October 19, 2010


FAO Redesigns Brand with New Logo, Packaging, Look

FAO SchwarzFAO Schwarz has unveiled a brand redesign that includes a new logo, new packaging, a new retail look, and an expanded product line.
Fashioned in a color palette of deep red and two shades of silver, the new FAO Schwarz logo emphasizes the initials (F, A, and O) of the retailer’s founder, Frederick August Otto Schwarz. A new character, “Wit,” also debuts in the logo. The retailer is also debuting a new package design, featuring the new logo. The packaging is designed so that it requires no additional wrapping if given as a gift.
FAO is also expanding its line of signature products, with some old favorites—such as The Big World Map and Sleepy Time Teddies—making a comeback. Additionally, FAO Schwarz, its pop-up shops, and FAO.com will feature the retailer’s brand new color scheme, including the redesigned logo.

Report: Nearly Half of Dollars Spent on Kids Were Requested by Children

According to a new study by The NPD Group, Spotlight on Kids: Understanding Cross-Category Purchasing: Data from July 2010—Back To School, 49 percent of all dollars spent on kids in July were specifically requested by the children. The survey also found that girls were more likely to request apparel and books and boys typically asked for sporting goods and video games.
In July, most products purchased for kids were apparel (20 percent), then footwear (13 percent), toys (8 percent), and video game consoles (7 percent). Apparel also took the No. 1 spot (56 percent) in terms of the percentage of dollars spent on sale items, followed by arts & crafts, consumer electronics, and school gear.
Nearly two-thirds of dollars spent on kids came from their parents, followed by grandparents with 19 percent. When comparing the percentage of dollars spent on used and pre-owned items by category, video game software, books, and video game hardware were the leaders at 19 percent, 11 percent, and 9 percent, respectively.
In terms of dollars spent, 28 percent were on licensed goods. Forty two percent of all dollars spent on kids ages 3 to 5 were for licensed products.

Holiday Spending Expected to Rise Slightly This Year

According to a National Retail Federation survey, 2010 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions, U.S. consumers plan to spend an average of $688.87 on holiday-related shopping, a slight rise from last year’s $681.83. More than 60 percent of shoppers said the economy would impact their spending, down from last year’s 65.3 percent, but shoppers plan to compensate by spending less (81.5 percent), comparison shopping online (30.9 percent), shopping for sales (54.1 percent), and using more coupons (40.6 percent). The most important factor when shopping this holiday season, said survey respondents, were sales and discounts (41.8 percent).
As in years past, most holiday gift-givers will spend most of their budget on gifts for family ($393.55), followed by friends ($71.45) and co-workers ($18.26). Total spending on gifts ($518.08) is expected to increase 2.1 percent from last year. Other holiday purchases will include decorations ($41.51), greeting cards and postage ($26.10), candy and food ($86.32), and flowers ($16.86).
For more results, click here
. This survey was conducted by BIGresearch.

Disney Buys Distribution Rights to Upcoming Marvel Movies

As a part of a new deal between The Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Marvel Studios, Paramount is transferring its worldwide marketing and distribution rights to Disney for Marvel Studios’ The Avengers and Iron Man 3. Paramount will remain the worldwide distributor of the upcoming films, Thor and Captain America, as well as the previously released Iron Man and Iron Man 2.
Under the terms of the agreement, Disney will pay Paramount $115 million, which will serve as a minimum guarantee against the distribution fees. The amount will be paid on the theatrical release dates. Paramount will release Marvel Entertainment’s Thor and Captain America worldwide beginning on May 6 and July 22, respectively.

Basic Fun to Release Tetris Products

TetrisBasic Fun has signed with Blue Planet Software, Inc.—the manager of Tetris’ licensing rights—to become the latest licensee for the Tetris brand. Basic Fun is releasing the Tetris game on key chain carabiners beginning this fall. The carabiners are a part of the company’s line of handheld electronic devices.





The Stuffed Animal House to Develop Plush for the Peterson Field Guides

The Stuffed Animal HouseRJM Licensing, Inc., has signed plush maker The Stuffed Animal House as a new licensee for its Peterson Field Guides licensing program. The Stuffed Animal House, founded in 1984 in Langley, British Columbia, Canada specializes in animal-shaped plush, and will be launching an initial range of 10 plush birds that have been featured in the Peterson Field Guides series. The plush will feature accurate colors, realistic details, and authentic bird calls via sound chips. Accompanied with the birds will be hangtags with facts, information, and mapped locations.
The Stuffed Animal House will donate a percentage of the sales of the first launch to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI) of Natural History, which was created to teach school children about the natural world. The RTPI also houses exhibitions, programs, and special events about the natural world.

