China Toy Fair


The Simpsons Honors 25 Years of Celebrity Guest Stars with Figures, Collectibles

by Alexis Willey

TheSimpsons25The latest line-up of celebrities in The Simpsons exclusive 25 of the Greatest Guest Stars program will include Buzz Aldrin, Tom Jones, Elvis Costello, Weird Al Yankovic, and Aerosmith.

The limited-edition collection includes figures, collectibles, and more featuring the animated likenesses of 25 of the most celebrated guest stars as they appeared on the TV show. The collection results from a partnership between The National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA) and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products to celebrate the 25-year history of The Simpsons.

Products from the previous three waves are now available at various retailers, including Toys ”R” Us locations nationwide.

Toys “R” Us and Claire’s Enter into Global Partnership

Feature Shops, FAO and Times Square, Hot ToysToys “R” Us and Claire’s have entered into a strategic global partnership to bring trendy, fashion-forward products to Toys “R” Us customers in select stores around the world. Following a successful pilot program in Europe, Claire’s-branded shops within Toys “R” Us stores will expand to nearly 100 locations across the continent, including stores in the UK, France, Germany, Austria, and Spain. They will also be set in 12 Toys “R” Us stores in the U.S. by the end of this year.

Shoppers will be able to choose from Claire’s jewelry, headbands, hair and fashion accessories, jewelry holders, legwear, seasonal items, and more. The shops will vary in size by location.

Two Claire’s locations in the U.S. will officially debut this week in the company’s flagship Toys “R” Us Times Square and FAO Schwarz stores in New York City. The additional 10 locations in the U.S. are expected to be open by the end of October and will be located in Murrieta, Calif.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Jensen Beach, Fla.; Florence, Ky.; Waldorf, Md.; Henderson, Nev.; Toledo, Ohio; Tulsa, Okla.; Philadelphia, Pa.; and Houston, Texas.

Jazwares Introduces Flick-to-Stick Bungees in Time for Back to School

jazwaresJazwares LLC has launched the new Flick-to-Stick Bungees product line. They offer a unique play pattern that gives kids multiple ways to play by aiming their Bungees at scoring targets, and then flicking their finger.

Bungees features a battleground arena, disk launchers, playing cards, and scoring disks to enhance game play. All 48 Series 1 characters are now available at major retailers, including Toys “R” Us and Walgreens across North America.

Universal Monsters to Include Van Helsing in New Line of Action Figures

by Alexis Willey

UniversalMonsters.VanHelsingDiamond Select Toys has released its newest assortment of Universal Monsters action figures. This year’s selection includes Frankenstein’s Monster, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the monster-hunter Van Helsing.

New to the line of monsters and ghouls, the Van Helsing figure stands at around 7 inches tall and comes armed with an axe, a sword, a crossbow, and a rifle, all of which can be carried on his back.

All three were sculpted by Jean St. Jean and are sold exclusively at Toys “R” Us locations, with deluxe Select versions available at comic shops and specialty stores nationwide. The deluxe versions include a larger diorama base and are in display-ready packaging.

Toys “R” Us Reveals Plans, Programs for Holiday Season

toysrus

Toys “R” Us unveiled its plans for the upcoming holiday season. The company will launch a new Rewards “R” Us program for its more than 18 million existing Rewards “R” Us members, and those who sign up in-store or online at toysrus.com/myrewards, who are now able to earn more rewards.

The complimentary Rewards “R” Us program enables members to earn one point per dollar spent at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us locations; for every $125 spent, Rewards “R” Us members receive $5 in “R” Us Rewards. Rewards “R” Us members who are also “R” Us credit cardholders earn two points per dollar spent in-store or online at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us—for a total of $10 for every $125 they spend. In addition, they can enjoy special financing and partake in 10 percent off Thursdays at any “R” Us location.

Toys “R” Us will also introduce online layaway, giving customers the ability to create layaway orders at toysrus.com and babiesrus.com, make subsequent payments either in-store or online, and pick up their order at a local store or have it delivered to their home. [Read more...]

Toys “R” Us Bolsters Leadership Team to Drive TRU Transformation Strategy

toysrusToys “R” Us Inc. has appointed a number of proven executives to key leadership roles, as the company continues to position its business for long-term profitable growth.

