August 03, 2012

 Top Trumps

ABC Kids Expo

Back-to-School Spending on the Rise

The National Retail Federation’s 2012 Back-to-School spending survey, conducted by BIGinsight, reveals that the average American with children in grades K-12 will spend $688.62 on their children, up nearly $80.00 from last year. Total spending is expected to reach $30.3 billion. Combined, K-12 and college spending will reach $83.8 billion, making the back-to-school shopping season the second biggest consumer spending event for retailers, behind the winter holidays.
NRF attributes the jump to more children entering elementary and middle school this fall and parents hitting the stores to replace and replenish what kids had to “make-do” with last year. Parents are expected to spend the most on clothing, accessories, and electronics this summer—an estimated average of $246.10 on clothes and $217.88 on electronics. Nearly 60 percent will invest in some sort of electronic device. Additionally, the average person with children in grades K-12 will spend $129.20 on shoes and $95.44 on school supplies, such as notebooks, pencils, and backpacks.
More families say they will shop at department stores and online for school items as they look to get the best bang for their buck. Nearly 60 percent will take advantage of department stores’ private label offerings and exclusive product lines, up from 57 percent last year and the highest in the survey’s 10-year history. Parents will also search the Internet for free shipping and other promotions. Nearly 40 percent will take their school shopping lists online, up from 31.7 percent last year and nearly doubling since 2007, when 21.4 percent planned to shop online.

Walmart to Launch Diary of a Wimpy Kid Exclusive Retail Campaign

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog DaysThe Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise is anything but wimpy. In preparation for the release of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days on August 3, Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products will launch a national retail campaign with Walmart, making the world’s largest retailer a One Stop Wimpy Shop. Beginning July 31, more than 2,500 stores nationwide will carry a full range of products including exclusive merchandise that can only be purchased at Walmart. The program will remain in stores through August 28.
As the third installment of the film arrives in theaters, Walmart will carry all of the books in Jeff Kinney’s best-selling series, board games, and DVDs. Walmart will also feature several exclusive products, including a Wimpy Kid Mini Prank Kit, from Cardinal Industries, containing a whoopee cushion, moldy cheese, and flies in ice, all packaged in a collectible tin; a line of book accessories, including bookmarks and book lights from Andrews + Blaine and Trends International; and a two-pack DVD set featuring the films Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.
The One Stop Wimpy Shop will offer an updated book, The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary: How Greg Heffley Went Hollywood, that chronicles how each of the three movies in the franchise were made. The book includes behind-the-scenes photos, fun facts, and a free limited-edition movie poster.

ChiTAG Adds Fashion Show

The Chicago Toy & Game Fair, the largest toy and game fair in the U.S. that is open to the public, will be held from November 17 to 18. New this year, there will be a toy and game fashion show held prior to the fair on November 14. The event will serve as a pre-press party for the TAGIE Awards and ChiTAG Fair. ChiTAG brings together consumers, families, inventors, manufacturers, retailers, educators, hobbyists, and the media at the start of the holiday season.

TIA to Host Anti-Counterfeiting Webinar

Current and emerging issues related to the global problem of counterfeit toys will be the focus of a Toy Industry Association-hosted webinar to be held on August 21. Open to all toy industry stakeholders, the webinar will provide participants with a deeper understanding of complex anti-counterfeiting laws; the government’s role in combating counterfeiting; and suggested measures and tools to protect individual brands.
Presented by Justin Pierce, whose legal practice at Venable, LLP, covers a wide range of intellectual property matters, the one-hour webinar will explore legal framework of anti-counterfeiting laws, border measures, the rise of rogue websites selling counterfeit goods, and prevention.
Additional details about the session, including registration information, will be made available in the coming days on the “education” page of the TIA website.
Counterfeiting was also a topic of discussion at the TIA’s annual National Summer Credit Conference, which brings eligible TIA member companies together to share and discuss vital credit-related information to help protect their bottom line. This year, the conference was held from July 16 and 17 at the Depot Renaissance Hotel in Minneapolis, Minn.

Kids Fun Expo Attracts Leading Toy Brands

KIds Fun ExpoThe China Toys & Animation Educational Expo, also known as the Kids Fun Expo, attracted more than 106,000 visitors and more than 200 leading brands from some 30 countries to the annual event in Beijing, which ended July 22.
Hosted by China Toy & Juvenile Products Association, the Kids Fun Expo is an educational event in toys, animation, and the juvenile products industry in China held in July of each year. This was the third annual event.
Each year, an increasing number of international toy brands are attracted to exhibit and showcase their products at the event. This year 200 international toy brands, including Hasbro, Lego, SIKU, Schleich, Hape, Takara Tomy, Bachmann, PlentyPlay, Beleduc, Play-Doh, Silverlit, and LaQ, attended. The show also attracted leading Chinese domestic brands such as Xinghui, Alpha, Kurhn, Muwan, Kayee, and Lungcheong.

