China Toy Fair


Heidi Klum Hosts Baby Shower With Babies “R” Us, Operation Shower

Heidi Klum Hosts A Babies"R"Us Sponsored Operation Shower EventHeidi Klum, Babies “R” Us, and Operation Shower teamed up to shower 125 expectant military moms-to-be. The shower took place on March 4 at Universal Studios’ Globe Theatre in Los Angeles. The moms representing Navy and Marine bases throughout California received dozens of gifts including those from Klum’s Truly Scrumptious collection, which is available exclusively at Babies “R” Us and online. The attendees also participated in shower games and other activities.

Babies “R” Us will also partner with Operation Shower again this year to honor families of the U.S. armed forces to host baby showers for military wives. To kick off the third year of partnership, the Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund, a public charity affiliated with Toys “R” Us Inc, will provide a $100,000 grant to Operation Shower. 

Toy Fair 2014 Shows Increase in Attendees, Double-Digit Rise in International Visitors

Last week’s American International Toy Fair in New York City drew nearly 26,500 toy professionals from 94 countries, and boasted a record-breaking 414,060 net square feet of exhibit space. According to the Toy Industry Association (TIA), Toy Fair 2014 also welcomed an 11 percent surge in international buyers, an 8 percent rise in exhibitors, and a 5 percent spike in overall attendees, bringing the total attendance to 26,493.

There was an estimated 1,153 exhibiting manufacturers, distributors, importers, and sales agents, and nearly 10,000 buyers from more than 5,000 retail outlets, including delegations from Amazon, Target, and Toys “R” Us. Members of top press outlets including Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and The New York Times scouted top toy trends.

Next year’s Toy Fair has been scheduled for February 14 to 17, and will once again take place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Show information will be available in the coming months at www.ToyFairNY.com.

PUBLISHER’S VIEWPOINT: The Times They Are A-Changin’

Feb.17.toybook.jsametby Jonathan Samet

On the December 21 episode of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update segment, Seth Meyers delivered the following:

Toys ‘R’ Us announced this week that its stores will remain open for 87 straight hours leading up to Christmas. Not to be outdone, the Internet announced that it will be open all the time, always, forever.”

This was meant to be a joke to make us all laugh (and it was funny), but at the same time it needs to be taken seriously, as the Internet has certainly changed the way we conduct our lives. One key difference is that the time of day consumers can make purchases is no longer limited by “store hours.” With a simple click of the “enter” button, toys and other products can show up at our door—or go directly to the gift recipient—in as little as 48 hours, without having to leave the comfort of the couch or desk.

Therefore, no matter what part of the toy industry you participate in, you have to take this change seriously. We all have to continue to evaluate how to best reach and win over the end user 24 hours a day, 365 days a year—or as Seth Meyers put it, all the time, always, forever! I remember talking to many manufacturers, even within the last nine years since I became publisher here, who said that Internet sales were just a tiny fraction of their business and was of no concern. To quote Bob Dylan: “the times they are a-changin’,” and to survive and succeed, we all better be a-changin’ with them. [Read more...]

Yvolution Takes Kids Rides to the EXY Extreme

YVOLUTION EXY TRICKSTARTRAt this year’s American International Toy Fair, Yvolution is launching its new EXY Extreme Yvolution series. Offering kids a more extreme ride, the first two products in the line include the EXY Trickstartr, an entry-level stunt scooter with an innovative wheelie system, and the EXY Sharker, a three-wheeled skateboard made for urban street surfing.

The EXY Trickstartr is a stunt scooter for beginner riders who want to learn how to master basic tricks. It features a slick matte black/vibrant color design and comes with a special patent-pending device that allows riders to do a wheelie. Trickstartr also offers kids four ways to ride: 1) The Easy Way, 2) The Hard Way, 3) The Expert Way, and 4) The Pro Way. Once the stunt is mastered, the detachable device can be removed to improve speed and agility.

The EXY Sharker is a three-wheeled skateboard with a modern surfboard design. It is half-caster board and half-skateboard, with a front 360-degree caster wheel and traditional skateboard trucks in the back. Riders twist back and forth to get started, self-propel, carve, and pump. The quicker they pump the nose, the faster they’ll go. The Sharker also features a patented super strong ABS Tri-core grip deck and PU wheels with durable ABEC 7 bearings.

Both are suitable for kids ages 5 and up, available in green or purple, and for sale exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores and online.

Before hitting the skate park, kids can watch a series of EXY “learn to ride” videos online that help them get started with both the Trickstartr and Sharker.

A Letter to the Industry from Björn Jeffery, Co-Founder & CEO, Toca Boca

Toca Boca CEO & Cofounder Bjorn Jeffery Photo[1]Dear Toy Industry,

Hope all is well! I’m writing to you from the App Store, where Toca Boca just had the biggest holiday season ever—we even landed in the Top 10! While the App Store is a space for digital products, so much of what you know about toys can be applied here—and there’s room for you to excel in this space.

Toca Boca started researching your products a little more than three years ago. We looked at play patterns and blockbuster toys—searching for themes that could work for us. Since you were such a key influence, I thought I’d attempt to return the favor. So here are a few things that we’ve learned from the App Store over the past few years that I would like to share with you.

