BubbleBall Inc. to Launch Bubble Soccer in New York City

BubbleA New York City-based start-up, BubbleBall Inc., is introducing bubble soccer to the United States. The sport is regular soccer played inside a giant, protective, and bouncing bubble suit, and is popular in Europe and Australia. BubbleBall Inc. is currently selling products nationwide and inviting people to play the sport in New York. In celebration of the World Cup, the company is also giving away free products through its Twitter sweepstakes.

Reservations can be made to play BubbleBall in New York at Chelsea Piers starting July 12.

Toy Sales for Easter 2014 Are Up Year-over-Year

According to data from The NPD Group Inc., U.S. dollar sales of toys increased 3 percent in the four weeks leading up to Easter, compared to the four weeks preceding Easter of last year. Easter toy sales got a boost from the warmer weather provided by the holiday occurring three weeks earlier than last year. This was also evident in the strong growth performance of outdoor and sports toys in the four weeks leading up to Easter.

Comparing the pre-Easter period of March 23 to April 19 against March 3 to 30 last year, U.S. toy sales declined by 1 percent, but enjoyed 3 percent year-to-date dollar gains through the holiday.

Measured in dollar sales, the top toy growth segments were: outdoor & sports toys, with 20 percent growth; building sets, with 10 percent growth; and arts & crafts, with 10 percent growth.

NPD Group: Cyber Monday Week Toy Sales Are Strong, Up from Last Year

npd_group_logoRetail dollar sales for the toy category were up 23 percent for the Cyber Monday week compared to the same period last year. For the combined Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks, The NPD Group reports that toy sales were up 12 percent on a dollar basis compared to the previous year. These sales trends include both online and brick and mortar channels.

The NPD Group noted that all 11 super categories it tracks in the toy sector experienced positive dollar sales growth during the period covering Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks. Those with the highest growth—and their respective change in dollar sales compared with Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks last year—include plush at 34 percent, youth electronics at 32 percent, arts and crafts at 26 percent, and outdoor and sports at 18 percent. These results reflect brick and mortar and online sales combined.