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July 2011 | Vol. X - No. 7
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Toys in the News: 07-28-11


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Toys in the News is updated Mon-Fri at 9:15 am PST

Children Play Like Scientists Work. July 29, 2011 Young children play like scientists work, according to a new research project at MIT and Stanford University. The findings, which were published in the journal Cognition, reveal how 4- and 5-year-olds approach games methodically.

Hasbro Partners with Target. July 29, 2011 Hasbro will unveil its exclusive My Little Pony retail program at U.S. Target stores July 31.

Supremacy MMA Hits PS Vita. July 29, 2011
Video game publisher 505 Games and Kung Fu Factory will release Supremacy MMA on PlayStationVita this fall.

Fisher-Price Recalls to Repair Little People Builders' Load 'n Go Wagons due to Laceration Hazard. July 28, 2011 The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 208,000 in the United States (2,800 in Canada) Little People® Builders’ Load ‘n Go Wagon from Fisher-Price, sold at mass merchandise retail stores nationwide from June 2009 through July 2011 for about $25. The back of the wagon’s plastic handle has molded-in reinforcement. This design adds stiffness and facilitates children gripping the handle. The handle poses a laceration hazard if a child falls on it. Consumers should immediately take the recalled wagons away from children and contact Fisher-Price for instructions on how to obtain a free repair kit.

MEGA Brands Reports Second Quarter 2011 Results. July 28, 2011
MEGA Brands Inc. announced its financial results today for the second quarter ended June 30, 2011. Consolidated net sales in the second quarter increased 6% to $83.9 million compared to $78.8 million in the corresponding 2010 period. This is the seventh consecutive quarter of higher year-over-year consolidated sales since the fourth quarter of 2009. Toy sales increased 11% with growth in all categories compared to the second quarter of 2010.

Toys R Us To Carry Amazon Kindle in Stores. July 28, 2011 Amazon’s Kindle eReader will be available at Toys R Us stores beginning July 31, 2011.The world’s largest toy chain will carry the Wi-Fi, 3G and Wi-Fi and Special Offers Wi-Fi editions, as well as an assortment of accessories, in its U.S. retail stores.

Apple iPad is New Gaming Platform. July 28, 2011 After making inroads into the enterprise domain as reported by Good Technology, Apple's iconic tablet iPad is fast replacing gaming consoles to become the preferred platform for game makers.

Harry Potter Factor Works its Magic on Hamleys Sales. July 28, 2011 Landmark London toy store Hamleys has reported bumper current trading as toys inspired by blockbuster film franchises such as Harry Potter and Cars pull in shoppers.

Strollers Recalled by phil&teds USA Due to Risk of Injury from Brake Failure. July 28, 2011 The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: 7,400 in the US and 1,900 in Canada Explorer strollers, and 160 in the U.S. and 65 in Canada Hammerhead Strollers, from phil&teds USA Inc. The items were sold online at philandteds.com, pishposhbaby.com, and albeebaby.com; and at Babies R Us and specialty juvenile retailers in the United States and Canada from August 2010 through June 2011 for between $475 and $500. The brake mechanism on the strollers can fail, posing an injury hazard. Consumers should immediately stop using the product and contact phil&teds to arrange to receive a upgraded brake assembly.

Prime-Line Products Recalls Child Bathtub Non-Slip Pads Due To Fall Hazard. July 28, 2011 The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 8,000 Bathtub Non-Slip Pads from Prime-Line Products Company Inc, sold at Ace Hardware & Menards nationwide between May 24, 2010 and June 13, 2011 for about $6. Some pads do not stick to the bathtub surface, posing a fall hazard to consumers. Consumers should immediately stop using the pads and contact Prime-Line to receive a full refund.

Child Safety Latches and Outlet Covers Recalled by Prime-Line; Screw Breaks Can Allow Unintended Access. July 28, 2011 The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 37,000 Safety Latches and Outlet Covers from Prime-Line. Drawer and cabinet latches were sold at Ace Hardware, Bostwic-Braun, Cal-Do-It Centers, Do-It-Best, Friedman Brothers, Menards, Orgill, The Andersons Inc. and True Value stores nationwide between October 2010 and June 2011 for between $2.50 and $2.70. Outlet covers were sold at Ace Hardware, Cimarron Lumber & Supply, Do-It-Best, Friedman Brothers, Handy Hardware, Menards and W.E. Aubuchon stores nationwide between October 2009 and June 2011 for about $3.50. The screws on the safety latches and outlet covers can loosen and/or break. When this happens, young children can gain access to electrical outlets and other potentially hazardous items. Consumers should immediately contact Prime-Line to receive a free replacement kit

New ThunderCats Toy Line Roars Into Retail Stores Nationwide. July 28, 2011
Timed to the debut of ThunderCats, the new re-imagined animated series from Warner Bros. Animation, new toys from Bandai America Incorporated and Warner Bros. Consumer Products are now available at retail locations nationwide.

Little Princess App Released. July 28, 2011
Zodiak Kids released the first official Little Princess iApp game in conjunction with developers Jick Jack, a division of Neon Play.

