August 17, 2011

Laser Pegs

Tomy Acquires Boon, Inc. and Keen Distribution

Tomy International has completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Boon, Inc. and Keen Distribution, LLC, together Boon/Keen. Boon/Keen is a privately held developer, marketer, and distributor of mother, infant, and toddler products. Boon-branded feeding, bath, décor, and organization products feature convenience with a modern design. Keen Distribution serves as the exclusive U.S. marketer and distributor for Bumbo International, manufacturer of the Bumbo Baby Seat, and products from UK-based The Gro Company.
Tomy International funded the acquisition with approximately $20 million from its existing cash. Boon/Keen’s senior management will retain approximately 20 percent carry-over ownership. Other terms of the transaction were not disclosed.  

Import Cargo Volume Declines, Increase Expected During the Fall

Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to remain below last year’s level for the remainder of the summer, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates. However, the report predicted year-over-year gains for import cargo volume again this fall as retailers begin to stock up for the holiday season.
According to the report, U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.25 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in June, the latest month for which numbers are available. That was down 2.6 percent from May and 5 percent from June 2010. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent.
A continued decline is expected for July, which was estimated at 1.3 million TEU, down 5.7 percent from July 2010. August is forecast at 1.4 million TEU, a 1.6 percent decrease from a year ago. Year-over-year increases are expected to resume in September, which is forecast at 1.48 million TEU, up 10.4 percent from last year. October is forecast at 1.46 million TEU, up 8 percent from last year; November at 1.31 million TEU, up 6.2 percent; and December at 1.18 million TEU, up 3 percent. The first half of 2011 totaled 7.15 million TEU, up 3.9 percent from the first half of 2010, and the full year is forecast at 15.28 million TEU, up 3.6 percent from 2010.

DaGeDar Serves as Sponsor for Skateboarding Tour

DaGeDarCepia, LLC recently released its DaGeDar products and now the brand has teamed up with Tony Hawk and Birdhouse Skateboards for the “MIA to NYC” skateboarding tour. As one of the tour’s sponsors, DaGeDar will host a variety of activities and giveaways at each of the nine stops along the East Coast. DaGeDar, battle balls with steel core centers, challenges kids’ creativity and encourages imaginative play with tracks, loops, and stunts performed by hundreds of racing balls, each one with its own graphic and character spirit. Visit www.dagedar.com for more information and to see the Birdhouse Tour schedule.

 



BBC Preschool Series 3rd & Bird! to Air in September

3rd & Bird3rd & Bird!, the BBC preschool series from Josh Selig and Little Airplane Productions, will premiere in the U.S. on Monday, September 26. Disney Channel’s Disney Junior programming block will air all 25 episodes, which run at 20 minutes each, weekdays at 12 p.m. ET/PT and weekends at 6:30 a.m. ET/PT. There will also be an additional holiday special. 
Created in photo-puppetry animation, a style of animation created by Little Airplane, each episode of 3rd & Bird! features music and songs revolving around the lives of birds Muffin Lovebird, Samuel, and their friend Rudy, who live, learn, and play in the branches of a majestic tree. The series helps children develop social skills through stories told about diversity, tolerance, and perseverance. International recording artist Ziggy Marley is among the show’s guest stars and provides the voice of Ziggy the Parrot. BBC Worldwide is currently seeking licensed consumer products partners for the U.S., across all major categories.     

Ganz Acquires Gift and Home Décor Company

Ganz has purchased Danielson Designs, a gift and home décor company located in Trinidad, Colo. Danielson Designs specializes in gift and wall décor “with a story,” inspired by family, love, travel, vintage literature, and special events. Danielson Designs will continue to operate as usual, and the Ganz sales team will represent the company’s complete product offering.

Application for World of Toys in Hong Kong Due September 30

World of ToysSpielwarenmesse eG is taking its World of Toys pavilion to the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, to be held January 9-12. In the pavilion, exhibitors can present their products and make contacts in the Asia-Pacific region. To exhibit in the World of Toys international fair program, companies must apply by September 30. So far, 13 companies from eight countries have applied, already more than half of the participants in 2011. Twenty-five companies from 11 countries exhibited their products at the pavilion in 2011. 
The Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair is organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC). The organization promotes Hong Kong’s international economic relationships and hosts four fairs at once in January: The Hong Kong Baby Products Fair, the Hong Kong Stationery Fair, the Hong Kong International Licensing Show, and the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair. All the fairs will take place in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. For more information and the application, click here.

