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August 2006 | Vol. V - No. 8


TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Animal Figurines

With reporting by regional correspondents …Virginia Davis, Elizabeth Greenspan, Dennis Furlan and Donna Sacks

This month, TDmonthly Magazine polled 24 retailers to discover what were among their best selling animal figures. Many discussed plush products while others mentioned plastic creatures. Some even came back with trains and people (we imagined they must be busy). Here’s the breakdown on what’s moving best:

Category: Plush

Kids use this toy's hangtag to retrieve a secret code that brings a digitized version of the character to life on the Web. In cyberspace, kids can officially adopt their pet and create a virtual world for him, too. A total of five out of the 24 retailers surveyed said this product line was a top seller.
— “Girls like anything pink and poodle,” explained Jan Grimsley, owner of Trademarks in Little Rock, Ark.
— Rick Derr, owner of two Learning Express stores in Illinois, sells 20 to 30 Webkinz a day and expects the toy to sizzle at Christmas.
— "They're huge — not Beanie Baby huge, but it's really big," summed up Peter Scott, owner of Perfect Toy in Avon, Conn.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8575      (added 7/18/2006)

Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Animal Figures

Part of the Vanishing Wild Collection, this dignified giraffe is a scaled replica sculpted and hand painted with exacting detail by international artisans from around the world. The giraffe’s natural pose captures its magnificent beauty and spirit. It is scaled at 1:15 and measures 11" by 14".
— “They are really realistic and very durable,” said Wendy Kramer, manager of Big Fun Toys in Hoboken, N.J.
—  “The package comes with details on the animals, and kids just love them,” said Neil Ramyad, assistant manager of Zittles/Zitomer in New York, N.Y.
— “The girls are more into Safari’s giraffes and elephants than the dinosaurs, which boys reach for,” according to Katie Culotta, owner of Victoria's Toy Station in Baton Rouge, La.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8577      (added 7/18/2006)

MSRP: $9.59
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Animal Figures

This adorably soft 8” pug fits snugly in his very own pink purse that is adorned with hearts. He can be removed from the purse for added play value.
—“Aurora sells those cute little Fancy Pal purses. That sells really well,” was the observation made by Sherry Collins, owner of Abundant Joy for All Ages in Spring, Texas.
— “Right now, with the girls, it's the Aurora pets and pocket book — The Fancy Pals: cats and dogs that come in a purse,” was the sales trend noticed by Jackie Keyes, buyer at Over the Moon in Hingham, Mass. Jan Grimsley, owner of Trademarks in Little Rock, Ark., agreed.
—The plush Pet Carriers are Aurora’s No. 1 seller and have won an iParenting Media award. Aurora announced an expansion of this product line in February 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8579      (added 7/18/2006)

MSRP: $8.00
Age Range: 2 to 9
Launch Date: April 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush

Douglas makes many sizes and styles of breed-specific dogs and cats, but the 9" Kohair Softies are one of the most popular collections. The newest and softest materials make interesting interpretations of new breeds possible. There are 28 dog breeds and 11 cat breeds available in this category. The take-me-home expressions in the faces are irresistible, as can be seen with this cuddly Jack Russell. Launch date: late April 2006.
—  “We sell a lot of dogs,” said Carol Knight, owner of Toy Store in Ketchum, Idaho. “Douglas is good … I'd say they're probably my strongest. Personally, I think it's the price points, the quality, the design. They're very realistic.”
— “I sell a ton of Douglas, mostly their dogs. They do the best dogs,” observed Amy Barrett, owner of Lasso the Moon Wonderful Toys in Helena, Mont.
— Scott Clarke, president of Douglas Cuddle Toys, told TDmonthly: “There's some great realism in that Jack Russell and, in fact, in all the dogs and cats we make. There's realism in their faces and that's what people are drawn to. They look at the face and they want to pick it up. It feels great. That's what completes the signature.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7543      (added 4/12/2006)

Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush

This 46” realistic-looking cow is relaxing after a long day grazing in the warm summer sun. She has long legs and soft black and pink ears.
— “We specialize in agricultural toys — farm toys and farm construction,” said Donna Tippin, owner of Action Toys in Billings, Mont. She mentioned cows as a top seller.
— Debbie Scholl, owner of Fundamentally Toys in Houston, mentioned farm animals as hits at her location as well.
— "The Fiesta  46" Black/White Cow is a good seller for us because of its size and realistic features — very few companies carry a cow that size. This item is great for e-retailers, mail order, retailers, petting zoos and other businesses that need great merchandising props," according to Suzanne Hammond, Fiesta marketing consultant.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8583      (added 7/18/2006)

Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Action Figures

This highly detailed, hand-painted, two-headed dragon stands 4.5” tall.
— "The most critical thing [with action figures] is the dragons, and in the dragons, Papo wins. The 2-Headed Dragon Figure is number one," said Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Toy & Book Store in Scottsdale, Ariz. Other Papo action figures specialty retailers told TDmonthly are selling well were horses, animals and fantasy figures.
— Tanner was one of 10 retailers TDmonthly spoke with, out of a total of 34, who cited something other than a knight or a pirate as a best-selling Papo figure in their store.
— "The 2-Headed Dragon is available in two colors: green and, new for 2007, red," said Brian J. Shackelton, operations manager for Hotaling Imports Inc.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8580      (added 7/18/2006)

New for 2006, this lifelike white cub raises his paw and peers up as though gesturing to a fellow playmate. Five out of 24 retailers said these little critters were what kids craved.
— “The miniature animals from Schleich [are popular]. The kids enjoy them because they offer more imaginative play, there are no rules to follow,” said Warren Brown, owner of French’s Toy Shop Inc. in Concord, N.H.
— “They are fun, playful and realistic — the kids really seem to like them,” said Joanne Farrugia, owner of JaZams in Pennington, N.J.
— “There is a lot to choose from, we carry many choices and do more displays in the store on those,” said Steven Levy, owner of Toy City in Surry, N.H.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8576      (added 7/18/2006)

New as of May 2006, this green steed is adorned with a detailed green coat bearing a bull’s golden horns. The knight riding atop the grey beast is dressed in armor and wears a bull’s horns atop his helmet.
— Debbie Scholl, owner of Fundamentally Toys in Houston, said that Schleich makes animal figures that fly off the shelves at her store.
— “Let's see, we sell a lot of the German company Schleich Knights — horses and medieval times-like stuff. They're just very real looking and very detailed,” said Char Mcaulay, manager of Toy Town in Casper, Wyo.
— Retailers consistently tell TDmonthly that knights are one of the few non-licensed character-driven product lines that sell well at their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8581      (added 7/18/2006)

MSRP: $45.00
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush

From Aurora’s Barn Mates line of plush horses comes this 25" horse with a chocolate coat and light brown rings above her hooves. She also has a light brown mane and tail as well as big, brown eyes.
— “Russ Berrie has wonderful detail,” Carolyn Meyer, owner of Blue Turtle Toys in Dayton, Ohio, shared with TDmonthly.
— “Russ Berrie sells well,” was the verdict given by Angel Stahl, owner of Angel’s Toy Barn in Greensburg, Pa.  Jan Grimsley, owner of Trademarks in Little Rock, Ark., cited Russ when discussing top-selling animal products.
— Debbie Scholl, owner of Fundamentally Toys in Houston, said horses were among her top sellers. “We sell a lot of plush horses,” agreed Crystal Mobbs, sales associate at Tinkerz Toy Shop in Coeur D' Alene, Idaho.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8582      (added 7/18/2006)

MSRP: $2.59
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Animal Figures

These inexpensive PVC plastic dinosaurs are brightly colored and make an attractive counter display. Each of nine different packs include 12 dinosaurs.
— “Plastic dinosaurs from Ja-Ru,” said Joseph Baiocco, manager of Big Top of Scarsdale Inc. in Heathcote, N.Y. “There is a wide selection to choose from, they are a good size piece and it is a low-end priced item.”
— Plastic dinosaur figurines are a hit with boys, according to Jan Grimsley, owner of Trademarks in Little Rock, Ark.
— “Dinosaurs are always big,” agreed Debbie Scholl, owner of Fundamentally Toys in Houston.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8578      (added 7/18/2006)

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