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...]

COMMENTARY: Sibling Rivalries Exist in the Toy World, Too

FrozenproductsA real-life sibling rivalry exists between Disney’s Frozen Elsa and Anna products—with one sister clearly winning. According to a Wall Street Journal article published last month, Disney marketing executives expected the sisters to be equals in popularity. As such, they were caught off-guard by the overwhelming preference for Elsa, who outsells Anna in dolls, toys, costumes, and other items. Disney, in response, makes sure to keep Elsa items in-stock at stores: For example, about 10 percent more Elsa dolls are stocked than Anna ones at Wal-Mart, according to the same Wall Street Journal article.

To help combat the Frozen sibling rivalry, companies are selling dolls with both sisters, and sales data from last holiday season shows that girls want to play with dolls or role-play with costumes featuring both characters. In turn, companies such as Jakks Pacific, as well as retailers like Toys “R” Us, are making and selling products, respectively, that involve the two sisters. [Read more...]

USAopoly Celebrates 20 Years with 13 Days of Giving Games

USAopolyUSAopoly is currently giving away a themed gaming package each day for 13 days through December 20. With every game a fan wins, one will also be donated to Toys for Tots. For every day that there are over 500 entries, an additional winner will be chosen and will match the number of games given to fans to the Toys for Tots donation. Prize packages include The Walking Dead Day, Nintendo Day, My Little Pony Day, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Day.

Playmates Toys Adds Bebop and Rocksteady to TMNT Action Figure Line

BeBop_HI RockSteady_HINickelodeon and Playmates Toys have launched Bebop and Rocksteady action figures based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle characters. The figures will be available in mid-November exclusively at Wal-Mart.

The 5-inch action figures are fully articulated and sculpted to capture the personalities of the popular duo. Each figure is equipped with unique accessories and is compatible with most of the vehicles and play sets in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line. Bebop, a pig-headed mutant, features a bright purple Mohawk, X-ray glasses, and comes ready to battle with his weapon accessories. Rocksteady, a mutated rock-headed Rhino and the brains behind the duo, is ready to hunt down the Turtles with his hammer-and-sickle weapon accessories.

The villainous duo will make their return to TV this January as part of the third season of Nickelodeon’s CG-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.

Bubbles, Little Green Army Men, and Rubik’s Cube Inducted into National Toy Hall of Fame

NationalToyHallofFameInducteesThe 2014 National Toy Hall of Fame inductees are bubbles, little green army men, and Rubik’s Cube. The inductees were revealed at a public ceremony, which took place at the National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong National Museum of Play this morning.

The honorees were selected from a field of 12 finalists that also included American Girl dolls, Fisher-Price Little People, Hess Toy Trucks, My Little Pony, Operation Skill Game, paper airplanes, pots and pans, Slip-N-Slide, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Wal-Mart’s Initial Holiday Offerings Include Discounts on Disney Frozen, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and More

logo-walmartFor its first round of holiday promotions, Wal-Mart has expanded its digital shelves to include 7 million items, which is one million more than last holiday season. Shortly after midnight PT on November 3, deals typically reserved for Black Friday and Cyber Monday will start on walmart.com, and will include discounts on toys and games, such as the Barbie Dreamhouse and Nintendo 2DS.

The retailer will also offer hundreds of weekly online specials on items that include toys and electronics, with same-day pickup at Wal-Mart stores available while supplies last at no additional charge, and free shipping to customers’ homes available for orders totaling $50 or more.

Wal-Mart has rolled out a new feature within its mobile app: Search My Store, through which customers can search for nearly any item carried in a Wal-Mart store and see that item’s availability, its aisle location, ratings, and reviews. Search My Store is available on Android devices and will expand to iPhones by mid-November. [Read more...]