Target Expands Trade-in Service to Include New Stores and Categories

Target has expanded its Electronics Trade-in service, offered in partnership with NextWorth, to 1,490 stores where Target Mobile centers are located. Target has also expanded the service to new product categories. The trade-in service at Target is now accepting calculators and DVDs, in addition to iPods, iPads, iPhones, cell phones, Nintendo DS units, and video games. Through a partnership with NextWorth, Target says it will ensure that guests are given fair and accurate values for their trade-ins. Products are evaluated on-site, and values are determined based on the model and condition of the item. Guests then receive a prepaid card for the value of the trade to put toward their next Target purchase. Guests can also participate in the Electronics Trade-in service online at www.NextWorth.com, where they have the choice of cash or a gift card for their trade-in. The online service also offers free, fully insured UPS shipping.

AMT to Release Munsters Model Kits

AMT MunstersAMT, a brand of Round 2, LLC, has announced that the Munster Koach and Grandpa’s Drag-U-La, the classic vehicle model kits based on The Munsters TV series, will be returning this fall in individual cardboard boxes, decked out in the original packaging art.
These 1/25-scale kits are Skill Level 2, require paint and cement, and will be creeping into hobby stores in Q4. The products are licensed by NBCUniversal Television Consumer Products Group.
This release of the Drag-U-La marks the first time in more than 30 years that it has been sold as an individual item. Consumers will also be treated to a bonus full-color cardboard base with a backdrop that can be used as a display to put the completed models on. The Munster Koach version includes an additional cardboard standup featuring the entire Munsters family.

Bleacher Creatures Partners with NFL for Toy Line

Bleacher CreaturesBleacher Creatures has teamed up with the National Football League for a plush and puppet line of NFL Bleacher Creatures toys. Officially licensed by NFL Properties, LLC and NFL Players, the licensing and marketing arm of the NFL Players Association, each Bleacher Creature plush character is dressed in his team uniform. The initial line of Bleacher Creatures features stars, including Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers, Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts, and Troy Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

 

 

 

Top Trumps Kicks Off NYC Championships

Top Trumps, maker of the educational card game from Britain, has kicked off its 2011 NYC Championship. Libraries within Queens and Brooklyn are hosting tournaments for children for a chance to win a place in this year’s playoffs, to be held later this summer. Kids who win 15 games of Top Trumps by August 21 can enter the online elimination game, or the playoffs, where they will battle it out to be one of the finalists. Playoffs will close on August 28 at midnight, and the top six players on the leader board will automatically qualify for the Grand Final on September 1 at 10 a.m. Held at the Top of the Rock in Rockefeller Center, the overall champion will be crowned and will win the Top Trumps Championship Trophy, a class trip to Top of the Rock, 10 free passes to the Bronx Zoo, 10 Top Trumps packs, and the Top Trumps Tournament: Star Wars Edition box set. There will also be prizes for second place and each finalist, plus every kid who participates will receive a free Moshi Monsters Super Top Trumps card that unlocks an exclusive item in the game. For more information and rules, visit http://www.toptrumps.com/championship.

StinkyKids Creator to Host Event at FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue

StinkyKidsOn Saturday, September 10, starting at 1 p.m., StinkyKids fans are invited to a special event at FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue in New York City. At the event, fans will be able to purchase the brand-new StinkyKids book, StinkyKids See a Full Moon, and meet the brand’s creator, Britt Menzies. Menzies will host a story time and will autograph new books purchased by attendees. StinkyKids characters are playful, curious tykes who learn to make right choices through their innocent childhood mistakes and gain valuable life lessons.

Sinking Ship Launches Dino Dan Website

Dino DanSinking Ship Entertainment has launched the official Dino Dan website, dinodan.com, in the U.S. The website features a virtual dig site where users have to search for hidden fossils that unlock new dinosaurs and can be used in games throughout the website. The educational content was co-developed with The Royal Tyrrell Museum.
Sinking Ship has also launched an Official Dino Dan Facebook page. Additionally, through its distribution partnership with Breakthrough Entertainment, and a license agreement with Musictoday, a Live Nation company, Sinking Ship has launched the official Dino Dan Webstore at www.dinodan.shop.musictoday.com. Musictoday will handle Dino Dan online merchandise orders, customer service, special promotions, and sales opportunities. New merchandise, including Dino Dan branded T-shirts, hoodies, headwear, room décor, bumper stickers, and water bottles are now available for sale.

