October 27, 2011


Report: Retailers Expect Growth in Online Businesses for the Holidays

This holiday season, most retailers expect strong demand and growth for their online businesses. According to Shop.org’s eHoliday survey, conducted by Bigresearch, nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) retailers expect their company’s online sales to grow at least 15 percent or more, compared to last holiday season. Nine in 10 online retailers (92.5 percent) said they plan to offer free shipping at some point, up from 84.8 percent last year. Additionally, 56.3 percent of retailers said their specific budgets for free shipping promotions are somewhat or significantly higher than last year.
When asked why they plan to spend more online this holiday season, four in 10 shoppers (43.2 percent) cited 24-hour convenience as their main reason. Other reasons included not having to fight crowds in stores (37. 2 percent), ease of comparing prices (29.6 percent), and free shipping offers (36.3 percent).

Rubie’s and AMC Partner for The Walking Dead Costumes

ZombieThis Halloween, fans of The Walking Dead can dress up as their favorite zombie characters, thanks to a new partnership between Rubie’s Costume Company, Inc. and AMC. Rubie’s has produced officially licensed costumes, accessories, and masks based on the network’s original series. The products are available in child, teen, and adult sizes.
AMC’s The Walking Dead tells the story of the months and years that follow after a zombie apocalypse. The series debuted last Halloween and has become the most-watched drama series in basic cable history for adults ages 18 to 49.





Walmart Introduces Price-Matching Holiday Program

WalmartThis year, Walmart is introducing the Christmas Price Guarantee. If a customer buys an eligible product at Walmart between November 1 and December 25, and then finds that same product advertised for less at another store, Walmart will give the customer a gift card for the difference, valid through December 25. The Christmas Price Guarantee is valid on advertised items that are identical (same brand, size, color, quantity, grade, and model number) to the item purchased at Walmart. The identical item must be currently available at a competitor’s store located within the same local market as the Walmart store. Items placed on layaway will also be eligible for the Christmas Price Guarantee.

Import Cargo Volume Expected to Increase This Month

Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 2.6 percent this month compared to October 2010, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates. The report also predicts that import cargo volume this month will reach its highest level of the year as retailers stock up for the holiday season.
U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.32 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in August, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. The number was the same as July, but down 7 percent from August 2010. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent.
November is forecast at 1.28 million TEU, up 4 percent from last year, and December is forecast at 1.18 million TEU, up 2.7 percent. January is forecast at 1.16 million TEU, down 3.6 percent from this past January, and February, traditionally the slowest month of the year, is forecast at 1.1 million TEU, down 3.8 percent. The total for 2011 is forecast at 15 million TEU, up 1.8 percent from 2010.

North American Safety Commissions Release Statement on Summit

The first North America Product Safety Summit was held September 26-27 at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Maryland headquarters. The three main parties, CPSC, Health Canada, and the Consumer Protection Federal Agency of the United Mexican States, released a statement on last month’s event.
Issues that were discussed include the need for trilateral cooperation for product safety, continuous improvement in training and quality assurance systems, enhanced cooperation to solve product safety issues, promotion of the alignment of product safety requirements, and timely and effective communication of product safety information.
The statement ended with a summary of the Summit’s “Cooperative Engagement Framework,” a six-point course of action designed to address issues over the next two years. Attendees vowed to work on cross-border cooperation for regulations and voluntary standards, risk assessment, import and market surveillance, training and outreach, consumer awareness campaigns, and joint recalls or other corrective actions.

Toy State Premieres Licensed Line of Toy Vehicles, Dub Garage

Dub GarageDub magazine has teamed up with Toy State to create the new Dub Garage line of customized toy vehicles. Specially designed with the young car enthusiast in mind, specifically ages 6 and up, each toy is equipped with Dropstars or Twenty Inches Strong  (TIS) rims, realistic Pirelli tire treads, Eibach suspension kits, and Borla exhaust sounds. Highlights from Dub Garage include Rim Rockerz and Custom Ridez with popular licensed vehicle styles; Dub Garage D-Jayz, which lets users become the DJ; Dub Garage Blazerz, equipped with custom lights; and Dub Garage Control Freakz, full-function R/Cs.

Enesco and Gund Sign Deal for Psyclops

PsyclopsHip Brands, the third-party licensing banner within The Jim Henson Company, has signed a licensing agreement with Enesco, LLC for Psyclops. The brand features funny, contemporary one-eyed characters that embrace the world of music, art, dance, and technology.
With licensed rights for the U.S. and Canada, Enesco will develop novelty gift products, mobile accessories, and collectible vinyl toys. The Gund division will develop a full range of plush products. The first products under the agreement are expected to be available mid next year.
International agents have already signed up to represent Psyclops in France, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, the rest of Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Hip is seeking additional agents for representation in other territories.

Meccano to Develop Gears of War Erector Sets

Gears of WarMeccano and Epic Games, Inc. have entered into a licensing agreement for the development of Gears of War construction sets for Meccano’s Erector toy brand. The initial line concepts were presented during Fall Toy Preview in Dallas. The product line features vehicles and characters that are portrayed in the Gears of War series by Epic Games. The agreement was developed through efforts by Creative Artist Agency and J.A. Roth & Associates.






