The Wish Factory has been named toy licensee for the Cody Simpson brand through a strategic licensing agreement with Atlantic Records. Cody Simpson is an Australian-born singer and songwriter who recently released his EP Coast to Coast, featuring singles “On My Mind” and “Not Just You.” Simpson ranked No. 13 on Billboard’s 21 Under 21: Music’s Hottest Minors for 2011.

The Wish Factory’s deal covers dolls, figures, play sets, key chains, plush koalas, concert kits, play-dance mats, and guitars. The initial line of fashion dolls will be available exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores and online at Toysrus.com this holiday season. The line will expand to other mass-market retailers in the spring and next fall.

For more information on Cody Simpson licensing opportunities, contact Sara Nemerov of Warner Music Group at sara.nemerov@wmg.com.

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