A Preview in Paris: Hape Hosts Sneak Peek of The Little Prince Movie and Tie-In Toys

by Scarlett Wisotzki, editor-in-chief, das spielzeug

On June 1, Peter Handstein, the CEO of Hape, rolled out the red carpet for his retailers in France, and gave them a sneak peek of The Little Prince movie and tie-in products prior to their official global release. Scarlett Wisotzki, the editor-in-chief of das spielzeug for the past four years, has this exclusive report:

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Spin Master Enters into Agreement to Purchase Cardinal Industries

spin masterSpin Master Ltd. has entered into an agreement to purchase Cardinal Industries Inc., one of the oldest privately held toy companies in the U.S. The acquisition will enable Spin Master to expand its selection of games, puzzles, and licensed products. Cardinal will continue to operate as an independent entity, while benefiting from Spin Master’s global scale and infrastructure.

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Traditional Chinese Toy Exports Increase Year-over-Year and Month-over-Month

ChineseToyAnimalAccording to the China Toy & Juvenile Products Association, China’s traditional toys—a category that includes dolls, educational toys, puzzles, electric trains, and toy musical instruments—saw a 1.7 percent year-over-year increase in exports, as well as a roughly 63.87 percent month-over-month increase for April. Exports totaled about $984.4 million, accounting for 64.4 percent of China’s total toy exports for the month.

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Retail Toy Sales Up 4 Percent on Building Sets, Electronics, Frozen, Says NPD Group

NPDGrouplogoAccording to retail sales data from The NPD Group, U.S. retail sales of toys generated $18.08 billion last year compared to $17.46 billion in 2013, an increase of 4 percent.

Retail sales over the 2014 holiday shopping season got off to a bumpy start, with the weeks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday experiencing mixed results of -2 percent and 1 percent (compared to the same time periods in 2013). However, with one extra shopping day the week of Christmas compared to last year, Christmas week grew 27 percent, lifting December growth to 6 percent. Meanwhile, fourth quarter sales were up 3 percent for the 13 weeks starting October 5 through the week ending January 3. [Read more...]

MasterPieces, Smart Play Signs on for Animal Planet and Shark Week Merchandise

MasterpiecesPuzzlesLogoMasterPieces Puzzle Company has signed a deal with Discovery Consumer Products to produce Animal Planet and Shark Week puzzles and craft sets. It will also create Animal Planet-branded dinosaur and safari products, as well as Shark Week-branded 3-D puzzles with a paint component and buildable craft kits made of wood.

Smart Play will develop children’s educational toys offering different ways to discover the world of animals. The line includes 3-D flashcards and puzzles, puzzle cubes, alphabet floor puzzles, a lighted click-and-see toy projector, and an electronic learning pad. The new items will be available next year.

Moose Toys Lines Up New Shopkins Licensees for Toys and Games

ShopkinsSmallMart_LifestyleMoose Toys has an impressive group of new licensees joining Shopkins’ licensed merchandise program for the U.S. and Canadian market. The new deals were brokered by The Licensing Shop Inc. Licensed products will include board games and puzzles from Pressman Toys, plush from Imports Dragon, novelty toys and trading card games from Bulls-i-Toys, art activity and craft products from Creative Kids, and more. The bulk of the products will be for the back-to-school season next year.

Shopkins hit retail shelves in June, and has since sold out in stores nationwide.

Puzzles, Costumes, and More All Part of DHX Brands’ Line-up for Teletubbies

DHXMediaOriginalTeletubbiesDHX Brands has appointed numerous new UK licensing partners for the revamped Teletubbies series. Copyright Promotions Licensing Group (CPLG) brokered the deals.

CPLG secured deals with Ravensburger to produce themed puzzles, MV Sports for wheeled and outdoor toys, and International Greetings for the arts and crafts category. Rainbow Productions has been enlisted to create costumes based on characters Tinky Winky, Laa Laa, Dipsy, and Po.

DHX Brands has also recently appointed Character Options as global master toy partner.

Products are expected to arrive in retail locations beginning in 2016.

Tetris Turns 30 with Worldwide Birthday Meet-Up

TetrislogoTetris is turning 30, and to celebrate, the iconic puzzle game brand invites game fans to meet up on June 6, the official anniversary date. Meet up planners can register the time and location for their June 6 event at meetup.com/tetris30, with a Meetup.com account, and invite friends and community to come together and celebrate all-things Tetris.

Fans are encouraged to tweet their photos with the hashtags #Tetris30 and #WeAllFitTogether, to promote their local meet ups on tetris.com, Twitter, and Facebook. Meanwhile, the challenge is on at meetup.com/tetris30 for fans to celebrate the anniversary in their own creative way.

University Games Acquires Briarpatch Inc.

UniversityGameslogoUniversity Games will acquire the assets of Briarpatch Inc., a manufacturer of preschool specialty games and puzzles based on popular literary properties such as I Spy and Fancy Nancy.

The merger will increase University Games’ domestic revenue by approximately 20 percent. Additionally, the Briarpatch licenses will augment University Games’ Colorforms business. University Games will begin shipping Briarpatch products this month.

John Donofrio and Martine Redman founded Briarpatch in 1991, and Donofrio will join University Games in a consulting role.

Les Berger, Founder of Cardinal Industries, Passes Away at Age 95

The Toy Book is so sorry to hear about the passing of Leslie Berger, founder of Cardinal Industries.

In 1944, Les Berger founded the company with a dream and knowledge of plastics, on the corner of Keape and Hope Streets in Brooklyn, N.Y. The first product that he produced was dominoes. Now Cardinal Industries games and puzzles in some of the most popular licenses, while maintaining business in core basic games, such as dominoes. Berger continued to work, and until very recently, was still coming into the office to work. He was a true pioneer in the business.

Berger lived his 95 years surrounded by a loving family. His son Joel and daughter Bonnie, who have take over and grown the company to a very successful privately owned toy company that is committed to making family-friendly, challenging, and innovative games and puzzles that are affordable for everyone. His wife Sylvia has been his partner in life and business for 64 years.

He will be profoundly missed by his entire family:  Sylvia, Joel, Bonnie, Jody, his grandchildren Carly, Ilana, Justin, Perri; and his numerous friends and countless associates in the toy industry.