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July 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 7
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Interview with Kathleen McHugh, President of ASTRA

ASTRA Convention Success Indicates Positive 2012 Holiday Season


If the success of the 2012 ASTRA Marketplace & Academy was any indication, the toy industry can look forward to a lucrative holiday season.

According to ASTRA President Kathleen McHugh, more than 1,000 retailers were expected at the 2012 show. This year the ASTRA convention took place in Baltimore, and with the addition of about 50 booths, this year was "the biggest show floor that we've ever had," McHugh told TDmonthly Magazine in an interview at the show.

See video interview with Kathleen McHugh, taken at the show:

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

(See transcript following article)

"I would say that the mood of our retailers in general is very optimistic…I know that there's a lot of order-writing going on here," which is positive for both retailers and manufacturers, McHugh told TDmonthly. Retailers are "really excited to get a lot of that pre-ordering done for the holidays, and manufacturers are happy...because it helps them to plan their inventories for the holidays," she said.

One of the reasons retailers were so eager to write orders may have been the amount of new products being shown. "We have a lot of new introductions that are taking place on the show room floor," McHugh explained. "Retailers can see a new product and get it into their stores for the holidays."

Next year the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy will take place in Nashville. "We'll be staying at the Renaissance, which is connected to the convention center, and it's right in the heart of the city," McHugh told TDmonthly.

Didn't make it to the show? Not to worry! This week TDmonthly Magazine will be posting new product videos taken at the ASTRA Marketplace.


Transcript: Interview with President of ASTRA Kathleen McHugh

Hello, my name is Kathleen McHugh and I'm the president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. We're here in Baltimore at ASTRA's 2012 convention at the Baltimore Convention Center. We've got an expanded show floor, we've added approximately 50 booths — it's the biggest show floor that we've ever had. And we also are expecting 1,000 retailers to come through this door in the next two days. We had a record number pre-register, and our registration personnel have been busy here for the last two days with people just walking in, so we're really excited. The show floor is full, manufacturers are happy, and it happens to be lunchtime so they're all enjoying a boxed lunch that we provide to them. Everybody's in good spirits.

I think I was asked what are plans are for the future, and in 2013 we'll be headed to Nashville, where we'll be staying at the Renaissance, which is connected to the convention center and it's right in the heart of the city, so everyone's excited about that. We'll be having a great time there.

I would say that the mood of our retailers in general is very optimistic. I know that there's a lot of order-writing going on here. People came prepared; they're really excited to get a lot of that pre-ordering done for the holidays and manufacturers are happy for that. It's a good time for them because it helps them to plan their inventories for the holidays so that's working out really well.

We've got catalog groups here who [will] make their final selections, they're happy because they can see the product and touch it, and all of the retailers who buy into those catalogs can see [the catalog] and touch it, and they can make those plans for the holidays.

One thing I would point out about this show that's probably different from others is that we have a lot of new introductions that are taking place on the show room floor today, so that's really good for the holiday season. Retailers can see a new product and get it into their stores for the holidays.

So thank you, and see you in Nashville!



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Justina HuddlestonWriter's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author

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