Capcom Partners with Sanrio. July 28, 2011 Capcom Entertainment and Sanrio have partnered to create co-branded Street Fighter themed merchandise featuring Hello Kitty dressed in the distinct costumes from the Street Fighter series of video games. The line will launch next fall.

NRF Asks EEOC Not To Bar Criminal Background Checks. July 27, 2011 The National Retail Federation today urged the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to reject a proposal that could bar employers from running criminal background checks on job applicants or existing workers.

Washington State Announces Rule for Children’s Safe Products Act. July 27, 2011
As previously reported to TIA members, under the State of Washington’s Children’s Safe Products Act (CSPA) of 2008, the State’s Department of Ecology (DoE) has developed a set of implementing regulations for reporting the presence of any of 66 suspected “chemicals of concern” in children’s products sold in the State.

The No-Kids-Allowed Movement is Spreading. July 27, 2011
What's the matter with kids today and why doesn't anyone want them around? In June, Malaysia Airlines banned babies from many of their first class cabins, prompting other major airlines to consider similar policies.

Scholastic Offering Buyout Package. July 27, 2011 Scholastic is in the final days of offering a buyout package to all employees who have been with the publisher for at least 10 years regardless of age.

Topps Acquires GMG Entertainment. July 27, 2011 The Topps Company has acquired GMG Entertainment, a digital currency card publisher. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Pacific Entertainment Gets Distribution Rights for Eagle One Media. July 27, 2011 Pacific Entertainment Corporation has signed a new distribution agreement with Eagle One Media for the distribution of DVDs and games.

Third Annual Kids II And SCAD Design Contest. July 27, 2011 The 2011 Kids II and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) program and contest for toy and gear design was a success for both the students and the infant toy company; the program resulted in innovative designs and exciting opportunities for several of the outstanding participants.

PR Agency, lotus823, Secures Contract for EggBods™ by Bluw Toys. July 27, 2011 Bluw Toys has selected lotus823, a search engine marketing and PR agency, to help launch the EggBods™ brand in the US.

Nielsen and Walmart to Share Data. July 26, 2011 Nielsen signed a cooperation agreement with Walmart to receive and analyze sales information from Walmart’s U.S. stores. The majority of U.S. retailers already provide Nielsen with sales information, and Walmart's data will allow Nielsen to provide a more precise view of consumer purchase activity.

Toddlers Learn Early Math Skills From Elmo. July 26, 2011
Researchers Lauricella, Gola, and Calvert from the Children's Digital Media Center found that toddlers performed a sequencing task better when an Elmo puppet demonstrated it than when an unfamiliar puppet performed the same exact task.

Fat Brain Toys a Contest Winner. July 26, 2011 In a few weeks, Fat Brain Toys' owner Mark Carson will head to California to learn how to make the most of social media for his Elkhorn neighborhood-based toy company. Fat Brain Toys was announced Monday as one of five winners of the American Express Open Big Break for Small Business contest.

JAKKS Pacific Secures Master Toy License for Columbia Pictures’ Men in Black 3. July 26, 2011 Leading U.S. toymaker JAKKS Pacific, Inc, (Nasdaq: JAKK) announced today a worldwide master toy licensing agreement with Sony Pictures Consumer Products, Inc. to manufacture, distribute and market a line of toys and products based on the 3D action comedy film Men in Black 3.

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure Invades 3DS Along With Consoles, PC and Web. July 26, 2011 Activision is adding another dimension to its already multi-dimensional Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure: a 3-D version of the game for the Nintendo 3DS.

CollegeHumor Partners with Nintendo. July 26, 2011 CollegeHumor Media has partnered with Nintendo to bring original, 3D comedy videos to the Nintendo 3DS video game system via the new Nintendo Video service.

Elliot Handler, Toy Maker and Mattel Co-founder, Dies at 95. July 25, 2011 Elliot Handler, a pioneering toy maker who co-founded Mattel and with his wife Ruth created the Barbie doll, died Thursday. He was 95.

CPSC Adopts Testing Requirements for Children's Toys
. July 25, 2011
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted 5-0 on July 20 to approve new third party testing requirements, through a notice of requirements, to ensure the safety of children's toys. While the toy industry has had to comply with mandatory toy safety requirements for more than two years, the Commission voted to give manufacturers, importers and private labelers additional time to put a third party testing program into place. CPSC has approved a stay of enforcement on the requirement for third party testing and certification of children's toys until December 31, 2011.

Deals Signed for Super Heroes. July 25, 2011
Entertainment properties continued to release new product agreements in conjunction with Comic-Con International in San Diego.

EA Unveils Star Wars: The Old Republic. July 25, 2011 Electronic Arts' BioWare division unveiled three editions of Star Wars: The Old Republic—a collector’s edition, digital deluxe edition and standard edition—available for pre-order at participating retailers, with digital versions available exclusively at Origin.

THQ Plans Marvel Releases. July 25, 2011 THQ will release two Marvel Super Hero Squad titles this fall, Comic Combat, which will hit stores Nov. 15, and The Infinity Gauntlet, scheduled to debut Oct. 11.

