November 30, 2010


More Shoppers, More Money Spent This Black Friday Weekend

According to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey conducted over the weekend by BIGresearch, 212 million shoppers visited stores and websites during the Black Friday weekend, an increase from 195 million shoppers reported last year. The NRF also reports that consumers spent more during the weekend, spending an average of $365.34 per shopper, up from last year’s $343.31. Total spending for the weekend is estimated to be $45 billion.
More Black Friday shoppers hit stores in the early hours of the morning; nearly one-fourth of the day’s shoppers (24 percent) were in stores by 4 a.m. and 9.5 percent of Black Friday shoppers began their shopping at midnight, triple the number in 2009 (3.3 percent). Additionally, the number of Thanksgiving Day shoppers has doubled over the past five years, from 10.3 million in 2005 to 22.3 million in 2010. Online shopping jumped from 28.4 percent last year to 33.6 percent this year.
Among the top types of stores shopped were department stores (52 percent of the weekend’s shoppers this year versus 49.4 percent last year) and clothing stores  (24.4 percent versus 22.9 percent). The percentage of people who shopped at discounters declined to 40.3 percent from 43.2 percent last year.

Early Results Show Higher Conversion Rate for Black Friday

The NPD Group, Inc., has released the results of its The Anatomy of Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2010 study. The online survery asked 3,146 US consumers ages 18 and up what they did on Black Friday/Cyber Monday and why. The results presented here represent preliminary data collected between Friday, November 26 and Tuesday morning, November 30. 
When asked what motivated their shopping trip, almost 36 percent of shoppers said they “saw an item advertised on sale” and almost 20 percent said the doorbusters were “too good to pass up.”
Once in the store, whether brick and mortar, online, or otherwise, did they buy? The study’s results point to successful conversion rates for retailers. For all retail, 7 percent more consumers than last year told NPD that when they shopped they also made a purchase. Mass merchants had a 74 percent conversion rate, online retailers had a 72 percent conversion rate, toy stores saw a 69 percent conversion rate, and national chains saw a 64 percent conversion rate.
In terms of shopping location, mass merchants hosted 51 percent of shoppers, national chain stores saw 28 percent. Online retailers received 27 percent of shoppers, and electronics stores saw 18 percent of shoppers.
Forty percent of survey respondents told NPD they received an email from a retailer to shop on Cyber Monday. Twenty-nine percent of consumers said they shopped on Monday and 21 percent said they shopped online. 

Jakks Signs Agreement for Kinectimals Plush

KinectimalsJakks Pacific, Inc. has signed a licensing agreement with Microsoft to design and manufacture interactive plush toys for Microsoft’s Kinectimals video game for the Kinect for Xbox 360 entertainment system. The new plush line launched with a King Cheetah and a Maltese Tiger.
The limited collector’s edition Kinectimals plush toys by Jakks will work with Microsoft Tag (mtag) technology, allowing players to scan the tag on their plush toy with the Kinect for Xbox 360 sensor and watch the animal appear in the game.
In the video game Kinectimals, players can interact with different creatures, some exotic. Using the controller-free Kinect for Xbox 360, animals will come running when they hear the player’s voice, and respond to commands like “jump,” “roll-over,” and “play dead.”
Additionally, Jakks will produce a mainline plush assortment, which is expected to be sold at mass retailers in the U.S. starting in the spring. The line will feature five unique plush animals in the first wave.
Limited collector’s editions of the Kinectimals game packaged with a seven-inch plush toy are now available at select retailers around the globe. In the U.S., Toys “R” Us will exclusively sell the King Cheetah limited collector’s edition and GameStop will exclusively carry the Maltese Tiger limited collector’s edition.

New Deal with EA to Bring Need for Speed to the Construction Aisle

Need for SpeedMega Brands, Inc. is set to develop new construction toys based on the racing video game franchise Need for Speed, as part of a global multi-year licensing agreement with Electronic Arts, Inc.
Mega Bloks Need for Speed construction toy sets will allow fans and collectors to build, customize, race, and display vehicles and play sets that are based on the franchise. The line will launch next summer.





Toy Recalls and Related Fatalities Have Dropped, Says CPSC

Toy recalls have dramatically declined since 2008, according to a new report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Toy recalls in fiscal year 2008 totaled 172 and then dropped to 50 in 2009 and 44 in 2010. Toy recalls related to lead in 2010 were down to three from the nine reported in 2009 and the 19 reported in 2008.
Additionally, toy-related fatalities for children under the age of 15 decreased in 2009 to 12. In 2008 and 2007, there were 24 toy-related fatalities. Nearly 60 percent of the reported deaths in 2009 were associated with riding toys, including three with tricycles, two with powered riding toys, and two with non-motorized riding toys or unspecified riding toys. Most deaths were from drowning, motor vehicle accidents, or airway obstruction from a small toy or small part of a toy.
Although toy recalls and toy-related fatalities may be decreasing, CPSC has reported that toy-related injuries are increasing. In 2009, there were an estimated 186,000 emergency room-treated injuries related to toys for children younger than 15 (not necessarily caused by the toy), up from 152,000 injuries in 2005. Most of these injuries involved lacerations, contusions, and abrasions to a child’s face and head.

Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair to Hold 2nd Global Toy Conference

Global Toy ConferenceOn February 8, Spielwarenmesse eG will hold its 2nd Global Toy Conference, as a part of the Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair, to be held in Nuremberg February 3-8. On this day of the fair, visitors and manufacturers can learn about the latest news in toy safety, toy industry sustainability, social media, and online trading.
Conference attendees can learn more about the Toy Safety Directive, which will be implemented in July. The European Commission will answer questions in the panel discussion entitled “The Principles and Implementation of the Current Safety Assessment of Toys.” Conference participants will be briefed on consumer trends and demands and receive tips on how manufacturers and traders can meet these requirements. There will also be a lecture called “Selling Toys Online Made Easy,” which explains to toy traders and manufacturers how they can optimize sales with the internet.
International Toy Fair participants can now order conference tickets in advance for a reduced price.

World of Toys at Hong Kong Toy Fair Grows

Spielwarenmesse eG’s World of Toys Pavilion at the 2011 Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair has expanded, with 24 companies from 11 countries registered for the event, compared to 20 exhibitors last year. The World of Toys space has also increased, totaling almost 300 square meters or 984 square feet. Represented at the Pavilion are companies from Australia, Belgium, Germany, France, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Austria, and Switzerland.
This is the third year for the international fair in Hong Kong. The 2011 Pavilion will be held January 10-13 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. After Hong Kong, the next stop for World of Toys will be Toy Russia in Moscow, held March 16–18.
For more information about the World of Toys by Spielwarenmesse eG, visit

Pinkalicious Products in FAO Schwarz Stores This Holiday Season

A Pinkalicious collection of toys, games, and more is now available at FAO Schwarz stores for this holiday season. The Pinkalicious program at FAO Schwarz includes Pinkalicious dolls from Madame Alexander, Pinkalicious books from HarperCollins, games from Fundex, puzzles from Ceaco, and dress-up apparel from Success Apparel.
The collection is available at the FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue store, as well as FAO Schwarz pop-up stores.




Hit Partners for Rainbow Magic Books, Now Available in the Kindle Store

Rainbow MagicThe Rainbow Magic collection of books is now available exclusively in’s Kindle Store as part of Hit Entertainment’s new deal with RosettaBooks and Future books will launch in the Kindle Store in conjunction with printed editions from Scholastic, joining the already available 73-book collection, which includes nine 7-title series and one 10-title, special-edition series.
The deal marks the first time that e-book publishing company RosettaBooks has forayed into the children’s e-publishing space, and it is also the first time that these titles have been made available digitally.
Introduced in the UK in 2003, Rainbow Magic follows the magical adventures of young girls Kirsty and Rachel as they interact with different groups of fairies and other creatures in fairyland.

Madame Alexander

Action Products Names New CEO, Martinez Steps Down

Action Products International, Inc. (APII) has announced that Gary Polistena will be the new head of the company. Polistena was appointed CEO of the company, effective immediately, and Raul Martinez has stepped down as president.
Polistena began his career with the United States Marine Corps where he was trained as a specialist in microwave equipment and technology. After an honorable discharge, Polistena remained within the telecommunications industry where he served as project design engineer and project manager for various telecom carriers and suppliers.
Polistena also announced that APII's base of operations will relocate to New York City where the majority of the company’s executives and resources are located.

Walmart Bids to Acquire Massmart Shares

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has offered to acquire 51 percent of the shares of Massmart Holdings Limited for ZAR148 (South African rand) per Massmart ordinary share. The Massmart Board of Directors has unanimously recommended the offer, which represents a 19.2 percent premium to the 30-day weighted average price on September 23, the last trading day prior to the indicative offer announced on September 27. Massmart will continue to trade on the JSE Limited.
The offer remains subject to acceptance by Massmart's shareholders, as well as certain customary conditions and relevant regulatory approvals in South Africa. Walmart expects to mail the offer documents to Massmart’s shareholders by December 9.

Gymboree Acquisition Completed

Bain Capital Partners, LLC has successfully completed the acquisition of The Gymboree Corporation for $65.40 per share in cash, or approximately $1.8 billion. On October 11, the companies announced that the Gymboree and certain affiliates of Bain Capital had entered into a definitive merger agreement. Pursuant to the merger agreement, Giraffe Acquisition Corporation, a corporation controlled by Bain Capital, commenced a tender offer on October 25 to acquire all outstanding shares of the company at a price of $65.40 per share, net to the seller in cash. The tender offer expired on November 22 at 11:59 p.m ET. As of the expiration time, 21,566,182 Gymboree shares had been validly tendered and not withdrawn, representing approximately 78 percent of the outstanding shares. All of these shares were accepted for payment by Giraffe Acquisition Corporation. As a result of the completion of the merger, Gymboree's common stock will cease trading on The NASDAQ Stock Market.

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