Random House Children’s Books Signs on for Eric Carle

Random House Children’s Books and Chorion have entered into a licensing agreement granting Random House the rights to publish coloring and activity books in North America using artwork from the books of Eric Carle. The Random House Color & Activity line is scheduled to launch in summer 2011with three titles: Color My World, The Very Busy Doodle Book, and The World of Eric Carle Big Coloring Book.

Aurora World Inks Deal for Hush Puppies Plush

Hush PuppiesWolverine World Wide, Inc. has signed a multi-year contract with Aurora World, Inc. to manufacture and market Hush Puppies-branded plush toys. As a part of the global license agreement, Hush Puppies plush will be available through the vast network of Hush Puppies licensees in more than 140 countries. The plush, by Aurora World, will be distributed in the U.S. to gift, specialty, and toy stores. The initial product offering is an assortment of plush items varying in size from five to 18 inches. Retail price points in the U. S. are expected to range from $5-$50 and will be available at retail beginning next month.

Toy Fair Nürnberg Re-Launches Website

Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nürnberg has re-launched its website, www.toyfair.de.
Toy professionals all over the world can access fair information in 24 languages using the new navigation modules. The redesigned website also features an exhibitor search via the online catalog and an organizer for personal fair planning. The website also includes a central topics box that shows the three top issues of the respective phase in the fair year. Besides industry news, visitors can also learn about the latest developments in product groups.

Report: September Retail Sales Increased

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has released new figures that show that September retail industry sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted over August and 4.3 percent unadjusted over last year. September retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (including non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted over August and 7.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Electronics and appliance stores saw strong gains, with sales increasing 1.5 percent seasonally adjusted over August and 5.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Furniture and home furnishing stores increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted and 2.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year, while health and personal care stores sales increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted over August and 3.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

Mars and CandyRific Partner for Star Wars Products

M&Ms Star Wars FanMars Retail Group (MRG), a division of Mars, Incorporated, has partnered with licensee CandyRific to develop a range of novelty candy items featuring characters from the Star Wars movies and the M&M’S characters. The new novelty products include the M&M’S Brand Star Wars Fan, a working child-safe candy fan; the M&M’S Brand Star Wars Coin Bank; and the M&M’S Brand Star Wars 9-Inch Dispenser. Each product is topped with an M&M’S character dressed as a character from Star Wars. The products will be available in January to all retail channels, including convenience, drug, grocery, and mass.

New The Wizard of Oz Website for Kids Launches

The wizard of OzWarner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) has debuted a new website, wizardofozkids.com, that introduces The Wizard of Oz to the next generation of young fans. The new interactive website for kids ages 2 to 11, in association with KidsWB.com, features games, activities, downloadables, and more. New content will be rolled out over the next year, and fans can also visit WBshop.com for merchandise.
In support of the launch, The Parenting Group, a national partner for the initiative, is hosting an online sweepstakes and photo contest at www.parenting.com/wizardofoz. The contest encourages families todress up as the iconic characters from The Wizard of Oz, and then upload their photos to an online gallery. Visitors to the website can vote for their favorite original and creative costumes. Winners will be announced in December and the grand-prize winner will be awarded an all-expense paid trip for a family of four to Hollywood, a Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour, a professional family photo shoot, a private screening of The Wizard of Oz 4D Experience, and The Wizard of Oz merchandise.
All fans are invited to enter an additional sweepstakes with winners awarded daily with a 48-piece, roleplay, dress-up trunk from Rubie’s Costume Co.

Senario Expands Zibits Availability

ZibitsSenario’s Zibits miniature collectible remote control (R/C) robots are now being sold internationally in the United Kingdom, Russia, and throughout Eastern Europe. In the spring, Senario plans to sell Zibits in more territories including greater Western Europe and beyond.
Zibits are available in 12 designs, and each has its own name, story, and personality. Standing just more than two-inches tall, Zibits are controlled by a touch of a button that moves the robots in different directions, including a 360-degree rotation. This fall, Senario will release play sets, including the Power Lab, Zorr Mine Shaft, Z Rail Power Strip, and the Z Crane, that allow kids to build and expand their World of Zibits. Also available through Apple’s App Store is the Zibits iPhone game, Zibits Rush.

Parents, Teachers are Boycotting Mattel, Says Super Duper

According to Super Duper Publications, parents, teachers, speech-pathologists, and special educators across the nation are boycotting Mattel and its toys. Super Duper publishes materials for children with autism and other communication disorders. The company was recently ordered to destroy all of its “Say” and “And Say” products and related advertising for trademark infringement. The company was also ordered to pay Mattel $3.6 million, and was not allowed to donate its more than $500,000 worth of speech language materials to charity.
Super Duper has hired Joshua Rosenkranz—an attorney with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP—to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a hearing in the case. Rosenkranz recently obtained a favorable Ninth Circuit appellate ruling for MGA Entertainment in its
battle with Mattel over the rights to the Bratz doll.
Super Duper is actively seeking assistance from organizations and associations interested in filing or co-sponsoring amicus briefs with the Supreme Court in support of its appeal.
For more information on this case, go to www.speakupforsay.com.