ABC Kids Expo & Partners Support Kids In Distressed Situations Charity in 2011. July 22, 2011 All Baby & Child, Inc., the parent company of ABC Kids Expo®, has announced that they and their manufacturer/distributor partners are again supporting Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) in conjunction with their 2011 show, according to a press release.

Flat Back-to-School Sales Predicted. July 22, 2011
The National Retail Federation and The NPD Group have both predicted flat back-to-school sales for retailers this year.

FAO Schwartz Celebrates Smurfs. July 22, 2011 FAO Schwartz announced its promotional plans to support the Sony Pictures release of The Smurfs on July 29 with a store-in-store and daily live events.

Nickelodeon and Jazwares Create New Fanboy and Chum Chum Toys for Target. July 22, 2011 Nickelodeon Consumer Products and Jazwares, Inc. will unveil a new lineup of toys from the Emmy® Award-winning CG-animated comedy Fanboy and Chum Chum during Comic-Con International in San Diego, Calif., to be Offered exclusively at Toys"R"Us.

Jakks Pacific Tops Market on First Sales Rise in 2 yrs. July 21,2011Toy maker Jakks Pacific Inc's quarterly profit edged past Wall Street expectations as sales rose for the first time in more than two years, offsetting a drop in gross margins.

Toymakers Face Difficult Patch. July 21,2011The new European directive on toy safety came into force Wednesday and has caused concern for many Chinese manufacturers.

Kids Drive Household Purchases Of Consumer Electronics. July 21,2011According to Kids and Consumer Electronics, 2011 Edition, the latest report from leading market research company, The NPD Group, kids' inclination to use consumer electronics devices, and their desire for the content they can access using them, helps to drive the household purchasing of these products.

Target Recalls Children’s Task Lamps Due to Laceration and Fire Hazards. July 21,2011The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: Approximately 13,000 Circo Children’s Task Lamps from the Target Corporation, sold at Target stores nationwide and Target.com from January 2011 to April 2011 for about $13. Lamps may overheat, causing the adhesive inside the lamp socket to melt and migrate into the bulb area of the socket. The cooled glue can adhere to the light bulb base and make the bulb difficult to remove which can result in a broken light bulb, posing a risk of laceration to consumers. Consumers should immediately stop using the lamps and return them to any Target store to receive a full refund.

Scholastic Announces Fiscal 2011 Results . July 21,2011
Scholastic today reported fourth quarter earnings of $545.8 million, up 1% from 2010, and overall annual revenue for the fiscal year, which ended May 31, of $1.91 billion, roughly level with last year.

McDonald's Loses Bid to Move Happy Meal Lawsuit-Judge. July 21,2011
McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) lost a skirmish in a lawsuit over its Happy Meal advertising practices, as a U.S. district judge ruled the case could not be litigated in federal court. McDonald's is accused of unfairly using toys to lure children into its restaurants, and a proposed class-action lawsuit seeks to stop the company from advertising toys in connection with Happy Meals in California.

Toynami Unveils Angry Panda Line. July 21,2011
N.S. Bienstock, global merchandising agent for Angry Panda, brokered a deal with with Toynami to launch a line of Angry Panda plush, clip-on and backpacks in the U.S.

Hasbro Showcases Licensed Products. July 21,2011
Hasbro will display a raft of licensed consumer products at San Diego Comic-Con, featuring key properties including G.I. Joe, Kre-O, Marvel, My Little Pony, Star Wars and Transformers at its HasbroToyShop booth.

Angry Birds a Red-Hot Back to School Trend. July 21,2011
Almost two years after it launched, the highly-addictive Angry Birds iPhone app in which birds are slung at pigs living in wood houses is still the No.1-selling paid app. Now for the first time, Angry Birds' digital popularity is spilling over into the real world.

'Monsuno' to Air on Nickelodeon. July 21,2011Jakks Pacific, Dentsu Entertainment USA and FremantleMedia Enterprises inked a global content distribution deal with Nickelodeon for worldwide broadcast rights to the new original animated entertainment franchise "Monsuno."

DC Comics Expands Toy Deal With LEGO. July 21, 2011 Warner Bros. Consumer Products is expanding it relationship with toymaker Lego and providing the toymaker with access to DC Comics’ extensive library of comic book heroes.

Toy Company Hasbro's Expansion in Rhode Island to Create Over 280 Jobs. July 20, 2011Hasbro, one of the world’s premier toy and entertainment companies, has announced plans to expand its Rhode Island operations to a 136,000-sq.-ft. facility in Providence.

Summer Kids’ Movies Fail to Power Toy Sales. July 20, 2011
Hollywood has gone too far in saturating the market with toy movies this year, a leading consultant says — pumping out a series of crummy children’s films that serve no purpose other than to try to sell merchandise.

EU Toy Safety Directive in Effect July 20, 2011. July 20, 2011The European Union’s Toy Safety Directive (TSD), which strengthens the EU’s safety criteria for all toys produced domestically and imported from abroad, comes into effect on July 20, 2011 (with the exception of chemical requirements). Approved on June 30, 2009, the law was officially implemented across each EU state on January 20, 2011.

