January 05, 2012


 Toy Fest West

Late Retail Shoppers Increase December Sales

Late holiday shoppers—both in the week leading up to Christmas and on the day after—boosted sales and increased the likelihood that this holiday season outpaced the same period last year.
According to ShopperTrak, a provider of retail and mall foot-traffic counting services, consumers spent approximately $44 billion in retail sales for the week ending December 24, a 37.8 percent increase over the previous week and a 14.8 percent gain over the same week last year. Foot traffic was also high, increasing 32.4 percent from the previous week.
According to ShopperTrak, a late holiday shopping surge is not uncommon. Last year, the 10 days before Christmas accounted for 24.4 percent of retail sales in the entire holiday shopping season of November and December.
Day after Christmas sales ranked fourth in foot-traffic and sales for the entire holiday season, behind Black Friday, December 23, and December 17. Foot traffic increased 25.9 percent over the same day last year, and consumers spent $7.1 billion on December 26 in retail sales, an increase of 25.5 percent over the same day last year.
ShopperTrak analyzed foot-traffic from more than 25,000 locations in the U.S. to create this National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE) of general merchandise, apparel and accessories, furniture, and other sales.

Koelnmesse Partners with TJPA to Co-Host China Kids Expo

China Kids ExpoKoelnmesse and the China Toy & Juvenile Products Association (TJPA) recently announced a collaboration that will see the German trade fair organizer co-hosting the China International Baby Carriers & Baby Articles Fair (China Kids Expo), which will be held October 11-13 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in China. The partners aim to maximize the synergy of both parties to establish China’s only international showcase platform for the industry.
As the driving force behind juvenile products fair Kind+Jugend, Koelnmesse will lend its expertise and contacts to give China Kids Expo a worldwide reach.
China Kids Expo co-locates with the 11th Trade Fair for Toys & Hobby, which is also organized by TJPA. Organizers project more than 1,000 exhibitors to participate at the events, which span approximately 80,000 square-meters in total, including 500 companies at China Kids Expo.
For more information, visit www.china-kids-expo.com.

TIA to Host In-Depth Toy Safety Compliance Update During Toy Fair

The Toy Industry Association’s 2012 Toy Safety Compliance Update will be held on Tuesday, February 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. during the American International Toy Fair. The annual seminar is an opportunity for members of the toy industry to hear the latest news and developments related to toy safety laws and other recent legislative and regulatory activities, trends, and emerging issues.
Expanding on the format of recent years, this year’s three-hour session will include presentations from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The in-depth seminar will provide detailed information on toy safety standards, laws, and compliance requirements in the U.S. and abroad.
The session will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Special Events Hall (1D) of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The seminar is free to TIA members; the non-member fee is $149.

Round 2 Selects M&D Int’l to Represent Die-Cast Brands

Round 2, LLC has selected M&D International Distributors, Inc. to be exclusive representatives for its Auto World die-cast and Ertl American Muscle die-cast brands. International Hobbycraft Co. will continue to represent Round 2 model kit brands—AMT, MPC, and Polar Lights, as well as Auto World slot cars and sets— to international markets.



Imperial Toy Signs on for Lalaloopsy

LalaloopsyImperial Toy, LLC has signed a licensing agreement with MGA Entertainment to manufacture products based on the whimsical Lalaloopsy property. Imperial plans to produce novelty toys available beginning this fall, and Lalaloopsy bubble toys and sand and beach toys beginning in spring 2013 at retailers nationwide.
MGA Entertainment’s Lalaloopsy dolls are a collection of rag dolls that magically came to life when their very last stitch was sewn. Each Lalaloopsy was sewn on a special day and has her own personality developed by the fabric used to make her.
Imperial’s novelty toy line is expected to include play lanterns, projectors, wind-up toys, and flashlights. The bubble toys for spring 2013 will feature a comprehensive product line of single and multi-packs of bubbles, bulk bubbles, figural bubble bottles, bubble jewelry, bubble machines, bubble party favors, and other bubble toys. The sand and beach toys product lines for spring 2013 will feature buckets, sand molds, shovels, sifters, sprinklers, and more.

4Kids’ Yu-Gi-Oh License Still in Effect

Yu-Gi-Oh!According to several sources, including ICv2, t he termination of 4Kids’ license to the Yu-Gi-Oh! property was improperly noticed and otherwise flawed, Judge Shelley Chapman ruled in federal bankruptcy court, meaning that 4Kids’ license is still in effect. The termination, by NAS and TV Tokyo, was over alleged improper accounting for royalties due the rights holders and other issues that resulted in alleged underpayments. 
In addition to sending 4Kids a termination notice, the rights holders also sued 4Kids in federal court. 4Kids filed for reorganization under bankruptcy law as a result, and the dispute with NAS and TV Tokyo was moved to the bankruptcy court. The bankruptcy judge ruled that most of the claims for amounts due from 4Kids were invalid, making the termination notice flawed. The termination was also given without allowing 4Kids time to cure, as was required by the contract. 
4Kids began airing the new Yu-Gi-Oh! series, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, on Toonzai in October.
4Kids is in court-supervised, mediated settlement talks with the Yu-Gi-Oh! rights holders.

