Lincoln Logs Production Returns to the U.S. with 10 New Sets

LincolnLogsNext year’s entire line of Lincoln Logs, part of the K’NEX family of brands, will be manufactured in the U.S. by Pride Manufacturing in Burnham, Maine. Following industry trends, Lincoln Logs production was moved overseas during the mid-20th century. K’NEX, which licenses the brand from Hasbro, has been manufacturing Lincoln Logs since 1999.

Pride Manufacturing, the world’s leading supplier of wooden golf tees and related golf accessories, met K’NEX’s requirements for a wood manufacturing facility that could match the precision and detail required for Lincoln Logs. All sets come with a storage container for clean-up, are intended for kids ages 3 and up, and will be available next fall.

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Imports Dragon Grows Sales Team in Toronto

ImportsDragon.logoImports Dragon has added five new members to its Toronto sales team following the successful expansion of its Caillou and Johnny Test product lines in the U.S. market, as well as the continued success of its Shopkins, The Trash Pack, and The Zelfs product lines.

The new additions to the sales team will be working under the leadership of Renee Lochhead, director of sales, who has more than 16 years of experience and joined the Import Dragon team this past July. Other additions include Danny Machado, who has more than 13 years of experience working at Wal-Mart, and Blake Turvey, who has more than 14 years of managerial and corporate development experience.

Gail Benham, Jason Kiss, and Tyler Patriquin round out the new sales team that will be working out of the company’s Mississauga headquarters.

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...]

Toy Fair 2015 Sells Out of Exhibit Space

ToyFair15LogoAs reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), exhibit space for the 112th North American International Toy Fair, scheduled for February 14 to 17, has officially sold out. The show has already surpassed a record-breaking 419,000 net square feet of exhibit space at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, and going forward, prospective Toy Fair exhibitors will be placed on a wait list (under no financial obligation).

The expanded show floor, equivalent in size to more than seven football fields, will feature hundreds of thousands of innovative new toys, games, and youth entertainment products. The North American International Toy Fair draws buyers, licensors, entertainment executives, and other play professionals from 100 countries, who will be on-hand scouting toy trends, spotting unique product lines and brands, and writing orders for next year.

Major global retail outlets already registered to attend include Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, Apple, and Hobby Lobby.

Cyber Monday Marks a Personal Best for Wal-Mart

Walmart.com_Cyber_Monday_Home_PageAs reported by Wal-Mart this past Tuesday, Cyber Monday was the retailer’s biggest online day for orders in its history. Customers viewed more than 1.5 billion pages on walmart.com between Thanksgiving and December 1, aka Cyber Monday, with mobile accounting for approximately 70 percent of traffic to the site between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

Walmart.com’s best-selling Cyber Monday items included the PlayStation 4 500 GB Console Bundle with Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and LittleBigPlanet 3; the Nintendo 3DS XL New Super Mario Bros 2 Limited Edition Handheld; the Xbox One Assassins Creed Unity Bundle; the Skywalker Trampolines 12-Foot Round Trampoline and Safety Enclosure with Blue Spring Pad; and the Lego Giant Creative Tower, with 1,600 pieces and storage box.

This year, more than 100 Cyber Monday specials were available for free same-day pickup at Wal-Mart stores, and orders with same-day pickups increased 70 percent over last year.

Total Spending, Number of Shoppers Down During Black Friday Weekend

As reported by the National Retail Federation (NRF), roughly 87 million Americans visited stores on Black Friday. However, total spending for the long Thanksgiving weekend is projected to be down more than 10 percent from last year’s estimate.

According to an NRF survey released on Sunday, total spending for the four-day weekend is expected to reach $50.9 billion, a decrease of 11.3 percent from last year’s estimate of $57.4 billion. NRF data also estimates that 133.7 million shoppers will have visited stores this weekend, down 5 percent year-over-year and below the expected number of 140.1 million. The survey also estimates flat growth in online sales.

This data follows strong starts reported by some retailers for the Black Friday weekend. Both Wal-Mart Stores and Target Corp. began offering special Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day, beginning at 6 p.m. While neither Wal-Mart nor Target has reported specific sales figures, both claimed a high number of customers that shopped at stores as well as online. [Read more...]

Wal-Mart Doubles Its Cyber Monday Deals

Walmart.com_Cyber_Monday_Home_PageWal-Mart plans to have its biggest Cyber Week to date at walmart.com, offering 500 online deals this year, double the number of cyber deals from last year. Cyber Week at Wal-Mart includes savings on toys and tablets, along with free shipping.

The retailer will kick off Cyber Week on November 29, and every day through December 5, walmart.com will offer deals on 500 items including the Fisher Price Little People Musical Preschool; the PlayStation 4 Lego Batman and Little Big Planet Console Bundle, with choice of extra game and controller; the 2014 Holiday Barbie Doll; the MD Sports 2-Player Basketball Game; and more.

Wal-Mart will also be offering free shipping to customers’ homes on orders totaling $50 or more, as well as free pickup at its stores. In addition, Wal-Mart will offer free same-day pickup at a local store for more than 70,000 items.

Wal-Mart to Offer More Disney Frozen Items than Any Other Retailer

During the coming holiday season, Wal-Mart will offer more than 700 licensed Disney Frozen items, which is more than any other retailer. The toy items include Jakks Pacific’s Frozen Snow Glow Elsa, Blip’s Frozen Dancing Olaf, Disney‘s Frozen Sing-Along DVD, and more.

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...]

Entertainment One Launches Peppa Pig Magazine, Expands U.S. Toy Program

PeppaPigMagEntertainment One Licensing (eOne Licensing) has partnered with Redan Publishing Inc. for a bi-monthly publication based on Peppa Pig. Fun To Learn Peppa Pig Magazine will launch this month at major retailers throughout the U.S., including Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Kroger.

Based on the animated TV show airing daily on Nick Jr., Fun To Learn Peppa Pig Magazine, for children ages 2 to 7, showcases the adventurous and loveable little pig along with her brother George, Mummy Pig, and Daddy Pig. Every issue will feature 36 pages of Peppa-themed activities designed to reinforce early learning skills as well as fun and inventive crafts projects, puzzles, product giveaways, and more.

In addition, a host of new licensed products are slated to make their retail debut in the spring. Better Toyz will offer a range of licensed sporting goods, including ball pits and tents, play balls, skates, scooters, kiddie pools, and skateboards. Fiesta Toys will produce an assortment of Peppa Pig plush and toys for the amusement park channel, from plush novelty hats and peek-a-boo pillows to Rolley bags and backpacks.