Wal-Mart Revamps Layaway Program in Anticipation of Toy Demand

logo-walmartWal-Mart Stores Inc. will bring forward its holiday layaway program by two weeks, in what has been viewed as a move to get ahead of year-end demand for toys, and to generate sales of upcoming Star Wars toys. As reported by Reuters, Anne Marie Kehoe, the vice president of toys for Wal-Mart, said in a briefing that shoppers can utilize the program starting August 28, two weeks earlier than last year.

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The Lowdown on Doll Hunting: Doll Collecting in the Age of Social Media

This article first appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of The Toy Book.

MelissaHunterHeadShotDoll collecting may be as old as the industry itself, but the newest generation of collectors is armed with video cameras, vlogs, and thousands of YouTube subscribers. They call themselves doll hunters.

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TIA’s Fall Toy Preview to Remain at Dallas Market Center through 2018

TIA LogoThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) Executive Committee and Board have announced that Fall Toy Preview will stay in Dallas through 2018. The event is scheduled to take place on the following dates: September 27 to 29, 2016; September 26 to 28, 2017; and September 25 to 27, 2018.

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My Friend Cayla Now Available at U.S. Retailers

MyFriendCaylaMy Friend Cayla, from toy manufacturer Genesis, officially arrives at toy retailers in the U.S. this week. Both Wal-Mart and Target are among the confirmed retailers selling the talking doll, which had only been available outside the U.S.

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Rashti & Rashti Acquires Prestige Toy Corporation

RashtiandRashtiRashti & Rashti has acquired Prestige Toy Corporation, a producer of infant plush toy products. Along with the Prestige brand, Rashti & Rashti has obtained several licenses for plush through the deal, including Elf on a Shelf, Fisher Price, Sesame Street, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and both Garanimals and Grin and Grow, which are exclusive to Wal-Mart.

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Stikbot, from Zing, Uses App to Create, Animate, and Share Stop-Motion Videos

Zing Toy StikbotZing has launched Stikbot, which features a poseable figure with suction cup hands and feet that adhere to almost any flat surface. A free mobile app available on iOS and Android, StikBot Studio, allows users to snap individual photos and stitch them together into a stop-motion film.

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Target Names John Mulligan to Chief Operating Officer, Cathy Smith to CFO

Resized large Target-LogoTarget Corporation has promoted John Mulligan to the role of executive vice president and chief operating officer, effective September 1. In the newly created position, Mulligan will assume oversight of stores, supply chain, and properties.

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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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CDPQ Invests in Wooky Entertainment Inc.

Wooky Entertainment LogoCaisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) has invested $6 million in Wooky Entertainment Inc., a Montreal company specializing in the creation of games and toys intended mainly for the preteen market. The investment is part of CDPQ’s strategy of supporting promising Quebec companies in their growth and international expansions.

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Bratz Announces Exclusives for Target, Wal-Mart

MGA Entertainment Bratz ReturnsThe Bratz line of fashion dolls, from MGA Entertainment (MGAE), is arriving at retailers with new products, apparel, and accessories. In addition to the four classic Bratz doll characters, Target guests can customize their own doll through the Create-A-Bratz experience on target.com.

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