June 23, 2010
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Toy Story 3 Opens with Box Office Record for Disney-Pixar

Toy Story 3Toy Story 3’s opening weekend earned worldwide box office sales of $153.8 million, according to estimates issued by The Walt Disney Company.
Box office sales in the United States and Canada accounted for $109 million, a Disney-Pixar Animation opening record. The record was previously held by The Incredibles, which sold $70.5 million in May 2004. Only two other animated films, Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third, have opened to sales of more than $100 million. Toy Story 3 sales received a boost from 3-D screenings, which have a higher ticket price. It's estimated that 60 percent of ticket sales were from 3-D screenings.

Disney Unveils TRON-Inspired Toys & Electronics

Disney Consumer Products (DCP) has unveiled its fall lineup of TRON: Legacy inspired electronics and toys, including action figures featuring impulse light projection technology. Walt Disney Picture's TRON: Legacy will hit theaters December 17 in Disney Digital 3D and IMAX 3D.
Featuring dark finishes, neon lighting, and a cyber aesthetic, DCP's new TRON: Legacy line was developed in collaboration with Spin Master, Monster, Performance Designed Products (PDP), Razer and more. TRON products will be available at retail beginning this October.
In addition to the action figures, the line also features core and deluxe vehicles, the TRON Zero Gravity Light Cycle, and more.

Simba Dickie Group to Develop Toys for Kikaninchen

KikaninchenAs a first step in the marketing of Kikaninchen, a new preschool brand by KI.KA, m4e AG has announced that Simba Dickie Group has been named the first partner for the toys/soft-toy sector. Simba Dickie Group will produce an exclusive range of products via its many brands. Nicotoy will develop various Kikanichen soft-toys; Eichhorn will produce a range of wooden toys; Simba Toys will develop creative toys such as painting and handicraft boxes, finger paints, and Softknete modeling clay; Big will offer outdoor toys such as its Big-Bobby-Car and a balance board; and Noris-Spiele will develop games and puzzles. All of the products will debut at the Nuremberg International Toy Fair next February, and should be available at retail the following summer.

New Products to Premiere for Spot’s 30th Anniversary

Spot's 30th AnniversaryChorion has announced a range of new products featuring Spot as he celebrates his 30th anniversary this year. In the U.S., BBC America will release the Spot Goes to School DVD in August and Spot’s Magical Christmas DVD in October. Chorion has also signed a new licensing deal with Zoobies who will make a Spot product to be featured on QVC for “Christmas in July.” Master toy licensee Kids Preferred is expanding its Spot product line to include puzzles, backpacks, bath toys, and wooden toys, which will be released next year.
In the UK, master toy licensee Rainbow Designs will introduce an expanded range of products including puzzles and wooden toys for 2011. Additionally, an exclusive birthday party is planned for August 5 in London for parents and children. 
Additional book titles for Spot from Warne include a 30th anniversary special edition of Where's Spot?, Spot's Birthday Balloon, and Spot's Little Library. Touch and feel books, a book and plush set, and an 18-button sound book are planned for the holiday season.

Pearson Signed as Exclusive Publisher for StinkyKids

StinkyKidsStone America Licensing has announced that Pearson has been appointed the exclusive publisher for StinkyKids soft and hardcover storybooks.
StinkyKids is a doll line that was launched in the fourth quarter of 2009. The dolls are sold at 110 Nordstrom stores, Nordstrom.com, and at FAO Schwarz New York. StinkyKids recently signed Madame Alexander to refill doll reorders and to expand the program to additional specialty, mid-tier, and mass retailers.

 

 

 

Spin Master Files Trademark Lawsuit Against Crayola

CrayolaSpin Master, Ltd. has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against Crayola, LLC and its intellectual property holding company, Crayola Properties, Inc.
The lawsuit alleges that Crayola knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully is infringing and intends to infringe on Spin Master’s Liv trademark with its Liv Crayola line of products that is targeted at young girls. The line launched last June.
Spin Master is seeking damages, attorney's fees, and a permanent injunction barring Crayola from infringing on Spin Master's "Liv" trademark.

 

Zobmondo Loses Petition Regarding “Would You Rather” Trademark

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Zobmondo’s Petition for Rehearing En Banc, regarding a trademark infringement lawsuit Imagination Entertainment Limited filed against the company for Imagination’s Would You Rather trademarks.
Zobmondo requested that the “full bench” reconsider the appellate court’s ruling in Imagination’s favor. No judge on the Ninth Circuit voted in favor of a rehearing.

Report: 40 Percent of Retailers Reduced SKUs Last Year

According to a new Nielsen survey, as reported by Reuters, more than 40 percent of retailers reduced the number of different SKUs on their shelves last year, and nearly the same number expect to make additional cuts. 
According to Nielsen, these cuts can help retailers lower costs, but shoppers may leave stores without making a purchase if they cannot find a specific item. In the Nielsen survey, it was reported that 7 percent of shoppers who did not find their desired personal-care item said they would leave the store without buying an item in the category, with some shoppers saying they would leave the store without buying anything. Nielsen reports that if just 0.5 percent of grocery shoppers were to leave a store without making a purchase, retailers could lose sales up to $1.5 billion.
Walmart recently reported that its program to overhaul stores hurt sales. Last year the retailer removed slower-selling items from shelves, and replaced them with more popular items. However, the company found that not offering some items drove shoppers to other stores. In March, the company said it returned approximately 300 items to U.S. store shelves.