Spin Master Launches New La Dee Da Doll Line

La Dee Da dollsSpin Master, Ltd., will launch its new fashion doll line, La Dee Da, on August 9 in Times Square. La Dee Da is a fashion label created by a New York City teen named Dee and her three best friends, Tylie, Cyanne, and Sloane. La Dee Da invites real girls to create, imagine, and express themselves through a new kind of fashion play, where everyday things inspire unexpected fashions.
The event will reveal the entire La Dee Da line, including its Signature Dee Doll, Sweet Party Collection, and Runway Vacay line, as well as host a variety of activities including face painting, photo opportunities, iPad games, DJ dance party, raffles, and celebrities. The event is free to the public, for kids ages 5 and up, and will be located on Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets.
The complete Dee Da line is available now at leading retailers and specialty stores throughout the U.S. and Canada, and online at

Harrod’s Toy Kingdom to Feature Madame Alexander Dolls

The Madame Alexander Doll Factory and Middleton Doll Newborn Nursery have opened within Harrods new Toy Kingdom.  
 The Madame Alexander Doll Factory provides a creative interactive experience designed to stimulate the imagination as girls create the doll of their dreams. The Madame Alexander Doll Factory also allows girls to customize their doll using a range of skin tones, eye colors, hairstyles, and outfits.
The Middleton Doll Newborn Nursery offers children a fun, lifelike adoption process where they can choose from eight different baby dolls with the help of a uniformed NN Nurse. All dolls go through a check-up that comes with an adoption certificate. The NN is complete with a full line of outfits and baby accessories so a child can customize a doll based on their imagination and wishes.
Kahn Lucas recently acquired Madame Alexander. The new deal allows Kahn Lucas to bring retailers new opportunities combining entertainment and shopping.

StinkyKids, Jarrett Creative Team Up for StinkyKids Animation

StinkyKidsStinkyKids LLC, has entered into a project collaboration agreement with Jarrett Creative to develop and produce an animated series based on the award-winning StinkyKids books. The series, designed for preschool and early grade-school kids, includes content for broadcast and digital distribution across multiple channels worldwide.
The StinkyKids animated series features Britt, a 6-year-old girl with flaming bright red hair and personality to match, along with her nine colorful friends. Featuring diverse characters, StinkyKids are little stinkers who learn to make the right choices through their childhood mistakes. The series is based on the books StinkyKids and the Runaway Scissors and StinkyKids See a Full Moon. StinkyKids Have a Heart, the third book, is set for release on August 10 from Raven Tree Press. The book deals with bullying and the harm that can result from unkindness.
In addition to the books, StinkyKids debuted as a musical this spring and will run through September at the Riverside Theater in New York City.

TCG Appoints Lisle Licensing for Roxx Expansion in Europe, Australia, and Middle East

RoxxTCG has appointed Lisle International Licensing as its licensing and merchandising agent for the Roxx brand in Europe (including UK), Australia, New Zealand, and emerging markets, including Russia and the Middle East.
Roxx is a competitive game of skill featuring edgy game pieces that appeal to school-age and tween boys. The Roxx line includes the collectible pieces, carrying and display cases, and additional accessories all sporting edgy designs that make the brand recognizable and appealing.
Roxx will roll from toys and collectibles into apparel, hats, shoes, stationery, and plush. In addition, Lisle will implement Roxx promotions in packaged goods and at fast food chains.

Toy Design Veteran Releases First Book

Bruce Lund, founder of Lund and Company Invention LLC, has published his first book and it is available on Amazon and CreateSpace. Bruce’s Beliefs: Everything I Know About Business (and Life), I Learned Playing with Toys is a look at Lund’s career in the toy business and his belief that toys have the power to change the world.
Paperback and digital versions (Kindle) of Bruce’s Beliefs are available for order on Amazon and CreateSpace, or by calling Lund and Company Invention directly at (708) 689-8233. Special autographed copies may also be ordered through Lund and Company Invention.

Morphology Adds Richard Gill to Board of Directors

Morphology Games has announced the addition of Richard Gill, former co-owner of Pictionary and game developer, to its board of directors. 
An experienced game developer, Gill co-owned the popular game Pictionary and developed the game into an international success. Gill also helped to make Trivial Pursuit a worldwide brand, heading up the international business division focusing on sales outside of North America. Since then, Gill has continued his involvement in the toy and game industry with his consulting business, NH Contract Management, where he works as a board member, game developer, and advisor to several companies.

Mega Brands Releases Second Quarter Financial Results

Mega Brands, Inc., has released financial results for the second quarter, which ended June 30.
Consolidated net sales increased 13 percent to $94.5 million, compared to $83.9 million in the corresponding period last year.
Toy sales increased 14 percent compared to the second quarter of last year, driven by higher product shipments in the preschool and boys construction categories. Toy sales have increased year-over-year in 10 of the last 11 quarters.
Sales of stationery and activity products were up 10 percent, the fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth in this segment.
On a geographical basis, North American sales were 18 percent higher and international sales were stable, with sales growth offset by unfavorable currency changes.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) increased 21 percent to $9.2 million, compared to $7.6 million in the second quarter of last year.
For the six-month period that ended June 30, EBITDA was $7.1 million, compared to $3.8 million in the corresponding period last year.
Net earnings were $1.6 million, or $0.10 basic per share, compared to $0.3 million, or $0.02 basic per share, in the second quarter of last year.

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