Sweet Suite 2016

Hamleys World, Moscow Wins World Retail Award for Store Design of the Year

WorldRetailAwards, HamleysMoscowThe World Retail Awards handed out its prize for Store Design of the Year this past Thursday, and the recipient was Hamleys World, Moscow, by the global retail consultancy Fitch. The store received significant press this past April as the second-largest toy store in the world, covering roughly 73,000 square feet.

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ThinkGeek and GameStop to Launch Unique Store Concept

ThinkGeekLogoThis fall, online retailer ThinkGeek will partner with GameStop to open a new concept retail store focused entirely on collectibles. The first store will open in the Florida Mall in Orlando on September 25.

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Funrise Toys Releases Animated Stackins Stackable Friends Webisode

Funrise, Stackins Stackable FriendsFunrise Toys has released an animated webisode for its new collectible plush toy line, Stackins Stackable Friends, which launched at Wal-Mart on August 10. The webisode will debut the personalities of a number of furry characters either sold now in the retail chain or coming soon to stores, including Checkers the Cheetah, Stripes the Zebra, and Marco the Monkey.

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American Girl Opens Its Doors in Mexico with El Palacio De Hierro

AmericanGirl,MexicoboutiquesAmerican Girl is opening its first-ever American Girl shop-in-shop boutiques in Mexico with El Palacio de Hierro, the country’s largest and best-established high-end retailer. Located at El Palacio de Hierro Interlomas and Perisur locations, the new boutiques range in size from 1,500 to 2,000 square feet. Opening on July 4, they mark the second international retail presence for American Girl.

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COMMENTARY: Toy Shoppers Have More Tools at Their Disposal than Ever

ToyBooklogoToday’s toy shopping experience has become a combination—or choice—of in-person browsing, online price comparisons, and research in a way we’d previously never seen before the dawn of the smartphone. Gone are the days of browsing the aisles of a single store, limited to its inventory and prices. Competitors used to be a trip or a phone call away, and often, shoppers didn’t have the time or desire to drive around town in search of a slightly lower price.

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Hamleys Opens Second-Largest Toy Store in the World in Moscow

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

As reported by Reuters, the British toy store Hamleys opened the second-largest toy store in the world on Tuesday in central Moscow. The new shop covers roughly 6,750 square meters, or about 73,000 square feet, and features a rocket made of nearly two million Lego bricks.

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Q&A with Simha Kumar, President, Sports and Fitness, Children’s Entertainment, Sears Holdings

Sears.Kumar,SimhaThe Toy Book (TTB): How are you engaging consumers in-store to drive sales?

Simha Kumar (SK): Kmart is focused on offering the most-desired toys, affordably and conveniently. We feature top licensed toys and hundreds of Kmart exclusives—whether purchasing in-store, buying online and picking up in-store, or having them shipped directly home. [Read more...]

Wal-Mart to Boost Pay of U.S. Workers

logo-walmartAs reported by The Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to boost the pay of all its U.S. employees to at least $9 an hour by April. This raise would top the federal minimum wage by 24 percent and take a bite out of the company’s profit this year. Wal-Mart has stated that the investment in higher wages and better training will cost the company.

The wage announcement came as Wal-Mart reported a relatively strong holiday season, with sales at its core U.S. business up 1.5 percent. For the quarter ended January 31, Wal-Mart reported earnings of $4.97 billion, up from $4.43 billion a year earlier, while revenue rose 1.4 percent to $131.6 billion.

ASTRA Negotiates Preschool Products Deal Exclusively for Member Retailers

Attendees at the Exclusive Yours Reception hosted by ASTRA during North American International Toy Fair on Saturday (left to right): Stephen Rhoads, Snapo; Laura Dann, ASTRA staff; Katie Marso, ASTRA staff; Kathleen McHugh, president of ASTRA; Sue Warfield, director of member relations for ASTRA.

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) announced today that Snapo, PlanToys, and Outset Media have each signed a deal to offer a line of preschool products exclusively to independent toy stores that are ASTRA members. [Read more...]

Target Announces Store Growth Plans for 2015

Target.TargetExpressThis year, Target Corp. will open 15 stores in three distinct formats: eight TargetExpress locations, one CityTarget, and six general merchandise stores. Target’s strategic growth is focused on reaching guests in urban centers, while also offering new experiences, merchandising layouts, and innovations in its general merchandise stores. [Read more...]