Report: Back-to-School Sales to Increase
According to 2010 sales forecasts, retailers should expect an increase in back-to-school season sales. The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) has predicted a sales increase of 5.4 percent for mid-July through mid-September, as opposed to the decline by 0.4 percent and 2.8 percent in 2008 and 2009, respectively. ICSC predicts that family clothing will have the strongest increase, at 6.5 percent, followed by electronics at 5 percent.
Additionally, the National Retail Federation’s 2010 Consumer Intentions and Actions Back to School survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found that the average American family will spend $606.40 on clothes, shoes, supplies, and electronics, compared to $548.72 last year and $594.24 in 2008. Total spending on school-aged children is expected to reach $21.35 billion.
The survey also found that spending on clothing, shoes, and electronics will take up the majority of consumer’s budgets, with 44.3 percent of consumers planning to spend more on store or generic brands.
Toy Story Becomes UK’s Fifth Largest Toy License, Surpasses 1.7 Million Worldwide App Downloads
The NPD Group has reported that Toy Story has become the UK’s fifth largest toy license and the best-selling movie-based license this year to date. Research from the group indicates that licensed Toy Story 3 toys have sold an estimated £11 million at retail in the UK in the first six months of 2010. Toy Story 2 toy sales in the UK totaled £7 million over the comparable 25-week time period.
By category, Toy Story action figures topped the list of sales, representing almost one-third of all Toy Story toys sold in the UK. Other top categories included building sets, outdoor and sports toys, youth electronics, and games/puzzles.
Toy Story 3 premiered on Monday, July 19 in the UK. In other Toy Story news, coming off the announcement of the company's acquisition of Tapulous, a Palo Alto-based leading developer of music games for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, Disney has announced that the Toy Story 3 app for the iPhone and iPod touch surpassed 1.7 million downloads in less than one month after launching on June 15, timed with the movie's opening weekend. A franchise portal on the iPhone, the Toy Story 3 app lets fans play, personalize, and stay connected to their favorite Toy Story characters, stories, and happenings through both free and premium content. For more information about this app, visit www.itunes.com/waltdisney.
The Juno Company Launches Publishing Line
The Juno Company is launching a publishing line, which will kick off with the release of Juno’s Musical ABCs board book. The board book takes children on a lyrical journey through the alphabet as they learn that “A is for applause” and “W is for waltz.” Brooke Shields will narrate the title, as well as three upcoming storybook CDs. For a limited time, with the purchase of the Juno’s Musical ABCs board book, consumers can register to download a free audio version from JunoBaby.com, narrated by Shields.
As with all Juno Baby products, for every storybook sold, the company will donate a special music education DVD to a child in need, as a part of its The One For All program.
Kids Preferred Picked as Toy Licensee for Biscuit
Kids Preferred has been named the newest licensee for Biscuit, a preschool book series written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illustrated by Pat Schories, and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books. Kids Preferred will develop plush and fabric-based toys, bath toys, accessories, lunch bags, and activity kits.
The Dimensional Branding Group is licensing all categories for the brand, including toys and games, apparel, interactive, collectibles, and room décor.
Talicor Named Distributor for GDC
Talicor has been named the U.S. distributor for GDC GameDevCo, Ltd. Through this relationship Talicor has added to its product line games such as KISS DVD Board Game, Elvis DVD Board Game, Diamond Crosswords, TNA Wrestling DVD Board Game, and Vital Statistics Board Game. Other games include the Decision Day Fantasy Sports games. These come in Baseball, Basketball, Football, and Hockey versions, and the game play is that of having your own fantasy team racing to win the championship. These Fantasy Sports board games come with actual collectible sports cards that you use for game play. You can also incorporate cards from your own collection.
Last but not least is the new Dexter Board Game, which is being released in September. This board game is based on the Showtime series, Dexter.
MGA Entertainment Launches Bitty Buttons Dolls
MGA Entertainment is launching Bitty Buttons, a line of eight different 13-inch rag dolls that each come with its own story and personality based on the different fabrics, from old clothes to blankets, that are used to make them. The dolls are designed to promote ideas of individuality, diversity, and second chances. Each doll is given a significant date as its birthday, ranging from Dictionary Day for Bea Spells-a-Lot to National Cookie Day for Crumbs Sugar Cookie. Each doll also comes with its own specific pet.
