Author: Guest Contributor

The Toy Association Surveys Members to Gauge Sears, Kmart Risk

The Toy Association continues to closely monitor court activity and news related to Sears Holdings Corp.’s bankruptcy proceedings, including developments as the company passes through the holiday selling season and as it seeks both financing and asset sales to avoid liquidation. Sears Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Oct. 15, listing $6.9 billion in assets and a significant and concerning $11.3 billion in liabilities, according to court filings. Sears Holding also announced the closing of 142 of its 700 stores by the end of the year (in addition to 46 previously announced store closures), throwing into doubt the future...

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How Retailers Can Have a Successful Holiday Season

Image: Newsday by Dax Dasilva, Lightspeed  It seems like the holidays sneak up on us every year. It’s not that we don’t know that they’re not coming, but in a lot of cases, it’s not something that we plan for as early as we should. If you’ve been in the toy business for any amount of time, you know holidays are the biggest season for toy retailers. According to the NPD Group, nearly 50 percent of all toy sales occur at this time of year. Using inventory, employee, and sales data effectively can have a substantial, positive impact on a...

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Toy Industry: The Spanish Market

THOUGHTS ON THE CURRENT TOY MARKET From JUGUETES Magazine, Spain The Spanish toy market is currently immersed in a whole new scenario. The economic results from 2017 were not what the industry expected, and that influenced activity this year, which will also impact next year. Meanwhile, society is experiencing big changes that are affecting companies’ results, in addition to a low birth rate and the effect the Internet is having on consumption. With this new gradual paradigm, industry actors are expected to have more agility when it comes to giving answers and responding to new consumer demands.  With this...

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Smart Packaging Tool Now Available to Toy Association Members

by Laurie Chartorynsky, The Toy Association The Toy Association worked with The Walt Disney Co. to bring Disney’s Smart Packaging Initiative (SPI) to Toy Association members. The SPI is an online design tool to help improve the environmental performance of toy packaging and create a better experience for consumers.  A November 8 webinar will provide toy companies with in-depth details on the tool, including instructions for access and a step-by-step guide for using the platform to design smart packaging and compare their packaging’s environmental score against industry benchmarks. The webinar is open to all toy industry professionals. Did You Know? One-third of...

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Toy Association, NPD Group Provide New Research on U.S. Collectibles Toy Market

by Laurie Chartorynsky, The Toy Association Looking to learn more about how to compete in the U.S. toys collectibles market? The Toy Association reached out to The NPD Group to conduct in-depth research that will help companies take a deep dive into the popular toy category.   “Kids love toys in blind bags, regular and rare mini-figures, or those playthings with an unboxing component, especially as toymakers continue to offer fresh and unique collectibles that appeal to all ages and interests,” said Anne McConnell, The Toy Association’s senior director of market research and data strategy. “This big trend has reverberated across...

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How to Make Your Dream Toy Happen

by WENDY SMOLEN, founder, wendysmolen.com Israeli startup Particula recently re-imagined the Rubik’s Cube, originally created in 1974 and considered one of the most popular toys ever made. Like Rubik’s, the GoCube challenges players to configure 54 colored blocks on a cube. The difference is that GoCube uses technology to enable players to compete around the world, offers instructions and helpful hints, and, for advanced gamers, has a timer and move analysis. The “aha!” moment came when a group of engineers idly playing with an original Rubik’s Cube wondered why they couldn’t play together. Research, development, invention, and fundraising ensued....

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The Changing Retail Landscape and the Importance of Influencers

Tips from a Small Entrepreneurial Entertainment Company by JOCHEM VAN RIJN, co-president, YULU I started YULU about three years ago with Thijmen de Schipper, my close college friend, shortly after we completed our graduate study in business at the University of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. We were both sports fans, so our very first product was an outdoor paddle game called Helix Fun. The paddles were made from wood and we manufactured the product in the Netherlands, where we were both living at the time. We didn’t know anything about the toy business, retail sales, or even how to manufacture...

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Bright Lights, Toy City

Project Manager-Merchandising Raina Khumush Discusses Party City’s New Holiday Pop-Up Shops What is the strategy behind Party City’s Toy City pop-up shops? Are the shops a test for potential permanent toy locations? Party City is expanding our temporary store offerings through the expected piloting of approximately 50 new Toy City pop-up stores. We will launch the temporary Toy City sites alongside our Halloween City pop-up stores to allow for an integrated and seamless shopping and checkout experience. The creation of the Toy City concept complements our current seasonal retail strategy and is a logical extension of our brand—one that...

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MOMENTUM BUILDING FOR TRADITIONAL TOYS AND GAMES

Traditional Toys and Games Are Set to Fully Recover in 2019 by MATTHEW HUDAK, senior analyst, Euromonitor International The global toy market is taking a significant hit from the loss of Toys “R” Us, largely within the U.S. market. The headwinds from Toys “R” Us are further compounded by the impact of the Nintendo Switch, which will likely siphon more sales from traditional toys and games in 2018 than it did last year. However, these difficulties should begin to subside in 2019, and the traditional toy market will start to return to a more stable level of annual growth,...

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The Holiday Landscape Without Toys ‟R” Us

by JULI LENNETT, senior vice president, industry advisor, toys, The NPD Group A lot has happened in the last six months since the big announcement that Toys ‟R” Us would be liquidating its stores in the U.S. Based on some of the news reports in mid-March, when this was first announced, you might have predicted that the sky would have fallen by now and the toy industry would be a shell of itself. Well, that didn’t happen. Why not? As I wrote in my blog back in March, NPD found that when parents bought a toy last year at Toys ‟R” Us,...

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