June 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 6
TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Licensed Toys
Thomas Chugs Along With Groovy Girls
With additional reporting by regional correspondents Virginia Davis, Elizabeth Greenspan, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Christine Lebednik and Brenda Ruggiero
Most specialty retailers don’t carry licensed toys, but which select few do some of them allow? TDmonthly Magazine spoke with 39 toy-store owners and learned that Thomas, Groovy Girls, Spiderman and Smurfs are at the top of the list.
Here's what’s selling in licensed product. And to find out more about trends in this category, read TDmonthly's Marvel-ous Heroes Conquer Toy World.
The Advanced Figure 8 Set Expansion Pack allows Thomas lovers to transform their Figure 8 sets to include even more twists and turns in their adventures. It comes with a 90-day limited warranty.
— "Thomas — kids love it,” said Harriet Story, owner of Leaping Lizards in Mineral Point, Wis., when asked about licensed best-sellers in spring 2007. “As soon as they come into the store, they go to the Thomas display.”
— Six of 39 retailers agreed that Thomas is a hit licensed line in their stores.
— Retailers told TDmonthly that sales of 25 to 50 units per month are normal for the Thomas line.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12546 (added 5/2/2007)
With a successful movie under his belt, a DVD in the works, and a soon-to-be-released new television series, Curious George continues to capture the imagination of children and adults. New to the Curious George line from RUSS is the Plush Travel Play Set. Designed as a take-along toy, George's house consists of an open textured flap, transparent windows and a mirror. Included in the house are George (who squeals when squeezed), a bed and his famous red wagon. The play set hits stores in June.
— "We sell lot of Curious George. The movie came and went, but it’s still very popular. It’s also on PBS — anything on there is popular. A lot of it is TV-driven," observed Nellie Fais, owner of Toy Magic in Bethlehem, Pa.
— When asked to give TDmonthly a sales figure for Curious George, Fais said, "We sell very few licensed toys — probably about 12 per month."
— Two of 39 other retailers agreed in spring 2007 that Curious George is a best-selling licensed brand with their customers.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7680 (added 4/24/2006)
These 30" Raggedy Ann and Andy plush dolls are timeless. Both have red yarn hair, button eyes and triangular noses and wear their traditional outfits: a white apron over a blue cotton shirt for Raggedy Ann and a flannel shirt, blue pants and a ribbon for Andy.
— "Raggedy Ann" was among the popular licensed products mentioned by Holly Reay, owner of Kid’s Corner in Indianapolis, Ind.
— "Raggedy Ann & Andy" was also cited as a licensed-toy winner by Melodie Ingwersen, owner of Creative Kids in Columbia, S.C.
— Almost no toy could be more classic than Raggedy Ann, Johnny Gruelle's sweet-natured and moral character from the series of books he wrote for young children in 1918. Supposedly based on a rehabbed rag doll Gruelle created for his daughter, Marcella, Raggedy Ann captured the hearts of a nation. Raggedy Andy joined her advenures in 1920. These 30" versions of Gruelle's characters are a fourth-quarter staple, specialty toy store owners told TDmonthly Magazine, and so have earned a TDmonthly Classic Toy 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7596 (added 4/14/2006)
The 2006 Halloween Smurfs are everything you would least expect from a Smurf. They're scary, gruesome and definitely not cute ... or so they think. But Smurf lovers from kids to adults will want to add these spooky blues to their collections. Also in the series are a Ghost, Witch, Mummy, Vampire, Jack-o-Lantern, Creature and Death With Scythe.
— "We don't have much licensed product. If we do have anything, it would be Smurfs. We sell lots of Smurfs. We have a huge display," said Tristan Hewitt, manager of Dragon's Toy Box in Seattle.
— "I'd say we sell about 20 or 30 a month,” he noted.
— “Schleich is the original manufacturer of the Smurf figurines. 2008 will be the 50th anniversary of the Smurfs, and their birthday is being commemorated with a movie that is being produced by Paramount Pictures,” Katherine MacLean, sales and marketing coordinator for Schleich North America, told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6015 (added 12/15/2005)
Kids can now build one of the most famous ships of the Star Wars saga. In the hands of the Rebel Alliance’s brave pilots, the X-wing starfighter helped to destroy two massive Death Stars. With S-foil wings that open to attack position, folding landing gear, a cargo hold and lots of authentic details, the starfighter can be customized as either Luke Skywalker’s Red Five or Wedge’s Red Three X-wing. The set includes Wedge Antilles, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca and R2-D2 minifigures. Launch date: Sept. 12, 2006.
— “I wish that LEGO didn’t run out … particularly the Star Wars LEGO. … Their warehouse was empty,” commented Lori Hershman, owner of Evan’s Toy Shoppe in Hamden, Conn., about the holidays 2006.
— “LEGOs were in short supply,” agreed Stan Giliberto, owner of Over the Rainbow in Glastonbury, Conn. “LEGO Star Destroyer was the one they really wanted.”
— Jordan Walden, store manager for Finnegan's Toys and Gifts in Portland, Ore., told TDmonthly in spring 2007, "We don't do a lot of licensed stuff," but "Star Wars LEGO is probably our best-seller" in the category. Finnegan's sells about 50 a month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10839 (added 12/28/2006)
Daisy, a classy and sassy passenger diesel, is back for 2007 only. Little engineers can add her to their Thomas collections before she heads back to the sheds. Daisy believes she should only carry passengers and never pull trucks, though she soon learns that all work is important and helps out whenever she can. She can be seen in "Thomas Meets the Queen,” and was in the Thomas Wooden Railway line from 1995 through 2004.
— "Thomas the Train — we sell a pretty good amount," said Katie Culotta of Victoria’s Toy Station in Baton Rouge, La., about licensed product in spring 2007.
— Culotta added that the store sells about 25 to 30 cars or vehicles of the Thomas brand a month.
— Daisy comes with a 90-day limited warranty.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12547 (added 5/2/2007)
She's been sent from heaven to boop and wobble on a desk or table. This 7”-tall bobble head features a great likeness of the cartoon legend that captured the hearts of America in the 1930s. Betty sits on a pillar and is dressed in a white dress with angel wings on her back.
— "We sell Betty Boop licensed products. We have eight different styles of Betty Boop bobble heads," said Dave Brisbois of The Toy Department in Pasadena, Calif., in spring 2007.
— Brisbois added that his store sells about a "few dozen a week."
— "Angel Betty Boop is our 20th unique bobble head. The character has a nice balance of faithfulness and playfulness, and is perfect for collectors," President Brian Mariotti of Funko told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12548 (added 5/2/2007)
Children can take SpongeBob and his pal Patrick Hula Bobbles (sold separately) along for under-the-sea and on-land adventures. The 4" figurines are great for play and display, and are articulated at the waist for tons of silly hula bobble fun. They also feature a suction cup base for hula action on the go. Launch date: February 2007.
— "We really don't deal with licensed products. I suppose SpongeBob might be one for us," said Kim Duff, manager at Giggles Toys & More in Bozeman, Mont.
— "We might sell about six a month,” Duff noted in spring 2007.
— "The Hula Bobble captures the essence and humor of SpongeBob. It's fun and comes to life anywhere, partly because it has a suction cup on the bottom for grip on various surfaces,” Tim Thompson, vice-president of marketing with Imperial Toy, told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11218 (added 1/22/2007)
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Writer's Bio: Dennis Furlan is a freelance writer who lives just outside of Toronto, Canada. He works on a variety of writing and editorial jobs with clients and publications worldwide. Dennis is proud to be part of the TDmonthly team, serving as a regional correspondent for the northwestern U.S. Read more articles by this author
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