Madame Alexander

Brand Central Promotes Andrea Brent to VP, Consumer Products

Brand Central, LLC has promoted Andrea Brent to vice president of consumer products. Brent joined Brand Central in 2006 from Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation where she served in Fox’s licensing and merchandising division, handling product development and licensee management for Fox Film and Television properties. Prior to Fox, Andrea was a public relations manager at Arista Records, a division of Sony BMG Music Entertainment.

Sesame Workshop Names New SVP, Global Education

Sesame Workshop has appointed Dr. Charlotte Frances Cole to senior vice president, global education. She will be responsible for company-wide global strategies and will lead the development of all curriculum and research around Sesame Workshop’s international projects. Dr. Cole has worked for Sesame Workshop since 1994, working with educator and production groups as part of the Education, Research, and Outreach team. Prior to joining Sesame Workshop, Dr. Cole worked as a senior researcher at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. She has also served as a consultant to the Harvard Institute for International Development.

Peanuts Worldwide Appoints New EVP and SVP

Peanuts Worldwide—an Iconix Brand Group, Inc. and Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates joint venture—has appointed Tamra Knepfer to executive vice president of Peanuts Worldwide. Knepfer will report directly to Yehuda Shmidman, COO, Iconix Brand Group, Inc.
Knepfer joins Iconix with nearly 20 years of experience in the character licensing business, working for companies including The Walt Disney Company, Sesame Workshop, and American Greetings. In her new role, she will lead the Peanuts Worldwide business and brand management teams. 
The company has also promoted Helene Gordon to senior vice president, brand management of Peanuts Worldwide. Gordon has been working on the Peanuts brand since 2000 and has helped build its global business as well as manage relationships with partners, including MetLife, Warner Home Entertainment, and Cedar Fair Theme Parks.

Fiesta Appoints New Sales Group

Fiesta Toy has appointed a new sales representative group in the Southwest U.S., McManemin Companies. The company’s sales team will represent Fiesta plush toys, covering Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas. McManemin’s showroom is located in the Dallas World Trade Center in Dallas, Tex.

Li & Fung Owners Buy Stake in Sanrio

According to Bloomberg, the owners of Li & Fung Ltd. have acquired a 1.03 percent stake in Sanrio Co., owner of the Hello Kitty brand. Li & Fung Group and Sanrio are seeking to develop new products for the global market and cut logistics costs, Sanrio said in a statement. The Fungs made the investment through closely held Fung Investment Pte. Ltd.
Sanrio, which consigns 10 percent of its character-goods production to Li & Fung Group, plans to raise the ratio to about 30 percent in three years, Nikkei English News reported. Li & Fung Ltd., the biggest supplier to retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., is considering acquisitions in Japan as it expands in Asia to pare reliance on U.S. sales.
The Fung brothers control Li & Fung Group and are the biggest shareholders in Hong Kong-listed Li & Fung Ltd.

Hasbro Reports Third Quarter Results

Hasbro, Inc. has reported revenue and earnings growth for the third quarter of 2010. Third quarter 2010 net revenues grew 3 percent to $1.31 billion compared to $1.28 billion a year ago. Excluding the negative $16.2 million impact of foreign exchange, net revenues grew 4 percent.
Net earnings grew 3 percent to $155.2 million, or $1.09 per diluted share, compared to $150.4 million, or $0.99 per diluted share, a year ago.
For details on results for particular category segments, click here.

Mattel Reports Third Quarter 2010 Financial Results

Mattel, Inc. has reported its 2010 third quarter financial results. For the quarter, the company reported net income of $283.3 million, or $0.77 per share, compared to last year’s third quarter net income of $229.8 million, or $0.63 per share.
For the quarter, net sales were $1.83 billion, up 2 percent compared to $1.79 billion last year, including unfavorable changes in currency exchange rates of 3 percentage points. On a regional basis, third quarter gross sales increased 3 percent in the U.S. and increased 2 percent in international markets, including unfavorable changes in currency exchange rates of 7 percentage points. Operating income for the quarter was $358.6 million, compared to prior year’s operating income for the quarter of $336.5 million.

LB Games Expects to Exceed 1M This Fiscal Year

Left Behind Games Inc., dba LB Games, has provided guidance to investors for the first time.
LB Games CEO Troy Lyndon said that he expects the company to exceed a million dollars in revenue this fiscal year, and has higher expectations for next fiscal year. LB Games is currently a PC Games publisher. The company plans to meet with financiers to seek the necessary capital to publish for platforms manufactured by Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony.

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