TOMY Appoints Curtis W. Stoelting to Its Board of Directors. July 20, 2011TOMY Company, Ltd. has named Curtis W. Stoelting, former Chief Executive Officer and Director of RC2 Corporation, to its parent company board of directors. The Company formerly known as RC2/Learning Curve Brands will now be known as TOMY International with sales and marketing operating units in North America, Europe and Australia and development and sourcing units in Asia.

Laufer Group International & the Toy Shippers Association, Inc. (TOYSA) Announce Partnership. July 20, 2011Laufer Group International announces this week its new strategic partnership with non-profit organization, Toy Shippers Association, Inc. (TOYSA). This joint venture allows TOYSA members access to Laufer’s full suite of international logistics services, while still remaining under the TOYSA umbrella, according to a press release.

Calling Off Auction, Borders to Liquidate. July 19, 2011The Borders Group said Monday that it would liquidate, shutting down the 40-year-old bookseller after it failed to find a last-minute savior.

Scholastic Adds I Spy Video Game. July 19, 2011
Scholastic Media added the Nintendo DS game I Spy Castle to its I Spy interactive franchise.

Awkward Family Photos Game Released. July 19, 2011All Things Equal has released two new board games: Awkward Family Photos, based on a popular website, and The Greatest Day Ever Game.

Pokemon Game Coming to the 3DS
. July 19, 2011Nintendo announced this morning that they are developing Pokemon Rumble Blast for the Nintendo 3DS.

On the Call: Mattel CEO Discusses Retail Outlook. July 18, 2011Mattel Inc., the largest U.S. toymaker, said Friday it second-quarter net income jumped 56 percent on strong sales of Barbie and other dolls and demand for "Cars 2" related toys. CEO Rob Eckert elaborates.

Borders Faces Liquidation as Najafi Won’t Bid for Bankrupt Book Chain. July 18, 2011
Borders Group Inc., the bankrupt bookstore chain, faces a sale to liquidators after Najafi Cos. declined to bid.

Hasbro Earnings Helped by Transformers Toys. July 18, 2011
Hasbro Inc.'s second-quarter earnings rose 33% as revenue in the Boys category almost doubled thanks to the success of the Transformers brand, offsetting declines in its other three product categories.

Citiblocs to be Featured on QVC. July 18, 2011 — Citiblocs will be featured on QVC's "Gifts for Grandkids" on July 24th, sometime between 4 and 6 pm EST, during QVC's three day "Christmas in July" sale, according to a press release.

Nominate a Toy for the National Toy Hall of Fame. July 18, 2011The National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, NY, is taking nominations for a classic toy to add to their collection.

innovativeKids® Hires Toy Veteran Reynolds as VP Sales. July 18, 2011 — innovativeKids is pleased to announce that Peter Reynolds will be joining their team as Vice President of Sales, according to a press release.

Toy Jewelry Shipment Seized For High Levels Of Lead. July 15, 2011
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, working closely with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, seized last month a shipment of imported children's toy jewelry for hazardous levels of lead. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the shipment was approximately $340,000.

Rethinking SIDS: Many Deaths No Longer A Mystery. July 15, 2011The thought of a baby dying suddenly and unexpectedly is one that keeps parents awake at night, fearing the worst.

Mattel 2nd-quarter Profit Tops Wall Street Estimates. July 15, 2011Mattel Inc, the world's largest toy company, reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on strong sales of its Barbie dolls and toys based on the "Cars 2" movie.

Vtech to Make 'Puppy' Laptop. July 15, 2011The Giochi Preziosi Group appointed Vtech to produce a "Puppy in My Pocket: Adventures in Pocketville" laptop for France, Germany and Spain. The laptops will hit retail next year.

DCD and Bluw Make Musical Key Rings. July 15, 2011DCD Publishing signed a deal with Bluw Toys to produce range of musical, guitar-shaped key rings featuring four songs from the Lennon/McCartney catalog.

Strawberry Shortcake Hits McDonald's. July 15, 2011Strawberry Shortcake McDonald's Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals are now available at McDonald's restaurants in North America, according to an agreement between CPLG, American Greetings Properties and McDonald's.

Acceptable Lead Levels in Toys cut By Two-Thirds. July 14, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission decided Wednesday to lower by two-thirds the amount of lead allowed in toys and other children's products.

Hasbro Event Hit Over Rainforest Packaging. July 14, 2011 — Word famous toy company Hasbro, makers of Monopoly and the Transformers, have had their key event showcasing this year’s possible Christmas bestsellers disrupted by environmental campaigners over the company’s refusal to stop using rainforest packaging for their toys.

Children's Toys Put to the Test. July 14, 2011 — A recent test on 200 samples of toys by SPRING Singapore has found 20 per cent of them to be unsafe.

JAKKS Pacific to Announce 2011 Second Quarter Results
. July 14, 2011 — JAKKS Pacific, Inc. will announce results for its Second Quarter and first six months of 2011 on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, before the stock market opens.

June Retail Sales Mark Twelve Consecutive Months Of Growth, According To NRF
. July 14, 2011
— Warm weather, lower gas costs and strong Father’s Day promotions put consumers in a spending mood in June, boosting retail sales for the 12th consecutive month and surpassing many analysts’ expectations.