Protest Calls for Improved Conditions for Chinese Toy Factory Workers

New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) has reported that humanitarian group Stop Toying Around held a peaceful protest in Prague. Activists at the protest urged China to improve the living and working conditions of its toy factory workers.
According to NTDTV, 80 percent of world toy production is done in China, and some workers are forced to labor up to 16 hours a day with low pay.

YooHoo & Friends Expands into Tween Market

YooHoo & FriendsAurora World Inc. is expanding its YooHoo & Friends brand into the tween category. New YooHoo & Friends products will include plush, stationery, fashion accessories, decorations, and “snaps.”
Aurora’s “snaps” are approximately one inch in diameter, and can be mixed and matched and fastened to items such as lanyards, totes, accessories, and more.
The six new YooHoo & Friends plush animals include Shooga the Sugar Glider, Lemmee the Lemur, Hapee the Lesser Panda, YooHoo the Bush Baby, Chewoo the Red Squirrel, and Pammee the Fennec Fox. The plush are available in five or eight inches and make a sound when squeezed. Each sports a headband or flower and is embroidered with hearts, peace signs, or words such as “love” and “peace.”
The company is also releasing the YooHoo & Friends Fun Center collection, which includes stationery such as a spiral notebook and doodle pad, decorative accessories such as sticker rolls, and fashion accessories such as an accessory case, laser cut bracelet, and lanyard.

Telltale Games Goes Back to the Future

Back to the FutureTelltale Games has announced a multi-year, two-title video game development deal with Universal Partnerships & Licensing. Telltale Games has secured the rights to create video games based on two of Universal Pictures’ films, Back to the Future and Jurassic Park. The first game released under the agreement will be a Telltale Games “season” based on the Back to the Future films. The first video game based “season” of Back to the Future from Telltale will be released this winter followed shortly by Jurassic Park.

 

2K Play and Nickelodeon Announce Nickelodeon Fit

2K Play and Nickelodeon have announced Nickelodeon Fit, a youth fitness product designed exclusively for the Wii system. Scheduled for release this fall, Nickelodeon Fit provides a new way for kids to stay physically active as they exercise and engage with Dora, Diego, Kai-lan, and The Backyardigans.
Developed in collaboration with physical education and exercise science expert Dr. Jackie Goodway, Nickelodeon Fit features 30 exercise games targeting cardiovascular activity, core muscles, upper and lower body strength, balance, motor skill development, and foot and hand-eye coordination.

TIF Nautical-Themed Distribution Event

Representatives of the Toy Industry Foundation, and approximately 80 pediatric cancer patients and their families who are currently staying at Ronald McDonald House New York, celebrated a “Set Sail for Summer Event” of nautical-themed toys and activities during a toy distribution Monday night. Patients, families, and foundation volunteers made pirate ships and colored water globes, and participated in a Battleship tournament at Ronald McDonald House New York.
Product contributors for the event included Oriental Trading Company, Hasbro, Good Stuff Company, Kreative Learning Toys, Pretty Ugly, and Little Kids.

Madame Alexander

Phyllis Brody Receives ASTRA Lifetime Achievement Award

Phyllis Brody, co-founder of Creativity for Kids, has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). The award recognizes a person who has demonstrated a career of service to the toy industry and who has made a significant contribution to ASTRA’s mission of expanding and improving the specialty toy industry.
Brody co-founded Creativity for Kids more than 30 years ago with a mission to stimulate and encourage childhood creativity. Brody also helped to develop initiatives and programs for specialty toy retailers as a founding board member of ASTRA.

New Children’s Retailer Makes Executive Appointments

Wonder!, a new children’s retailer set to open early next year, has announced the appointments of Mary Drolet to chief marketing and merchandising officer and Joe Milano to chief technology officer. Drolet and Milano join a senior leadership team headed by Bill Colaianni, CEO for the upcoming store.
Drolet will be responsible for overseeing marketing, merchandising, and Wonder!’s in-store customer experience. Previously, Drolet founded and served as CEO for Club Libby Lu, an experiential tween apparel retailer acquired by Saks, Inc. in 2004. Drolet has also held various executive roles in merchandising, marketing, and product development for Montgomery Ward & Co. and Claire’s Stores, Inc.
Milano will oversee all technology and e-commerce functions for Wonder!. He previously served as vice president and general merchandise manager for Shopbop.com, a women’s apparel retailer acquired by Amazon.com in 2006.

VTech Announces Financial Results for Fiscal Year 2009

VTech Holdings, Ltd. has announced its results for the fiscal year, which ended March 31. Group revenue for the fiscal year rose by 5.8 percent over the previous financial year to $1.532 billion. Profit attributable to shareholders of the company grew by 44.2 percent, to $206.5 million. The company reported that the proportionally higher profit was mainly due to spending on advertising and promotions for electronic learning products (ELPs), as well as better foreign exchange risk management.
Basic earnings per share increased by 43.1 percent to 83.7 cents, compared to 58.5 cents last year. The board of directors has proposed a final dividend of 62 cents per ordinary share. Together with the interim dividend of 16 cents per share, this gives a total dividend for the year of 78 cents per ordinary share, an increase of 47.2 percent over the previous financial year.

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