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March 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 3




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TDmonthly’s Top-10 Most-Wanted Wooden Toys

Melissa & Doug Leads the Way


With additional reporting by Sheila Coyle, Virginia Davis, Ingrid Floyd, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Christine Lebednik and Brenda Ruggiero

Wooden toys are staging quite a comeback, accounting for up to 50 percent of the stock in some retail stores. TDmonthly Magazine recently spoke with 63 specialty retailers about which of their wooden products are highest in demand, and an overwhelming 63 percent named an item manufactured by Melissa & Doug. Also popular  are blocks by HABA, Thomas trains by RC2 Brands, Ryan’s Room by Small World and anything by Plan Toys.

Read below for the top-10 wooden toys:




MSRP: $9.99
Age Range: 2 to 5
Launch Date: June 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Puzzles & Skill
Preschool



The jumbo puzzle features thick puzzle pieces that are hand-painted, feature full-color images and are capable of standing on their own for additional play. When assembled, the puzzle measures 12" x 11" x 4/5". The puzzle promotes creativity and matching skills. Launch date: June 2006.
– “Melissa & Doug…we sell two or three of their products every day. The best selling one is their puzzles,” Steve Ricks, owner of My Story House Toys in Roswell, Ga., told TDmonthly.
– Over 63 percent of retailers who spoke with TDmonthly named a Melissa & Doug product as their best-selling wooden toy item. Melissa & Doug wooden animal puzzles are very popular at The Toy Shop in Lexington, Ky., the owner told TDmonthly. “We sell one or two a day.”
— “Klutz books have been steady sellers for us,” Melodie Ingwersen, owner of Creative Kids Toy Shop in Columbia, S.C., told TDmonthly in March 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17656      (added 2/21/2008)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 2 and up
Launch Date: January 2004
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Infant & Toddler
Developmental Toys
Preschool



Ideal for a first manipulative, this 35-piece set features two-sided pattern boards that have cut-out spaces for secure shape placement. It measures 11" x 11" x 3". Launch date: January 2004.
— “Melissa and Doug — the puzzles and blocks are the best sellers. We sell something Melissa & Doug everyday,” Annie Polard, a buyer for Gretchen’s in Atlanta, Ga., told TDmonthly.
— For Alison Cox, owner of Animal Quackers in Raleigh, N.C., and Sheena Brittman, manager of Weiner Dog Toys in Marco Island, Fla., customers come into the store asking for Melissa & Doug products “by brand name.”
— Over 19 percent of retailers surveyed told TDmonthly that Melissa & Doug wooden blocks are the best-selling item in their store.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15517      (added 9/28/2007)
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MSRP: $19.95
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Play Sets
Wooden Toys



Kids can serve up a low-fat, high-protein meal to their teddy bears with this wooden play set.
— “Wood slicing food by Melissa & Doug,” Anna Barr, owner Anna’s Toy Depot in Austin, Texas, told TDmonthly, when asked about her store’s best selling wooden toy item.
— “We sell numerous sets of wooden food, like Melissa & Doug ones,” Emily Holmes, a buyer for Ambassador Toys in San Francisco, Calif., told TDmonthly.
— Over 11 percent of retailers told TDmonthly in early 2008 that wooden play-food sets were selling very well in their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12727      (added 5/11/2007)
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Stacking can be lots of fun. The colors and forms of these building blocks are especially pretty and the small structures inspire even adults. The blocks are made of beechwood with a base dimension of 1.5". The Cordoba set, which can be combined with HABA building blocks, has 16 pieces, which include rattles, bells, mirrors and a prism. They are made in Germany.
– “HABA … just straight across the board, we sell something every day,” Dennis Hofsetter, owner of The Toy Store in Atlanta, Ga., told TDmonthly.
– “Our best-selling wooden company is HABA,” Steven Aarons, co-owner of Barston’s Child's Play in Baltimore, told TDmonthly.
– Over 14 percent of retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in early 2008 named HABA’s building blocks as their stores’ best-selling wooden toy item.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16514      (added 12/7/2007)
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MSRP: $10.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Rail Roads & Trains



This wooden railway toy is the classic among the Thomas & Friends line. Compatible with wooden railway toys from other manufacturers, this replica of the popular children's character embodies the hopes and dreams of mini-Thomas fans.
— “Thomas the Tank by RC2 — I sell 100 to 150 units a month,” Ray Goodhart, owner of Ages and Stages Toy Box in Arvada, Colo., told TDmonthly.
— Janelle Cedusky, manager of Cheeky Monkey Toys in Menlo Park, Calif., told TDmonthly that her best-selling wooden toy item is “Thomas the Train by RC2 in general, but especially the Wooden Railway System. It’s hard to specify how many we sell because all are popular.”
— "Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway is the perfect last-minute gift or stocking stuffer. [The] deep product line offers a wide range of price points, from $10.99 engines to deluxe sets," said Laura Mares, marketing manager for Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9119      (added 8/24/2006)
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MSRP: $18.99
Age Range: 2 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