Play Comforts Wraps Up This Year’s Distribution with Event in Germany

TIF in GermanyThousands of kids during a Trick-or-Treat Street Carnival received toys and games as the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF), in partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs of America, distributed 9,000 new products to Kaiserslautern Military Community families. The event was held on October 22 at Ramstein, the largest U.S. Air Force base in Germany. Servicemen and women and their children stationed at nearby Vogelweh Air Base, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, USAG Kaiserslautern, and USAG Baumholder were also in attendance. Gifts distributed at the Ramstein event were donated to TIF’s Toy Bank by Alex, American Plastic Toys, Bruder Toys, Buffalo Games, Lego Systems, Hasbro, Mattel, Prestige Toy Corp., Ravensburger USA, and Schleich.
The toy distribution wrapped the second year of the TIF-BGCA Play Comforts partnership, the first national toy distribution program to serve every branch of the military. This year, 30 U.S. military installations received playthings from Toy Bank.

Candy Spelling to Auction Extensive Madame Alexander Doll Collection

Madame AlexanderEarlier this year, Aaron and Candy Spelling’s home in Los Angeles was sold, and on November 20, Candy Spelling’s collection of Madame Alexander dolls will be auctioned at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Conducted by Theriault’s, the world’s largest auction house for antique dolls, toys, and teddy bears, the auction will feature 350 dolls, including the rare early portrait models Victorian Bride, Pink Champagne lady, and Deborah Ballerina, along with dolls from the biblical series, a number of Wendy models inspired by Gone with the Wind, dolls created exclusively by FAO Schwarz during the 1950s, and more.
The complete collection will be on exhibit at the Waldorf-Astoria on November 20 starting at 9 a.m., followed by the auction at 11 a.m. Both the viewing and auction are open to the public. On November 19, Madame Alexander and Theriault’s will host a gala reception allowing doll enthusiasts and collectors to meet Candy Spelling; Stuart Holbrook, president of Theriault’s; and Gale Jarvis, president of Alexander Doll Company. To RSVP for the reception, email info@theriaults.com.

Clue Miniseries to Debut on The Hub

Clue on The HubA new five-part, live-action miniseries, Clue, will debut on The Hub on Monday, November 14. Clue, based on the family game brand, will introduce the game characters as young modern-day sleuths. Produced by Hasbro Studios, Clue follows six unique kids who stumble upon an adventure after witnessing a crime. The youngsters uncover hidden treasures and decipher cryptic messages to reveal a secret society. Clue will be supported by extensive marketing initiatives, including The Hub’s “Get a Clue” sweepstakes and Clue-themed activities on Hubworld.com. After debuting back-to-back episodes on November 14, new episodes will premiere daily through Thursday, November 17, culminating with a back-to-back marathon on November 19.

Atlantyca Announces International Business Scholarship Program

Atlantyca Entertainment has announced the inauguration of the Geronimo Stilton
Scholarship Program, a €10.000 fund created to encourage women to study international
business and a trade exchange between Italy and China. The scholarship will be awarded
to two women, one from China and one from Italy, who are pursuing a Master’s in
international business. The Chinese student, to be named in March, will be invited to
attend the Master of International Business (MIB) degree program at Università Cattolica
di Milano in Italy. The Italian student, to be named this month, will be invited to attend
Fu Dan University of Shanghai in China.

Two New Hires Join Patch Products

Patch Products has welcomed two new hires to its team. Mary Dolan has been hired as public relations coordinator for the company and will be responsible for drawing publicity to Patch’s family entertainment products, and will also handle media inquiries.
Sandi Mangruem has joined Patch as the company’s newest buyer/inbound traffic coordinator, and will be responsible for purchasing functions and coordinating inbound freight for Patch Products.

Tracey Beeker Named Licensing Agent and Publicist for StinkyKids

StinkyKids, LLC has appointed Tracey Beeker of Be More Consultants as its licensing agent and publicist. Beeker’s additional scope of work includes promoting Britt Menzies, children’s author and creator of StinkyKids. The licensing program for StinkyKids includes storybooks from Raven Tree Press; soft-bodied dolls by Madame Alexander; bikes, skates, skateboards, scooters, safety gear, and accessories from Cycle Force Group; and collectible labels and tags from Kiddo Tags. In addition, children’s theater group Vital Theatre Company is producing “StinkyKids, The Musical,”slated to debut in the spring.

Mogo Design Receives Funds from Washington-Based Venture Capital Firms

Mogo Design, Inc. has closed a $400,000 Series A venture round, receiving funding from Omshreembrazee (OSB) Holdings, LLC and RJR Family Enterprises, LLC.  Both Washington-based venture funding entities are managed by Robert M. Harris, Jr., CEO of Pacific Market International. 

The newly acquired funds will be allocated to further establish Mogo brand awareness and distribution in international markets, expand retail channels in North America, and accelerate the research and development of new Mogo fashion-inspired products. 
Mogo Design also announced the appointment of Chelsey Owen to its board of directors.  Owen is a partner with The 10th Muse, an organization that works with select entrepreneurial businesses to infuse resources and expertise to accelerate growth and expand market share. Owen also co-founded Chelsey Henry, LLC.

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