Spirit Halloween to Host Annual Spirit of Children Program

SpiritofChildrenSpirit Halloween will continue its annual Spirit of Children program, which brings Halloween cheer and festivities to hospitalized children by hosting more than 84 events in conjunction with Child Life departments throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Special guests at select Spirit of Children parties will include Warner Brothers’ Batman, Saban‘s Power Rangers Super Megaforce; Nickelodeon‘s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dora the Explorer, and Bubble Guppies; DreamWorks Animation‘s Puss in Boots, Skipper from Penguins of Madagascar, and more.

This year, Spirit of Children’s goal is to raise $5.2 million—bringing its total contribution to more than $21 million donated since the program’s inception in 2006.

Shoppers can donate to the Spirit of Children program online or in a Spirit Halloween location. The funds raised will go to the location’s closest hospital. Spirit Halloween shoppers who make at least a $2 donation will receive a Spirit of Children bracelet.

All funds raised are donated to participating Child Life departments across North America and focus on the emotional and psychological well being of hospitalized children while doctors and nurses focus on their medical needs.

Out of the Blue Enterprises Acquires Colorforms

Out Of The Blue Enterprises.logoOut of the Blue Enterprises is planning an extensive new toy line, animated series, and digital apps based on its newly acquired legacy brand, Colorforms. New products in the line are expected to debut at retail next fall, based on popular brands including Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer, Bubble Guppies, Spongebob Squarepants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Peter Rabbit, Pete the Cat, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

Colorforms Brand LLC, the new division of Out of the Blue, is showcasing its new Colorforms toy line to retailers at the Fall Toy Preview in Dallas this week.

Diamond Select Toys Has Talks, Giveaways Planned for New York Comic Con

DST.NYCCConcourseDiamond Select Toys (DST) will be participating in New York Comic Con with panels, signings, and more scheduled for all four days of the convention. Of the two panels DST will host, the first, Diamond Select Toys: The Best of All Worlds, will take place on October 9 at 5 p.m. in Room 1A18. DST president Chuck Terceira and sculptor Eli Livingston will talk about upcoming products, give away prizes, and announce a new toy line.

On October 11, at 4:15 p.m. in Room 1A24, Minimates product manager Robert Yee and designer Uriel Caton will join Terceira for Minimates MiniFigures: From Marvel to Clerks to TMNT! They will discuss upcoming Minimates releases, give away more prizes, and unveil the next Marvel Minimates assortment.

DST.MarvelPosterBefore and after the Minimates panel, Caton will sign full-size Minimates posters at booth 1736. Finally, every morning at the start of the show, DST will give out a free Ghostbusters promotional Minimate, while supplies last. A limited number will be given out each day, Thursday through Sunday. Throughout the weekend, DST will also give out free full-size posters featuring original Aliens, Ghostbusters, and Marvel Minimates artwork.

NRF Says Record Number of Americans to Buy Halloween Costumes This Year

nrfAccording to data from the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Halloween Consumer Spending Survey, more than two-thirds—or 67.4 percent—of celebrants will buy Halloween costumes for the holiday, which is the most in the survey’s 11-year history.

An estimated 2.6 million children plan to dress up as one of Disney’s Frozen characters, while about 1.8 million children will dress as one of the re-imagined classic characters from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Princess (3.4 million), animal (3 million), and Spider-Man (2.6 million) will also be popular choices for children.

The NRF survey also found that 75 million adults will dress in costume, with most sticking to traditional options, including a witch (4.8 million), an animal (2.6 million), a Batman character (2 million), and a pirate (1.8 million).

A total of $2.8 billion will be spent on costumes overall, with celebrants shelling out $1.1 billion on children’s costumes, $1.4 billion on adult costumes, and $350 million on costumes for pets. Findings revealed that among the 14.3 percent of celebrants planning to outfit their pets, 10.8 percent will dress them as a pumpkin, the top costume choice again this year.

Slightly more than 34 percent of Americans will look for costume inspiration online, while 33 percent will seek it at a retail store or costume shop. The survey found 11.4 percent of Americans will turn to Pinterest for costume ideas, up from 9.3 percent last year, with young adults driving the most Pinterest traffic: 21.2 percent and 21 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds and 25-to-34-year-olds, respectively.