Jim Becker, Toy and Licensing Veteran, Passes Away

James “Jim” R. Becker, a pioneer in the toy and licensing industries, died last week at age 90. Becker partnered with inventors and manufacturers to develop and represent their ideas for licensing around the world. Prior to founding Anjar, Becker was president of Lakeside Toys, where he developed Gumby and Pokey merchandise with Art Clokey. The products became an instant success. These toys were extended to include a multitude of licenses including Bozo, Laurel and Hardy, and others. In addition to Gumby and Pokey, Becker’s other product development credits include Othello, Barrel of Monkeys, the Disappearing Magic Milk Bottle, Nerf Ping Pong, Elmo’s Trike, Barbie “Really Works” activity toys, Land Before Time Hand Puppets, Shirt Pocket Games, GI Joe Earthquake Vehicle, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Foldable Flying Saucers, the Betsy McCall Fashion Designer Set, Grabbin’ Dragons, and more than 500 others. 

Talicor Names Todd Jacobs as President

Talicor/Aristoplay has promoted Todd Jacobs to company president. Previously, Jacobs was vice president of Talicor/Aristoplay in charge of sales, marketing, and product development. Talicor/Aristoplay board games, card games, and puzzles can be viewed online at www.talicor.com.

LeapFrog Appoints New Member of the Board

LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. has appointed Randy O. Rissman to the company’s board of directors. The appointment took effect on August 11. Rissman was CEO of Tiger Electronics from 1978 to 1998, which was purchased by Hasbro in 1998. Rissman is currently managing director of Leo Capital Holdings, LLC, a venture capital fund he founded in 2000, which makes early stage investments in technology and media-based companies focused on consumer content and mobile applications.

CHA Announces New Director of Communications Position

The Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) has developed a new team approach to managing the association and addressing concerns within the industry. As part of the new “Team CHA” approach, unveiled at the 2011 CHA Summer Conference & Trade Show, is the newly created position of director of communications who will lead all communication and marketing efforts for CHA. Victor Domine, CHA’s public relations manager, will serve as acting director. Sandra Ghezzi, CHA’s vice president of marketing, member services, and education, is departing the organization.

Walmart Reports Financial Results for Q2

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. reported financial results for the second quarter, which ended July 31. Net sales for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012 were $108.6 billion, an increase of 5.5 percent from $103.0 billion in last year’s second quarter. Net sales for the quarter included a currency exchange rate benefit of $2.3 billion. Income from continuing operations attributable to Walmart for the quarter was $3.8 billion, up 5.7 percent from last year. Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations attributable to Walmart (EPS) for the period were $1.09. In comparison, last year’s EPS was $0.97. Walmart International increased net sales 16.2 percent to $30.1 billion for the quarter. The company completed its acquisition of the Netto stores in the UK, and the majority ownership position in Massmart Holdings, Ltd. in sub-Saharan Africa.

Li & Fung Reports Six-Month Results

Hong Kong-based Li & Fung Limited reported its financial results for the first half of 2011. For the first six months, which ended June 30, the Group reported profits of $236 million—a decrease of 15 percent compared to the same period in 2010, but beating the $206 million average of seven analysts’ estimates, which were compiled by Bloomberg. Basic earnings per share was $0.29, a decrease of 21 percent compared to $0.36 during the same period last year. Core operating profit down by 16 percent to $282 million, which the company says is due to higher operating expenses arising from investing in the Group’s new “Three-Year Plan” and recent acquisitions.

Kid Brands Reports Q2, Six Months Results, Refinances Credit Facility

Kid Brands, Inc. reported financial results for Q2 2011 and the six-month period, which ended June 30. Net sales for Q2 2011 were $60.3 million, consistent with net sales in Q1 2011, and a decrease of 11.2 percent as compared to $67.9 million for Q2 2010. The company attributes the decrease to lower sales volume at LaJobi (down approximately 22.8 percent), Sassy (down approximately 16 percent), and Kids Line (down approximately 2.3 percent), and partially offset by growth at CoCaLo (up approximately 21 percent). Gross profit was $14.3 million, or 23.8 percent of net sales, for Q2 2011, as compared to $20.7 million, or 30.5 percent of net sales, for Q2 2010.
Net sales for the six months decreased 7.2 percent to $120.1 million, as compared to net sales of $129.4 million for the same period in 2010. Net loss for the period was $4.2 million, or ($0.19) per diluted share, compared to net income of $7.9 million, or $0.37 per diluted share.
As of August 8, Kid Brands refinanced its prior credit facility. The refinanced facility provides for a $175 million revolving credit facility, with an accordion option feature that could increase the facility by up to an additional $35 million, subject to certain conditions. The refinanced facility is led by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, together with a syndicate of five additional lenders. The facility amends and restates the company's prior term loan and revolving credit facility, which were scheduled to mature on April 1, 2013.

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