Debbie Lentz has been named senior vice president, chief supply chain officer, with responsibility for U.S. distribution and customs compliance, global importing and exporting, fleet operations, and domestic transportation. She will report to Hank Mullany, president, Toys “R” Us, U.S. In this role, Lentz will oversee inventory planning and allocation, as well as e-commerce fulfillment, while driving efforts to significantly improve in-stock levels both in stores and online. She will also lead logistics strategy development for the company’s international markets and efforts to improve global supply chain efficiencies, reporting in this capacity to Antonio Urcelay, chairman and CEO of Toys “R” Us Inc.

Lentz most recently held the position of senior vice president, customer service and logistics, at Kraft Foods Group. Prior to Kraft, she worked for many years in logistics operations at Nabisco Foods Group. [Read more...]

Tamagotchi Returns with New Tamagotchi Friends

TamagotchiFriendsThis month sees the release of a new generation of Tamagotchi toys from Bandai America. Like the original Tamagotchi, Tamagotchi Friends egg characters hatch, at which point the owner raises it from birth to adult. This includes feeding it when it is hungry, providing medicine when it is sick, and bathing it. Owners can also play games to earn Gotchi Points, which can be used to buy meals, snacks, and jewelry.
By bumping them into each other, Tamagotchi Friends characters can send text messages and gifts, and even go on play dates. More bumps lead to more points and rewards that the owner will earn.
Tamagotchi Friends Digital Friend devices are available in six different designs. Bandai is also releasing figures and play sets—including multi-character packs and a two-level café—exclusively at Toys “R” Us and toysrus.com.

Toys “R” Us Inc. Reports Second Quarter Financial Results

ToysRUsLogo copyToday, Toys “R” Us Inc. reported financial results for the second quarter ended August 2. Consolidated net sales were $2.4 billion, an increase of 2.7 percent versus the prior year period. Excluding the impact of foreign currency translation, which increased net sales by $7 million, the company experienced an improvement in net sales of $56 million, or 2.4 percent. The growth was primarily a result of an increase in comparable store net sales in both the Domestic and International segments, as well as new stores in the International segment.

Second quarter highlights include domestic comparable store net sales up 1.5 percent, primarily driven by increases in the core toy, learning, and entertainment (which includes electronics, video game hardware and software) categories. International comparable store net sales were up 2.5 percent primarily due to increases in the core toy, learning and seasonal categories.

Adjusted EBITDA was $81 million, compared to $74 million in the prior year, an increase of $7 million, or 9.5 percent.

New Lincoln Logs Grand Pine Lodge and Collector’s Edition Homestead Unveiled

LincolnLogsK’NEX has added two new sets to its Lincoln Logs product line for this year:

The Grand Pine Lodge includes real wood logs, plus colorful figures, play accessories, and cowboy and horse figures. Suggested for kids ages 3 and up, this set is available exclusively at Toys “R” Us and toysrus.com.

Meanwhile, the Collector’s Edition Homestead is the largest Lincoln Logs set ever created. This building set features 330 pieces including real wood logs, a frontiersman figure, a buildable covered wagon, and two horses. When playtime is over, kids can put the parts back into the handy storage container for a quick and easy clean-up. Suitable for kids 3 and up, the set is available on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.

You can check out K’NEX’s new video for the Lincoln Logs: Collector’s Edition Homestead below:

Toys “R” Us Releases 20th Anniversary Edition of Shopping Guide for Families with Differently-Abled Kids

toysrusLast week, Toys “R” Us published the 20th anniversary edition of its Toys “R” Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, a complimentary shopping guide for parents, caregivers, and other gift-givers in search of appropriate toys for children with special needs.

Available in both English and Spanish at Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores nationwide, as well as online at toysrus.com/differentlyabled, the 63-page Guide is packed with everyday playthings selected for their unique ability to help kids build critical skills–such as creative, emotional and cognitive skills–through play. Skill-building icons are paired with each featured toy to help parents select the most developmentally appropriate toys for their kids.

All of the toys in the Guide were vetted in partnership with the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making play accessible for children of all abilities. The guide’s 2014 cover features baseball World Champion, father, and special needs advocate Albert Pujols, who appears on the cover alongside Cameron Withers, a five-year-old boy from Southern California.