Membrain Licensing Signs Designer Electronics Deal With Mimoco for Emily the Strange. July 14, 2011 — Licensing and Brand Strategy firm memBrain Licensing announced today a new licensing agreement between Mimoco, creator of the MIMOBOT® line of designer USB flash drives, and counterculture fashion and publishing icon Emily the Strange, according to a press release.

GreenLight Names Russell J. Hughes President. July 14, 2011 — Today, GreenLight LLC announced that Russell J. Hughes has been promoted to President of GreenLight LLC. Previously, Mr. Hughes served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for GreenLight, according to a press release.

Brand Sense Acquires DwellStudio. July 14, 2011 — Brand Sense Partners has acquired lifestyle brand DwellStudio, which represents the second major home furnishings investment for bsp, who also owns a controlling interest in the Shabby Chic brand. DwellStudio sells a broad range of home textile products, case goods, upholstered furniture and baby and kids products.

Fox Oks 'Chipmunks' Video Game. July 14, 2011 — Majesco Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products and Bagdasarian Productions will release the Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked video game based on the third feature film that hits theatres Dec. 16.

EA to Acquire PopCap Games. July 14, 2011 — Electronic Arts agreed to acquire PopCap Games, a mobile game provider for phones, tablets, PCs and social network sites.

Report: Mattel Should Pay Bratz Maker $108 Million in Lawyers' Fees. July 13, 2011 — MGA Entertainment Inc., maker of the Bratz dolls, should receive $108 million in attorneys' fees from Mattel Inc., in connection with the two companies' long-running litigation over rights to the doll franchise, according to a recommendation disclosed in court documents.

New Day Care Rules Proposed For Dolls, Milk, More. July 13, 2011 — Day care centers in Colorado may have to meet new rules that regulate everything from the race of dolls to how much TV kids can watch.

Crayola ColorStudio HD Brings Interactive Creativity to iPad. July 13, 2011 — Griffin Technology has partnered with Crayola to create Crayola ColorStudio HD, an accessory and app combo that blends coloring with mobile technology.

Douglas Unveils Holiday Plush. July 13, 2011 — Douglas Company unveiled its holiday plush collection, which includes Tippy Toe the Mouse; Santa’s Helper the Black Lab; Paz the Cream Lab; Treasure the Golden; Sparky the Shepherd; and Peppermint the Gray Cat.

Scholastic Oks Magic Bus Video Game. July 13, 2011
— Scholastic Media has approved The Magic School Bus: Oceans, a Nintendo DS game based on "The Magic School Bus," the science adventure series based on the Scholastic book series.

Rovio Taps TCC for Loyalty. July 13, 2011 — TCC was named global licensee for retail loyalty promotions for Rovio’s Angry Birds franchise.

Allegory and Speed Racer Enterprises Partner. July 13, 2011 — Allegory, LLC is pleased to announce it has joined forces with Speed Racer Enterprises to produce a new line of highly anticipated comics, graphic novels, games, and digital products based on the Speed Racer animated series.

Disney Unveils Pooh Products. July 13, 2011 — Disney Consumer Products unveiled its new Winnie the Pooh merchandise, which supports the Winnie the Pooh U.S. film release July 15.

Kohl's Cares Chooses Clifford. July 13, 2011 — Scholastic’s Clifford dog has been selected as the newest Kohl’s Cares cause merchandise program at Kohl’s department stores, which is offering four exclusive Clifford storybooks now through the end of September.

Macy's Agrees to Pay $750,000 Civil Penalty for Failing to Report Drawstrings in Children's Outerwear. July 12, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Macy's Inc., of Cincinnati, Ohio, has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $750,000. The penalty agreement (pdf) has been provisionally accepted by the Commission. The settlement resolves CPSC staff allegations that Macy's knowingly failed to report to CPSC immediately, as required by federal law, that it had sold children's sweatshirts, sweaters and jackets with drawstrings at the neck between 2006 and 2010.

Etch A Sketch Day Marks the Toy's 51st Birthday. July 12, 2011 — Today is the 51st birthday of the Etch A Sketch, the drawing toy that was named one of this century's most treasured toys by the Toy Industry Association in 2003.

Mattel Announces Comi-Con Offerings. July 12, 2011 — Mattel has announced in a press release the collectible items they will be showcasing at San Diego Comi-Con. You can see the list here.

Retail Container Traffic Remains Flat But Upturn Is Expected. July 12, 2011 — Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is staying at about the same levels as last year this summer, but is expected to resume increases in the fall, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

Warner Bros. Plans LOTR Game. July 12, 2011 — Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Snowblind Studios have begun pre-order incentive programs for the North American collector’s edition of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, which will ship this fall.

Analyst: Game console sales plummeted in June. July 11, 2011 — Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter today offered up a dismal estimate on June game industry sales. The analyst said that Microsoft led the way in console sales last month, selling 355,000 Xbox 360 units in the U.S. However, that figure is down 21 percent compared to the same period last year.

New Rules Go Too Far For Toy Makers. July 11, 2011 — A national law intended to improve the safety of children’s toys is putting the squeeze on a number of small local companies that make products for kids.

