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We’ve worked all year for this.

The finish line is in sight as the toy industry races toward the end of another challenging year, but will 2022 be hailed as a victory?

With Hanukkah underway and Christmas fast approaching, many of my usual retail contacts have been conspicuously quiet. As I’ve noted previously, this has been a holiday season filled with mixed messages regarding the overall health of the economy, the state of retail, and the success of the toy industry. One factor that continues to appear true is that foot traffic is up at physical retail, but the basket size may not be lighting up the cash registers in the way that most would hope.

Inventory levels are up across the board at mass retail, and analysts have reported some deceleration in toy sales at a time when they should be accelerating. The good news for consumers that may have waited to shop this season is that there are some great deals out there with really aggressive discounts on a lot of products, including some of this year’s hottest toys!

But can all that inventory move within a week?

While the big boxes remain bursting with product — I was in a Meijer the other night that was shockingly overflowing with toys that had been purged from the stockroom and were infiltrating every nook and cranny where they’d fit — the independent specialty retailers out there may be celebrating some big wins this season. I’m hearing a lot of positivity from toy store owners across the country, and that’s welcome news. Once again, it proves that the old big box mentality of “pile ’em high and watch ’em fly” doesn’t work when the presentation is an unattended mess. Nothing beats folks that know and love toys and can make a real connection with gift-givers. But a lot can change in five days.

No matter what happens to close out 2022 — the business will still be here on Dec. 26 — a new year is on the horizon and we can all mark it as a fresh start — a time to reconfigure, learn from our mistakes, and move forward stronger in 2023!

Related: The Toy Book’s 2022 Innovation & STEM Issue is Here!

Speaking of 2023

While most of the industry is checking out for the holidays, work continues here on the 2023 edition of The BIG Toy Book! Our legendary industry “Bible” is back to kick off The Toy Book‘s 39th volume and you won’t want to be left out! Even though Toy Fair is moving to September, we’re answering the call of the industry to deliver the annual issue that you’ve come to expect from North America’s No. 1 toy industry trade publication.

New product submissions are due this week — Thursday, Dec. 22! Get them in, and if you need to place an ad in the book or discuss our great marketing packages, please contact Jackie Breyer or James Devin to get in on the action!

Happy Holidays, friends!

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.