Wimpy Kid Wins Restraining Order

According to Publishers Weekly, the Wimpy Kid book brand won a temporary restraining order against Antarctic Press, publisher of two Wimpy Kid parody graphic novels. Last week, Wimpy Kid, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Antarctic Press for trademark and trade dress infringement, based on the similar appearance of the Zombie Kid books to the Wimpy Kid series.
Antarctic has assented to the proposed restraining order, and will contact its vendors to stop selling the books within three days. However, according to court papers, the two sides are negotiating a more permanent solution.
Two Zombie Kid books by Fred Perry and David Hutchison came out this year, duplicating the typography, trade dress and even color schemes of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Rodrick Rules—and without the “parody” stamp often used to protect such humorous efforts.
In addition to trademark infringement, Wimpy Kid book publisher Abrams is claiming false designation of origin, trademark dilution and tarnishment, and unfair competition against Antarctic.

Nintendo to Launch App Store for Next Generation Console

According to The Daily, the Wii U, Nintendo's next home console that uses a tablet as a controller, will launch with its own app store and apps. While Nintendo currently offers the DSi Shop for its portable devices and the Wii Shop for its Wii console, the new app store for Wii U will go far beyond the usual games and basic utilities currently offered.
Wii U owners will be able to use apps that operate on the Wii U itself, making it more like a traditional tablet computer. It’s unknown whether Nintendo plans to monetize its app store with a points system, which it currently uses for WiiWare and DSiWare, or with a pay-to-play system.

Federal Judge Rules that Marvel Owns Ghost Rider Rights
Ghost RiderA federal judge ruled that comic book writer Gary Friedrich signed away his rights to Ghost Rider and cannot sue Marvel Entertainment for copyright infringement, according to Courthouse News Service.
Friedrich sued Marvel in 2007, claiming there was no dispute that he conceived and wrote the storyline of "Ghost Rider." Friedrich said that Marvel and dozens of other companies improperly used his storyline for an unauthorized film adaptation. The 2007 film starring Nicolas Cage earned $228 million worldwide, and a sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, is scheduled for release in February.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest’s summary judgment to Marvel, a 19-page order, states: "This Court finds that there were at least two moments in time when Friedrich definitively conveyed by contract to Marvel all rights of whatever nature, including any renewal rights to the Character and the Work: (1) at the time of payment for the initial creation of the Character and Work in 1971 and 1972; and (2) in a separate contract signed in 1978 by Friedrich and Marvel Comics Group, a division of Cadence Industries Corporation.”

Zingone Plays The Name Game

Robin ZingoneRobin Zingone has named Holly Rawlinson, president and owner of The Name Game, LLC as the exclusive licensing agent to launch and coordinate a global licensing program for robin zingone brands. The agreement includes the robinzingone signature brand for w omen, along with tween character brand Cocomimilulu , the kawaii brand loveMe robin zingone and the collectible brand Girlygirl robin zingone.
The initial focus will be on a wide array of product categories, including stationery and crafts, back to school, apparel and accessories, toys and games, social expression, and home décor.

Sears Holdings Names Ron Boire to Lead Merchandising and Store Formats

Sears Holdings has announced that Ron Boire has joined the company as executive vice president, chief merchandising officer, and president, Sears and Kmart formats. Boire comes to Sears Holdings from Brookstone, Inc., where he was president and CEO. 
In this new role, Boire will lead merchandising and retail stores for both the Sears and Kmart brands. He will work with the leadership team to “better serve customers by integrating their experiences across stores, online, services, and mobile capabilities.”
“We are in the midst of a transformation of our business, from top to bottom, as we seek to become the leading integrated retailer in the country,” said Lou D'Ambrosio, Sears Holdings’ CEO and president. “By attracting someone with Ron’s significant experience in retail, merchandising, and product development as well as in leading companies through turnarounds, we’re adding a key talent in accelerating our transformation.”
Prior to Brookstone, Boire served as president, U.S. Toys, North America for Toys “R” Us from 2006 to 2009, overseeing merchandising, marketing, and operations for 600 stores in the U.S. and 70 in Canada.  

Dark Horse Promotes Parkinson

Dark Horse has promoted its former director of online marketing, Matt Parkinson, to the newly appointed title of senior director of marketing. Parkinson, who celebrated his sixth year with the company in 2011, will be moving into new responsibilities in overseeing the Dark Horse marketing department.
In his time at Dark Horse, Parkinson has been an instrumental part of the brand’s growth online, through the development and execution of advertising, cross promotions, and social-media strategies.


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