Marvel: Peter Phillips New GM of Digital Media. July 11, 2011 — Marvel Entertainment LLC has named Peter Phillips to help oversee the company's digital publishing, social networking and online presence.

Music Sales Increase for the First Time Since 2004. July 11, 2011 — Finally, some good news for the beleaguered music industry: Music sales are up 8.5% year-over-year during the first half of 2011, which is on track to become the first full year of positive music sales since 2004.

IPO view: Toys R Us IPO Taking Shape Slowly, Now Seen in 2012. July 11, 2011
— The New Jersey-based company behind the iconic dolls and model cars filed its IPO paperwork in May 2010 but is now not expected to go public until 2012, two sources told Reuters.

WNBA, Growums Partner to promote Healthy Lifestyle with Camp Days This Summer. July 11, 2011 — The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and Growums -- a company dedicated to educating kids and parents about gardening and encouraging healthy eating habits in the battle against childhood obesity, improving the environment and bringing families closer together -- announced a new partnership that will celebrate the league’s youngest and most passionate fans during Camp Days in select WNBA markets, including Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

Rio Signs Maya in Russia and CIS. July 11, 2011
— Rio License signed an agreement with Studio 100 to represent the Maya the Bee property in Russia and all the CIS territories, including Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

China Increases Export Edge. July 11
— More than a year after China started letting its currency climb against the US dollar, the nation is a bigger force in exports than ever, adding to its dominance as a trading power and complicating efforts by other nations to wrest away manufacturing jobs.

LEGO Group Actions to Reduce Packaging Materials’ Impact on the Environment. July 8, 2011 — The LEGO Group has taken several steps to reduce the environmental impact of packaging materials and paper used in LEGO® products.

June Same-Store Sales Grow. July 8, 2011 — Retail same-store sales jumped to 7.1% growth in June as a drop in gasoline prices began to cushion the impact of price pressures on shoppers' spending plans, according to Kantar Retail.

Spy Kids Game Set for Nintendo DS. July 8, 2011 — Majesco Entertainment, in association with TWC Games, will release Spy Kids: All the Time in the World on Nintendo DS this August.

Super Rad Merges with FBC Holdings. July 8, 2011 — Super Rad and FBC Holdings have completed an asset purchase agreement between the companies, which was first disclosed last August.

AGP Plans Care Bears Series. July 7, 2011 — American Greetings Properties has green lit a CGI-animated Care Bears television series. The series will debut next year, which is the property’s 30th anniversary. To support the show, a toy line from Hasbro is planned for 2013.

EU Toy Safety Rules to be Stricter. July 7, 2011 — Stricter rules on toy safety will come into force this month making it easier for consumers and authorities to trace the origin of toys.

Mini Stars Building Sets Recalled by Edushape Due to Choking Hazard. July 7, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 18,000 Mini Stars building sets from Edushape Ltd., sold at small retail stores nationwide, online at Toys R Us.com, Amazon.com and CSN on walmart.com from January 2007 through December 2009 for between $10 and $50. CPSC and Edushape have received two reports of the knobs breaking off from the center of the stars. No injuries have been reported. Consumers should immediately take the recalled Mini Star building sets away from children and contact Edushape for a free replacement set or credit towards another Edushape product of equal or lesser value.

Mizuno USA Inc. Recalls Baseball and Softball Gloves Due to Presence of Mold. July 7, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 131,000 Mizuno Supreme Series and Ballpark Pro baseball and softball gloves, sold at Walmart and Target stores nationwide from April 2010 through May 2011 for between $24 and $60. Some gloves were found to contain a variety of molds that could cause respiratory or other infections in individuals with chronic health problems, or in individuals who have impaired immune systems. Consumers should immediately stop using the gloves and contact Mizuno USA to receive a full refund.

Church & Dwight Renews with 'Thomas'. July 7, 2011
— HIT Entertainment and New York Public Media's WNET Thirteen announced that Church & Dwight's Orajel and Arm & Hammer Spinbrush brands renewed their sponsorship of "Thomas & Friends" on PBS Kids.

America's Biggest Teacher and Principal Cheating Scandal Unfolds in Atlanta. July 6, 2011 — At least 178 teachers and principals in Atlanta Public Schools cheated to raise student scores on high-stakes standardized tests, according to a report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Paramount Pictures Launches Animation Division. July 6, 2011
— Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc., will launch an in-house animation division, with its first title slated for release in 2014.

LeapFrog: We Want to be Major Player in iOS and Android. July 6, 2011 — John Barbour, CEO of LeapFrog, tells tech site www.pocket-lint.com about his plans for expanding the company's iOS and Android app offerings.

China Toy Association Publishes Survey on Toy Consumption in China. July 6, 2011
— The China Toy Association (CTA) surveyed 5,000 consumers from first, second and third tier cities across the nation to assess the purchasing habits of its population over a period of three months in 2010.

India Toy Fair Sparks Discussion about Anticipated Changes in Indian Toy Regulations. July 6, 2011 — Upcoming changes in Indian toy regulations were a leading topic at the “5th Toy Biz International,” the annual Toy Fair hosted by the Toy Association of India (TAI) held in New Delhi, July 2-4, 2011.