This childproof drum stimulates the development of a child's spatial perception, limb muscles and auditory nerves. Measuring about 6” in diameter, it is decorated with colorful graphics and the drumstick has a rubber head to soften the sound.
— Marilyn Sipila, owner of Toys Etc. in Poulsbo, Wash., told TDmonthly that drums and other musical toys from Plan Toys are among the best sellers in her store.
— Sipila said she sells about a half a dozen Plan musical toys a month, in a category that's not particularly strong in her store. 
– Of the 63 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly, five singled out Plan Toys as the maker of the best-selling wooden toy items in their store.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14260      (added 7/23/2007)
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MSRP: $110.25
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Play Houses



This sturdy, three-story dollhouse is the perfect setting for expansive living. There’s plenty of room for all kinds of accessories and endless imaginative play. Features include an open design for easy access, stairs from the second to third floor, and a built-in handle in the roof for easy carrying. "With its sturdy, heirloom-quality wood construction and open design, this beautiful dollhouse is not only a home where little imaginations can play and grow, but also a wonderful setting to encourage cooperative play with caregivers and other children," said Debra Fine, CEO of Small World Toys.
— "They're really good quality," said Tristan Hewitt, manager of Dragon's Toy Box in Seattle, when asked about Ryan's Room dollhouses.
— Seventeen of 62 retailers told TDmonthly  in spring 2007 that Small World is generally the best-selling brand in play houses. One or two dollhouses a year was a common sales figure given among retailers — especially those concentrated in the Northwest — regarding the Ryan's Room brand.
— Ryan’s Room dollhouses and furniture are in the top-10 best sellers at LB Toys in Media, Pa. “The traditional dollhouses and furniture are made of natural wood,” Owner Jamie Burdette told TDmonthly in spring 2008. “That’s obviously a plus with the lead-paint situation.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13511      (added 6/15/2007)
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Age Range: 2 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys



This set includes three separate wagons and an engine to awaken children’s fascination with trains. Children ages 2 and up can play with the wagons that are sized for little fingers and compatible with the classic wooden railway.
― Bill of Tutoring Toy told TDmonthly in spring 2007 that Brio “has very good deals for the specialty market.”
― Annette Garcia, owner of The Wee Loft in Dana Point, Calif., told TDmonthly that her store sells “10 to 20 units” of Brio trains every month.
― Over 14 percent of retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in early 2008 stated that wooden trains are very popular items in their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11634      (added 2/23/2007)
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MSRP: $17.99
Age Range: 3 to 7
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Play Sets
General Toys



The set includes 102 pieces, including pieces designed especially for building a personal frontier. Pieces include vehicles, western characters and roofing and logs so kids can build a real wood cabin.
– “The Wild West wooden set by Schylling — we sell at least one of all of those every day,” Manager Jessie Ryals and Owner Michelle Wood of Whippersnappers in St. Simon’s Island, Ga., told TDmonthly in early 2008.
– Schylling offers “lots of nice incentives for retailers, such as with shipping,” Donna Sedgwick of Toy Mill in Tiverton, R.I., told TDmonthly.
– “I’ve noticed a trend back to [wooden toys],” Ray Willis, owner of Toys & Bicycles in Westerly, R.I., told TDmonthly. “Grandparents and parents who had them … are bringing kids today into their past.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17657      (added 2/21/2008)
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MSRP: $99.95
Age Range: 3 to 7
Gender: Girls
Category: Dolls - Accessories



The doll cottage is designed with a child’s imagination in mind. With open space to navigate and redecorate, this charming dollhouse offers hours of inventive play. Features include three levels, charming flowers and scalloped trim, rooms typical of any household, sturdy wood construction and a welcoming family of four dolls. The cottage measures 20" x 12" x 25" and weighs 20 lbs.
— Dollhouses by KidKraft were predicted to be hot sellers during Christmas 2007 for girls aged 8 to 12, according to Lisa, manager of The Toy Box in Augusta, Ga.
— We sell a lot of wooden blocks and wooden doll houses by KidKraft,” Alison Cox, owner of Animal Quackers in Raleigh, N.C., told TDmonthly.
— Four of 54 retailers cited KidKraft — especially their dollhouses — when discussing sales for the 2007 holiday season.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15306      (added 9/20/2007)
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