or Nice? What Manufacturers Got for Christmas
By Beth Michaels
February 1, 2003
With the 2002 Holiday season now past, what did toy manufacturers
find in their stockings?
Action Figure 8 Set
BRIO Corporation, the number one wooden toy company in the world,
saw an overall reduction in sales during 2002, despite increased
sales of their Wooden Railway sets. The decline continued even after
Consumer Reports magazine had endorsed its Mountain Action
Figure 8 Set as the top-rated construction toy of the year,
even persisting after a boost in sales of the Erector Set
following the airing of CBS’s made-for-TV movie about the
life of French toy inventor, A.C. Gilbert. BRIO blames the West
Coast labor strike and more conservative buyers for the overall
loss of sales.
Set by A.C. Gilbert
Based on what it learned in 2002, BRIO plans to focus on its brand
and products more than ever. Going against the high-tech trend,
the company will celebrate and promote the simple, enduring play-value
of its classic lines, such as PlanToys from Thailand
and Erector from France, reports Robin Lehnert, Public Relations
and Promotions Manager at BRIO.
“These brands are driven by product development based on traditional
play values that we will continue to focus on as our point of difference,”
she says. BRIO hopes this new focus will give their passionate retailers
and consumers more to talk about, creating a buzz throughout the
Although the West Coast labor strike also negatively affected holiday
sales of Action Products International, Inc., the
company learned that, “parents and grandparents continue to
buy quality toys even during an economic slowdown,” says company
President, Ron Kaplan. As a result, ACI plans to be more aggressive
in launching new products in 2003.
Despite the labor strike delaying some fall shipments, API still
had a very good holiday season. Their new Jay Jay the Jet
Plane program did outstanding and the “I
Dig” line and Space Voyagers brands
“sold through extremely well,” reports Kaplan.
API believes the independent toy store will be the heart and soul
of the specialty toy business in 2003, causing the manufacturer
to focus more on in-store merchandising support for all their brands