November 09, 2010


San Francisco Bans High-Calorie, High-Fat Kids’ Meals with Toys

San Francisc’s board of supervisors has voted to ban many kids’ meals that include a free toy. Under the ordinance, scheduled to take effect in December 2011, restaurants cannot include a toy with a meal if the food and drink combined contain more than 600 calories and if more than 35 percent of the calories in the meal come from fat. The ordinance would affect fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s and its Happy Meals. The ordinance also requires restaurants to provide fruits and vegetables with all kids’ meals for children that include a toy.
San Francisco is the first major city in the U.S. to pass this type of ordinance. A similar ban was enacted by Santa Clara County in California.

BBC Worldwide Retains Peppercom for Licensing and Branding

In the Night GardenBBC Worldwide has signed Peppercom for licensing and branding support for In the Night Garden. The television series launched in the U.S. on October 10.
Peppercom will work with BBC Worldwide to provide marketing and public relations advice that will help build relationships with targeted audiences through social media. The company will also work to generate excitement for the 2011 retail launch of licensed products, which will include an initial product launch of toys, DVDs, books, and apparel in summer and holiday 2011.
In the Night Garden was created, written, and composed by Andrew Davenport, co-creator of Teletubbies, and airs on The Hub.

Paul Frank to Release Silly Bandz Pack

Paul FrankPaul Frank Industries, LLC is the latest licensee to jump aboard the Silly Bandz train with a new line of silicone wristbands inspired by the company’s brand characters. Beginning this holiday season, the Paul Frank Silly Bandz pack will be available at specialty stores, Paul Frank retail stores, and mass retailers. The collectible bands will include characters such as Clancy, Tyrone, Steve the Crab, Skurvy, Ellie, and Julius. The new Silly Bandz are available for sale and pre-order at


International Toy Fair in Nuremberg Boosts Safety Area
Spielwarenmesse eG has announced that its Testing + Inspecting Center, in hall 11.1, will be twice as large at the upcoming International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, to be held February 3-8. The number of exhibitors for the Center has risen from 12 in 2010 to 15 to date.
The Testing & Inspecting Center combines all test and inspection institutes that will exhibit at the fair. These exhibitors will also have the opportunity to contact the European Commission about toy safety standards directly. The 2011 International Toy Fair in Nuremberg will mark the first time that Unit C.1 Regulatory Approach for the Free Circulation of Goods of the European Commission’s DG Enterprise and Industry is exhibiting at the International Toy Fair.
The Trade Inspectorate at the toy fair will also make random safety checks of toys at the fair. Safety requirements will vary according to the market that each toy manufacturer produces its products for. The test and inspection institutes in the Testing + Inspecting Center will also answer questions on safety standards for specific countries.

Hallmark Extends Licensing Partnership for Bakugan, Liv, Others

Hallmark Cards, Inc. has extended its exclusive, long-term partnership with Cartoon Network Enterprises (CNE). Hallmark will continue to produce a wide range of everyday and seasonal social expression products including greeting cards and party supply items based on the network’s portfolio of brands, such as Ben 10 Ultimate Alien, Generator Rex, Adventure Time, and Nelvana and Spin Master’s Bakugan, as well as Spin Master’s Liv, and Zoobles. Hallmark’s product offerings will be available throughout North America.



Charisma’s New Play Baby Doll Collection to Release in January

Adora DollCharisma is launching a new play baby doll collection for children ages 1 and older, the Adora Playtime Dolls. The 12-inch Adora Playtime Dolls come in five skin tones and eye combinations. With lifelike features such as a silky smooth body, a bean bag-weighted bottom, and sculpted faces, the collection can be accessorized with a range of 12 accessory SKUs. All Adora dolls are lightly scented with a baby powder scent. The dolls were sculpted in the Adora studio and are hand-crafted; each face has been hand painted and each costume is individually sewn.
The full line will be available to retailers starting at the Atlanta Gift Show, to be held January 12-19. Shipping to retailers will begin in late January.


First StinkyKids Book to be in Stores November 20

StinkyKidsStinkyKids is debuting its first title, called StinkyKids and the Runaway Scissors, in the company’s new series of books. The book is due in stores November 20 and currently for sale online at
In StinkyKids and the Runaway Scissors, StinkyKid Britt is the main character, and her love of chewing gum and blowing bubbles creates a tangled situation that the StinkyKids have to figure out. Also included with the story is a parent/teacher corner section, providing teaching tools, take-away messages, and suggestions for further engagement of children.
Any retailers who want to carry the book can contact Britt Menzies at

Kidrobot Releases Series 2 of The Simpsons Vinyl Figures

The SimponsTwentieth Century Fox Consumer Products has teamed up with Kidrobot to release a second series of The Simpsons vinyl toy mini-figures. With 25 new figures in total, including 15 new characters, Series 2 features two alternate versions of the family. The series will be the biggest Kidrobot-produced mini-figure series to date. Each vinyl figure stands three-inches tall, includes a character sticker, and comes blind boxed to preserve its identity. Figures will be sold separately (or can be purchased by the case) at all five Kidrobot stores,, and at select retailers worldwide alongside Series 1 of The Simpsons vinyl toy mini-figures.

Pinkalicious Video Game to Be Released in the Spring

GameMill Publishing, Inc. has signed a deal to develop an interactive game for Nintendo DS based on the Pinkalicious property. The game, Pinkalicious, It’s Party Time, will be available at all major specialty stores and national retail chains in the spring.
The game will draw on the property’s characters, themes, and key elements, such as party planning and fun mini-games. A new picture book in the Pinkalicious series, Silverlicious, will be released around the same time. The video game is set to feature a special Silverlicious unlockable game. 