Rainbow Designs Granted Wibbly Pig License
BBC Worldwide has granted a master toy license for its preschool children's brand Wibbly Pig to Rainbow Designs. Wibbly Pig is based on the books by Mick Inkpen and the television series adapted by Will Brenton.
Rainbow Designs will develop a line of products including Wibbly Pig wooden toys, plush, games, and puzzles, with the first set appearing in February. Subsequent sets are slated for summer 2011 and early 2012, with a possible expansion into the home ware category.
Super Duper Loses Trademark Battle with Mattel Over “And Say”
A trial court has ruled in favor of Mattel in a lawsuit against Super Duper, a small publisher of special education materials, in a case regarding Super Duper’s right to use “and Say” in educational materials. Super Duper, started 22 years ago in Greenville, S.C., publishes workbooks, card decks, and games for autistic and other learning-disabled children.
In March 2004, Mattel opposed a trademark registration filed by Super Duper for use for the name “Sort and Say” on a line of special education magnetic games. In 2005, Mattel filed to cancel Super Duper’s registered marks of Fish & Say, Fold and Say, and See It!, Say It!. Consequently, Super Duper filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to find that its 15 “Say” trademarks did not infringe on any of Mattel’s trademarks. Mattel claimed that Super Duper’s “Say” trademarks infringed on its See ‘N Say electronic pull toy and asked the court to prevent Super Duper from publishing any materials with the 15 marks and also sought $10 million in damages.
At trial last week, the jury found that seven of Super Duper’s marks infringed upon and diluted Mattel’s trademark. The court awarded Mattel $400,000 in damages plus the right to prevent Super Duper from selling any of their educational products named with the trademarks.
Video Game Based on Silly Bandz in the Works
Zoo Publishing is partnering with Silly Bandz to create and publish a new video game based on the company's variously shaped rubber band bracelets. The video game is expected to release for the iPhone and iTouch in September, with a Nintendo DS version appearing during the holiday season.
Playmates Toys to Debut Michael Jackson Collectibles at Comic-Con
Playmates Toys will unveil its new line of Michael Jackson collectibles at the Diamond Comics display at San Diego Comic-Con, held July 21-25. Earlier this year, Playmates Toys signed a deal with Bravado to create the collectibles based on the late star. The new 10-inch scale collectibles capture the King of Pop’s likeness and fashion, the first of which will be Billie Jean complete with Jackson’s outfit worn in the music video. The second collectible, Thriller, is fashioned in the iconic red with black trim outfit. The collectibles will launch this fall, followed by additional styles.
Bakugan Battle League to Storm Toys "R" Us Stores
Spin Master is partnering with Toys "R" Us to bring Bakugan tournaments to 300 stores nationwide. The Bakugan Battle League will last five months beginning this Saturday, July 24, and running until Saturday, November 13. Participants bring their own Bakugan Battle Brawlers to the event in order to compete and can work their way up a ladder.
As a part of the unique, story-based league, how kids play events can directly affect how the story unfolds. Each game point won during the course of the league will count as a vote for what they want to happen next. Participants will receive a Bakugan membership card, league book, exclusive Special Ability Card, as well as be able to receive gifts during giveaways. A special commemorative certificate, available to those who complete the league, will be presented during the finale.
Kikaninchen Adds to Its Licensing Family
Grünwald-based brand management and media company m4e AG is expanding its list of licensees for its preschool brand Kikaninchen.
Publishing houses Carlsen-Verlag Hamburg and arsEdition Munich have signed on to produce various books. Carlsen Verlag will publish Kikaninchen mini-books within the PIXI series, coloring books, and storybooks. The Kikaninchen books by arsEdition will include activity themes such as songbooks, Play & Learn, and puzzle books.
Berlin’s Universal Music Family Entertainment will expand the Kikaninchen product range in the music and home entertainment sector with an album of songs that will hit the market this holiday season. The company will also release the first Kikaninchen DVD as early as next spring. More audio and DVD products will be released thereafter.