July 21, 2010
Top Trumps


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

JunoThe 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

BiscuitKids 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

BakuganSpin 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.

Madame Alexander

Scholastic Names New SVP, President of Klutz

Matt Brown has been named senior vice president of Scholastic, Inc. and president of Klutz, the publisher of “books plus” for children and a division of Scholastic. In Brown’s new position, he will lead the creative direction of the Klutz publishing program and will manage the strategic development of the Klutz brand. Brown will assume his new responsibilities on September 7, and will report to Ellie Berger, president of the trade publishing division of Scholastic.
Most recently, Brown was the co-founder of Big Boing, LLC. Brown also worked at LeapFrog, where he co-founded and led the internet division, and co-founded and was president of Primordial, LLC, the creator of Zoob.

Hasbro Reports Second Quarter 2010 Results

Hasbro, Inc. reported its second quarter 2010 results. The company reported net earnings of $43.6 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, an increase of $4.4 million or 11 percent, compared to $39.3 million, or $0.26 per diluted share, in 2009. Net revenues totaled $737.8 million, compared to $792.2 million a year ago, a decrease of 7 percent. Foreign exchange impact added a positive $1.6 million to revenues in the quarter.
By category, games and puzzles increased 22 percent to $262.2 million, the preschool category grew 32 percent to $103.5 million; the girls’ category stayed flat at $133.2 million, and the boys’ category fell 34 percent to $238.8 million.

Mattel Reports Financial Results for Second Quarter 2010

Mattel, Inc. reported its second quarter 2010 net income totaled $51.6 million, or $0.14 per share, compared to last year's second quarter net income of $21.5 million, or $0.06 per share.
For the quarter, net sales were $1.02 billion, up 13 percent compared to $898.2 million last year. Second quarter gross sales increased 17 percent in the U.S. and increased 9 percent in international markets. Operating income for the quarter was $69.4 million, compared to last year's second quarter operating income of $32.5 million.
For the quarter, worldwide gross sales for the Mattel girls & boys brands business unit were $653.2 million, up 21 percent versus a year ago. Gross sales for the Fisher-Price brands business unit were $385.2 million, up 4 percent compared to 2009. Second quarter gross sales for the American Girl brands business unit were $58.9 million, down 4 percent versus last year.

RC2 Reports 2010 Results for the Second Quarter and Six Months

RC2 Corporation has announced its results for the second quarter and six months ended June 30, 2010. The company reported net income for the second quarter 2010 of $3.8 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, compared with $3.3 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, for the second quarter 2009. The company reported net income for the six months ended June 30, 2010, of $7.2 million, or $0.33 per diluted share, compared with $5.1 million, or $0.29 per diluted share for the six months ended June 30, 2009.
Net sales for the second quarter 2010 decreased by 1.1 percent to $86.1 million compared with net sales of $87 million for the second quarter in 2009. Net sales for the first six months in 2010 increased by 0.5 percent to $174.2 million compared with net sales of $173.3 million for the first six months in 2009.

Price for Naphtha, Used in Toys, Falls to 10-Month Low

According to Bloomberg, Asian prices for naphtha, which is used to make chemicals and plastics in toys, fell 0.8 percent to $631.25 a ton this week, a 10-month low compared to crude oil. The price is $57 more than Brent crude, according to Bloomberg, but down 61 percent from $147 in December and is the lowest premium for any July since 2005.
Bloomberg attributes the low demand to manufacturers delaying production of toys for the holiday season as “tax increases and unemployment sap orders from Europe,” which the news organization reports is the destination for approximately 20 percent of China’s exports. Demand for naphtha typically rises as the start of August, during the holiday season production boost, but now it is expected that production will rise at the end of August or the beginning of September.
Bloomberg reports that naphtha prices have fallen 14 percent this year, while crude in New York has fallen 3.2 percent.

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