Earth Rangers Partners with CBD for New Website Content

Earth RangersEarth Rangers has formed a partnership with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to produce content for children and families on the importance of biological diversity. The first project under this partnership includes 100 biodiversity facts—about such things as the world’s most interesting animals and the decline of endangered eco-systems—that have been displayed for children to reference on the Wild Wire, Earth Rangers’ Biodiversity Blog at The blog, which also features photos and links, can be accessible by both Earth Rangers’ existing members and new online visitors. For more information, visit

Neighborhood Toy Store Day to Take Place This Saturday

More than 500 independent toy retailers are expected to celebrate Neighborhood Toy Store Day on Saturday, November 13. The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is planning to hold the event annually on the second Saturday in November.
Neighborhood Toy Store Day is designed to celebrate and tell consumers about the advantages of shopping at locally owned toy stores. ASTRA’s 2010 Best Toys for Kids list will be announced to customers at many of the participating stores. Some stores will offer special coupons, product giveaways and raffles, toy and game demonstrations, and live entertainment, and many stores are donating a portion of their Neighborhood Toy Store Day’s sales to a local charity. For more information and to find participating retailers, visit

Madame Alexander

Sesame Workshop Hires Two New VPs

Sesame Workshop has hired Laura Smith and Palak Solanki as vice president of formal learning and vice president of business planning and analysis, respectively.
As vice president of formal learning, Smith will report to Dr. Lewis Bernstein, executive vice president of education, research, and outreach. Smith will help the Workshop define and provide a transformative educational experience for preschoolers in formal classrooms and centers across America. Her responsibilities include conducting research and analysis to inform strategic direction, coordinating a cross-functional project team to design and launch key programs, and securing internal and external support and investment from diverse audiences. Most recently, Smith served as assistant commissioner for external partnerships and research with the New York State Department of Education.
Solanki will report to Susan Kolar, chief strategy and administrative officer. As vice president of business planning and analysis, Solanki will be responsible for identifying and developing long-term strategic business opportunities and evaluating potential acquisitions and other investments. In addition, she will be responsible for facilitating company-wide strategic planning activities and conducting business analysis for key initiatives and ventures. Previously, Solanki served as the director of digital sales strategy & business development at MTV Networks.

Douglas Company Appoints Kim Palmer as National Sales Manager

Douglas Company has appointed Kim Palmer to the position of national sales manager. “Douglas Company is extremely excited with the opportunity to add Kim to our sales management team,” said Doug Adolphson, vice president of sales. “Along with Kim’s outstanding industry knowledge and years of sales management experience, she brings a level of infectious enthusiasm that blends incredibility well with the many years of heritage here at Douglas Company.”

Metro Design USA Hires Industry Veteran

Irv Sommer, a toy industry veteran with more than 45 years of industry experience, has joined the Metro Design USA family of companies. Metro Design has also acquired the rights to Sommer’s extensive program of inflatable toys.
Sommer’s experience includes working as an assistant buyer with JC Penney in the ’60s, and other areas including sales, marketing, and product development with major names such as Ideal, Aurora products, and Carlin Playthings.
Metro Design USA is a multi-faceted organization with divisions in table top, flatware, closet, home decor, and hardware.

Mega Increases Net Sales for Q3 2010

Mega Brands, Inc. has announced its financial results for the third quarter, which ended September 30. Net sales increased 9 percent to $128.3 million compared to $118 million in the third quarter of 2009. Adjusted net earnings were $19.8 million, or $0.06 per basic and diluted share, compared to $14.4 million, or $0.39 per basic and diluted share in the third quarter of 2009. Net sales of toy product lines increased 18 percent compared to the third quarter of 2009, led by Halo and Dragons Universe in the boys’ category and sustained growth in the preschool category.  International sales were up 18 percent led by growth in key European markets.

Kid Brands Reports Q3, Nine Months Results

Kid Brands, Inc. has reported its financial results for Q3 2010 and nine months, which ended September 30. Net sales for the third quarter increased 18.4 percent to $71.1 million, compared to $60.1 million for the three months in 2009. The company contributes the increase to growth at LaJobi, Sassy, and CoCaLo. Net income for Q3 2010 was $4 million, or $0.18 per diluted share, compared to net income of $2.9 million, or $0.13 per diluted share, for Q3 2009. Net sales for the nine months increased 13.7 percent to $200.5 million, compared to $176.3 million for the nine months in 2009. Net income for the nine months was $11.9 million, or $0.54 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $1.5 million, or ($0.07) per diluted share in 2009.

Target Reports October Sales Results

Target Corporation reported that its net retail sales for the four weeks, which ended October 30, were $4.641 billion, an increase of 2.2 percent from $4.541 billion for the same four weeks in 2009. On this same basis, October comparable-store sales increased 1.7 percent. Target also reported that its third quarter sales were $15.661 billion, an increase of 3 percent. The company’s year-to-date sales were $45.509 billion, an increase of 4.1 percent.

THQ Reports Q2 2011 Results

THQ, Inc. has reported its financial results for Q2 of fiscal year 2011, which ended September 30. For quarter, THQ reported net sales of $77.1 million, compared with $101.3 million in the same period of fiscal year 2010. On a non-GAAP basis, the company reported net sales of $70.4 million, compared with $100.4 million a year ago. For the three months, which also ended in September, the company reported a net loss of $47 million, or $0.69 per share, compared with a net loss of $5.6 million, or $0.08 per share, in the prior year. On a non-GAAP basis, the company reported a net loss of $40.6 million, or $0.60 per share, compared with a non-GAAP net loss of $25.2 million, or $0.37 per share, in the same period last year.

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