Mattel Inc. – Q2 FY 2011 Earnings Preview. July 6, 2011 — Mattel Inc. (Nasdaq: MAT), the world's largest toy manufacturer, is expected to report its second quarter FY 2011 earnings on July 15, 2011. In the last four quarters ending March, 2011, MAT's reported earnings per share has beaten analysts' consensus estimates by margins of 1.30 percent for September 2010 and 3.50 percent for December 2010.

Toys "R" Us Expands Retail Operations in the UAE. July 6, 2011 — Toys “R” Us, the world’s favourite toy retailer, today opened its new store at the popular Deira City Centre shopping mall. With the opening of the new store, the Al-Futtaim Group company now has 6 stores in the UAE and 13 across the MENA region.

Panini Unveils Cars 2 Collection. July 6, 2011 — Panini America launched the official Disney*Pixar Cars 2 sticker and album collection, which features 216 unique stickers, including 18 special holographic stickers and 18 metallic stickers.

Saban Taps Parragon for Books. July 6, 2011 — Parragon will release a range of "Power Rangers Samurai" books following a deal brokered by the brand's licensing agent CPLG U.K. and licensor Saban Brands.

VeggieTales Signs Exclusive Décor Deal. July 6, 2011 — Big Idea Entertainment signed an exclusive deal with Wacky Wallscapes for custom children's wall coverings.

Intel’s Little Laptop That Could Brings Tech to Millions of Children Around the World. July 5, 2011 — Intel has created a low-cost, high-function laptop designed to get beat up, dropped and deliver education to children around the world.

ABC Kids Expo 2011 Spotlights Innovative Contemporary Products in Modern Child Pavilion. July 5, 2011ABC Kids Expo® will include the Modern Child Pavilion again in 2011, featuring juvenile product manufacturers that focus on contemporary design and high functionality. This juried section of the show represents the most innovative designs within numerous product categories, according to a press release.

Martha Stewart Launches Kids Brand. July 5, 2011 — A Squared Entertainment, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and AOL unveiled “Martha & Friends,” an animated multimedia series for kids.

Underground Releases Doctor Who Plush. July 5, 2011 — Underground Toys released its talking plush products for BBC's "Doctor Who" TV series.

Scholastic Media Promotes Lynne Karppi. July 5, 2011 — Scholastic Media, a division of Scholastic Inc., the global children’s publishing, education and media company, today announced that Lynne Karppi has been promoted to Director of Creative and Product Development for the Consumer Products division, according to a press release.

Namco Bandai Ships Naruto Game. July 5, 2011 — Namco Bandai Games America shipped its Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations video game for PlayStation3 and Xbox 360.

Toy Maker Hornby's Olympic Collection. July 5, 2011 — UK toy maker Hornby, famous of its model trains, is making more than 150 Olympic-related items for the London 2012 games and says it hopes the range will attract a new generation of hobbyists.

Chicago Toy & Game Fair Presents 2011 Young Inventor Challenge. July 5, 2011
— The Chicago Toy & Game Fair (ChiTAG) encourages kids to unleash their inner Einstein with its fifth annual Young Inventor Challenge, an original toy and game inventing competition held during the Fair on November 19, 2011 at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Registration is free on the Chicago Toy & Game Fair's Young Inventor Challenge website and must be submitted online or by mail before October 31, 2011.

CPSC Issues New Drawstring Safety Rule for Children’s Outerwear. July 5, 2011
— The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted (5-0) today to approve a new federal safety rule for drawstrings in children’s outerwear. The final rule designates children’s upper outerwear in sizes 2T through 12, with neck or hood drawstrings, and children’s upper outerwear in sizes 2T through 16, with certain waist or bottom drawstrings, as substantial product hazards. Drawstrings can catch or become entangled with objects, such as a car door or playground slide, posing dragging, strangulation entrapment hazards to children.

Mattel Questions Effect of Brands on Childhood
. July 1, 2011 — Speaking at Marketing's 'Appeal to kids and sell to parents' conference in London, Ruth Clement, head of strategic insight and business intelligence at Mattel UK, said that an 'unqualified belief' that 'kids (are) getting older younger' (KGOY) has led to some marketers making mistakes in their strategies.

Toy Teaches Autistic Children Positive Play. July 1, 2011
— A responsive, mechanised toy designed especially for autistic children six months and up has been created to teach positive play behaviors.

Children's Sleepwear Recalled by Sage Creek Organics Due to Violation of Federal Flammability Standard. July 1, 2011The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 600 age Creek Organics children’s sleepwear, sold at small boutiques nationwide and online at the company’s website www.sagecreekorganics.com from August 2010 to February 2011 for approximately $35. The garments fail to meet the federal flammability standards for children’s sleepwear posing a risk of burn injury to children. The garments are being recalled because they do not meet the tight-fitting sizing requirements. Consumers should immediately return the garments to either the place of purchase or to Sage Creek Organics for a full refund.

HIT's Angelina Jewelry Premieres. July 1, 2011 — HIT Entertainment and designer jewelry label Molly Brown will premiere the first ever Angelina Ballerina collection tomorrow exclusively at Selfridges in the U.K. The collection will launch at select stores across the U.K. July 16.