First, think of the App Store as a toy store. If it was Toys “R” Us, you wouldn’t be putting your marketing material on the shelves. Yet that is often what I see in the App Store—an app trying to sell something in the physical world. Put your best toys on the shelves! There’s infinite shelf space in the App Store and many other toys from which to choose. [Read more...]

Toys “R” Us Great Trade-In Event Reaches One Million Milestone

The Great Trade-In event by Toys “R” Us has resulted in the removal of more than one million pieces of used and potentially unsafe cribs, car seats, and other products since the program began in 2009. The company’s ninth “Great Trade-In” event began January 24 and run through February 17 in Babies “R” Us and Toys “R” Us stores nationwide. This year, Toys “R” Us has issued a call for action for customers to rid their homes of unsafe and old baby products and exchange them for savings on new items.

During the event, stores will accept any used cribs, car seats, bassinets, strollers, travel systems, play yards, high chairs, toddler/twin beds, swings, walkers, bouncers, and entertainers in exchange for a 25 percent savings on the purchase of a new baby item in any of these categories. This program gives customers an opportunity to remove or replace old and hazardous products from their homes, garages, and attics.

In addition to the event, Toys “R” Us offers supplementary resources to help parents and caregivers keep their children safe, such as the company’s dedicated safety website.

Toys “R” Us Brings Lego Movie Anticipation to Life

Jan20.ToysRUsToys “R” Us has created nearly 20 movie-inspired products in anticipation for the first feature length Lego film. These new items, coming to Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and on toysrus.com/lego, will be available from January 30 through March. The products will be showcased in feature shops in Toys “R” Us stores, including play sets that replicate adventures from the movie, minifigures, and vehicles. Fans can join Emmet, an ordinary Lego minifigure, on his quest to stop an evil Lego tyrant from gluing the universe together.

Toys “R” Us will also host an in-store event and offer additional gifts with Lego product purchases. On February 8, stores nationwide will host an event from noon to 2 p.m., where participants can construct and take home Emmet’s car. Customers can also try out the new The Lego Movie Nintendo 2DS video game. There will also be two raffle contests at the event and the prizes will be a $10 Toys “R” Us Gift Card and the Lord Business’ Evil Lair construction set. In addition, beginning on February 2, customers who make a $50 or more Lego construction purchase in-store will receive a complementary ticket to see The Lego Movie in theaters.

The Lego Movie will be in theaters beginning February 7.

Toys “R” Us Reports Holiday 2013 Sales Results

Toys “R” Us Inc. has reported its comparable store net sales for the five- and nine-week periods ending January 4.

For the five-week period, the domestic segment reported a comparable store net sales increase of 1.8 percent. The learning, seasonal, and core toy categories generated the strongest comparable store net sales growth. Internationally, comparable store net sales declined 1.1 percent for the five-week period. Australia, China, and Southeast Asia experienced positive comparable store net sales growth, offset by softness in Japan, Canada, and Europe.

Comparable store net sales for the nine-week period decreased 4.7 percent in the domestic segment and 3 percent in the international segment. The nine-week domestic comparable store net sales change is lower than the five-week change, due mainly to the late timing of Thanksgiving this year versus the prior year, which partially benefitted the current year five-week period. Internationally, Australia, China, and Southeast Asia experienced positive comparable store net sales growth, offset by softness in Japan, Canada, and Europe.

The five-week period refers to December 1, 2013 to January 4, 2014, as compared to December 2, 2012 to January 5, 2013 in the prior year. The nine-week period refers to November 3, 2013 to January 4, 2014, as compared to November 4, 2012 to January 5, 2013 in the prior year.

Toys “R” Us Stores Nationwide Remain Open 87 Continuous Hours Ahead of Christmas

toysrusToys “R” Us stores nationwide will remain open for 87 consecutive hours for last-minute shoppers. Beginning at 6 a.m. on December 21 and continuing through 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve, gift-givers can shop day and night for toys, including those that can only be found at Toys “R” Us.

Bargain hunters can also take advantage of savings and deals, as well as the company’s Price Match Guarantee, every day leading up to Christmas. Select discounts available at Toys “R” Us from December 20 through December 21 include buy one, get one free deals on all Chuggington Engines and Totally Me! by Victoria Justice crafts; buy one, get one 50 percent off all FAO Schwarz toys; and more.

Meanwhile, beginning December 22 through December 24, select discounts include buy one, get one free deals on all K’NEX building sets; buy one, get one 40 percent off all Disney Pixar Cars and Disney Planes die cast vehicles, and play sets; discounts on Disney Infinity Starter Packs; and more.

Toys “R” Us Signs On as U.S. Retailer of The Original Loom Boom

LoomBoomThis past week saw the launch of Jake and Crew LLC’s The Original Loom Boom, which is designed to display, organize, and share loom bracelet creations. Invented by a five-year-old who wanted to show off his loom bracelet collection in a neat, portable way, the product is being retailed exclusively by Toys “R” Us through the end of this year.

Available in five color combinations at Toys “R” Us stores across the U.S. and at toysrus.com, the Original Loom Boom features a brightly-colored tube that can hold up to 40 rubber band loom bracelets. Once detached from the base, loomers have easy access to bracelets at the bottom, so they can show off their handiwork as well as trade and share bracelets. The base also contains ample storage for extra loom bands.

Currently, loom band bracelets are enjoying a high level of popularity in the U.S.