Stan Lee to Unveil 'Blood Red Dragon'. July 1, 2011 — Stan Lee, Japanese recording artist Yoshiki and comic book artist Todd McFarlane will unveil the debut issue of the "Blood Red Dragon" comic book series at Comic-Con July 21 during a panel discussion with comic book writer Jon Goff.

Baby Lit Debuts Shakespeare and Austen Classics from Gibbs Smith. July 1, 2011 — The first two titles in the new Baby Lit board book series from Gibbs Smith will introduce classic writers to the youngest readers – newborns to three-year-olds – with the publication of Little Miss Austen: Pride & Prejudice and Little Master Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet.

International Vitamin Corporation Recalls Live Better Vitamins Due to Failure to Meet Child-Resistant Closure Requirement. July 1, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 12,000 units of Live Better One Daily Tablets and Live Better Complex Vitamin B50 Tablets, sold at A& P Liquor, A&P, Pathmark, Waldbaum’s, The Food Emporium, Super Fresh and Food Basics grocery stores in CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, MA, VA and the District of Columbia between June 2009 and October 2010 for about $8. The iron supplements are not in child-resistant packaging as required by the Poison Prevention Packaging Act. Consumers should keep this product out of reach of children and call International Vitamin Corporation to receive a free replacement child-resistant cap.

Women’s Multivitamins Recalled by GNC Due to Failure to Meet Child-Resistant Closure Requirements. July 1, 2011 — The following product safety recall was voluntarily conducted by the firm in cooperation with the CPSC: About 2,500 GNC Women’s Ultra Mega®, Ultra Mega Active, Ultra Mega Energy and Metabolism, and GNC Prenatal Formula with Iron multivitamins, sold at GNC retail stores nationwide and at the GNC website from March 2011 through May 2011 for between approximately $9 and $35. The product contains iron, but does not have child-resistant packaging as required by federal law. Consumers should keep these products out of the reach of children and return them to the GNC store where they were purchased to be exchanged for a replacement bottle or refund.

Amazon.Com, Apple Stores Gain Significant Ground In Latest Top Retailers Report. July 1, 2011
— The view from the top hasn’t changed much, but the nation’s largest retailers are keeping a watchful eye on two companies that continue to make significant advances on their coveted territory, according to the STORES Top 100 Retailers. The annual ranking of U.S. retailers by domestic sales, featured in the July issue of STORES Magazine, was compiled by Kantar Retail and sponsored by Verizon.

ASTRA Announces 2011 Best Toys For Kids Winners. June 30, 2011 — ASTRA has announced their 2011 Best Toys for Kids list. The 22 products chosen were selected for their high quality and play value. The list included toys from Corolle, Manhattan Toy, Hape, Playmobil, The Orb Factory, Klutz, Blue Orange, PasMart, and more. You can see the full list here.

Uniqlo to Unveil Harry Potter Apparel. June 30, 2011
— Warner Bros. Consumer Products partnered with Uniqlo, the largest clothing retailer in Japan, for a Harry Potter apparel line.

Toy Industry Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Celebrate the Year of the Coast Guard
. June 30, 2011 — In recognition of the Year of the Coast Guard Family, representatives from the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) distributed new toys and games to 250 children stationed at the Massachusetts Military Reservation, Cape Cod, MA and surrounding military installations.

BJ's Wholesale Club to be Acquired. June 30, 2011 — BJ's Wholesale Club will be acquired by Leonard Green & Partners and CVC Capital Partners in an all-cash transaction valued at $2.8 billion. BJ's, which operates 190 warehouse clubs in 15 states, reported $10.6 billion in sales last year.

China to remain world's toymaker despite costs. June 30, 2011
— The chief executive officers of Hasbro Inc (HAS.O), LeapFrog Enterprises (LF.N) and Toys R Us Inc TOY.UL all told the Reuters Global Consumer and Retail Summit this week that China's considerable advantages as a manufacturing mecca mean it will remain toymaking's main hub.

Retailers twice shy about holiday season
. June 30, 2011
— Retailers, bitten by over-optimism last holiday season, are planning conservatively for the coming season in order to limit profit-sapping discounts on unsold merchandise come January.

Swing Sets Recalled by Adventure Playsets due to Fall Hazard. June 30, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: approximately 240,000 Adventure Playsets Wooden Swing Sets, sold at Academy Sports (the Yukon); Mills and Menards (the Ventura/II) all from 2005 to 2007; Mills (the Belmont) in 2004; Toys-R-Us (the Bellevue/II); and Walmart (the Tacoma/II, Durango/II, and Sedona). The units sold for $300-$600. The wood in the posts of the fort sections on the swing sets can weaken due to rotting, posing a fall hazard. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled swing sets and contact Adventure Playsets to obtain a free repair kit.

Cost Plus Inc. Recalls Wooden Animal Drum Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard. June 30, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 1,000 Wooden animal drums from Cost Plus Inc., sold at Cost Plus World Market stores nationwide from December 2010 through May 2011 for about $7. The paint used on the drum is in excess of the maximum allowable level of 90 ppm, a violation of the federal lead paint standard. Consumers should immediately stop using the toy and return it to Cost Plus World Market for a full refund.



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