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September 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 9




Tools:

Regional Reports: What’s Selling … and Where

Find Out What’s Going on in Stores Near You


With additional reporting by Sharri Hefner, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Chris Lundy, Claudia Newcorn and Brenda Ruggiero

Only interested in what’s going on in your market? Take a peek by region to see what to stock and when to think twice:

New England by Chris Lundy

Putumayo CDs are favs, and get played by staff on store speakers. Whoozits by Manhattan Toy and Twilight Sea Turtle by Cloud b won people over when shopping for baby gifts. For boys, it was anything physical and outdoorsy, namely Blast Pads by Marky Sparky or Stomp Rockets by D&L Co. Girls’ gifts were harder to nail down, with interests spreading from beauty supplies and dress up to crafts.


Mid Atlantic by Brenda Ruggiero

Webkinz by Ganz are slowing down, but Playmobil remains a strong seller. Outdoor toys, such as pool toys, blast pads and rocket balloons, did well during the summer. Collectible dolls are trending downward; the generation that collected them has grown up, and the next generation isn’t interested. Some grandmothers are still buying, but not as much as before. Crafts remain a popular gift item for girls.


Southeast by Sharri Hefner

Gund tops the baby gift market, with its plush animal blankets for girls and boys. For boys, best sellers run from laser pointers to Incredible Hulk items, to Bruder vehicles, to Playmobil. Parents and grandparents often buy Lee Middleton or Corolle dolls due to their fine craftsmanship. Melissa & Doug is the most trusted brand, popping up as a best seller in the baby, girl and educational categories.


Midwest by Terri Hughes-Lazzell

Sticky Mosaics by The Orb Factory continue to be a favorite among girls. Several stores say this is one of their best-selling items. When it comes to boys, LEGOs continue to be hot. And babies are seeing the light with the Twilight Turtle and Twilight Ladybug by Cloud b.


Southwest by Claudia Newcorn

Webkinz are still hot for boys and girls. LEGO remains a strong seller for boys. Bananagrams and Papo from Hotaling Imports are doing well. CDs and school supplies are in short supply at toy stores; only two of five carried the first and just one carried the second category. Disappointments included bamboo games by HaPe.


West by Claudia Newcorn

Webkinz disappointed Western storeowners this summer. Playmobil toys and LEGO still do well for boys ages 5 to 9. Breyer horses continue to be strong gift gives for girls ages 5 to 9. Bananagrams is holding steady. Mighty Minds by Leisure Learning received two mentions as a best-selling educational product, out of eight retailers surveyed.


West Coast by Marie Raven

An increased consciousness for safety and the environment has led to an emphasis on traditional and wooden toys for infants. Most stores do not carry CDs, or only stock a few, though music-play toys are a steady category. School supplies are not a popular market among specialty toy stores, though some carry workbooks and flashcards. More than one retailer named Papo, stomp rockets and blocks as top gifts for boys; for girls, Corolle dolls and arts and crafts items take the lead.

Following are the products mentioned by retailers across the country:




MSRP: $14.98
SKU or Item #: PUTU-277
Launch Date: April 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Audio & CD



Featuring artists Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Chiwoniso, Samite and others, this 11-track album blends vocal and instrumental talent in gentle African songs. A portion of profits will be given to non-profit NextAid, which works to help African children with the many challenges they face. Launch date: April 29, 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17997      (added 3/17/2008)
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MSRP: $38.00
Age Range: 2 and up
Launch Date: February 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Gifts
Educational



The plush is also a nightlight that projects an entire night sky onto the ceiling and side walls of any room. Additionally, it brings awareness to five endangered wildlife creatures, each highlighted on the turtle’s shell. Simply press on each button to learn about a different creature, such as the California sea otter and the blue whale. A little storybook is included to provide facts about each endangered creature. Launch date: February 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18346      (added 4/11/2008)
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MSRP: $34.95
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Sporting Goods & Accessories



Kids can Simul-Blast™ two missiles into space and see who can blast their missile higher and get more hang time.  Kids can choose between Foamies™ or, for unbelievable height, Metalix™ missiles.  Marky Sparky's patented Blast Pad® launch system keeps all the missiles on your side of the fence by only allowing nine degrees of vertical. The Dueling Blast Pad® folds up into itself for convenient storage. It comes with six Foamies and six Metalix missiles, equally split between red and blue colors.
— Lori Lind, owner of Brainwaves Toy Shop in Narragansett, R.I., told TDmonthly that Marky Sparky Blast Pads make for popular gift items for boys with her customers.
— “Both girls and boys love to play with this item, and you can offer it to [children] 5 to 10 years of age,” said Jeanette Lauture of Aunt Jean’s Toys & Treats in Montclair, N.J. The product has “great durability” and made Jeanette’s top-10 list of best sellers in summer 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14503      (added 8/7/2007)
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MSRP: $15.00
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Rockets
Outdoor Fun



As a creative, educational action toy, it’s loads of fun — kids jump on the air bladder to launch a 9" all-foam rocket into the air. The Junior Stomp Rocket is used by science teachers to help children learn about trajectory, force and motion. It is also valued by psychologists, physical therapists, special-ed teachers and parents of children with special needs. “Stomp Rockets are recognized for their positive contribution to the lives of millions of children and adults around the world,” Frank Reed, of D & L Company, told TDmonthly. Awards: Top Toy of the Year 2005, Creative Child Magazine; Excellent Product 2005, iParenting Media.
— “Our top selling flying toy is The Stomp Rocket Jr.,” confirmed Sallie Kashiwa, manager of Timbuk Toys in Denver, in October 2008. “We go through about four cases (40) a month.”
— Six of 68 retailers said in fall 2008 that the Stomp Rocket is their best-selling flying toy. Holly Anvers, manager of Ages & Stages Toy Box in Golden, Colo., cited sales of about 40 units per month in late fall 2009.
— Eighteen percent of 38 specialty retailers named Stomp Rockets an overall best-selling toy in July 2010. Scott Loveless, owner of Toys That Teach in Bothell, Wash., told TDmonthly in summer 2010 that his store sells “somewhere along the lines of 40 to 60” Stomp Rockets each month. “Stomp Rockets … are always a summer favorite.”
— In autumn 2010, Marc Holcomb, owner of Toys & Co. In Greensboro, S.C., said he sold approximately 50 per month per store. “It's our #1 gift item,'' he told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 1089
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MSRP: $9.95
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Interactive



An adorable plush puppy, this Cocker Spaniel – like all of his Webkinz family – comes with a special code that grants access to the online Webkinz world. Kids can adventure with their plush pet, who is about 7” tall. Additionally, they can take their golden-furred buddy online to play games, care for their own virtual puppy, and explore the online world specially designed for children.
— “It's all about the Webkinz and things that can go on the Web,” said Donna Anderson, owner of Murphys Village Toy Store in Murphys, Calif., who told TDmonthly in June 2008 that Webkinz are her main seller in the plush category.
— “Ganz does an excellent job of … keeping interest; a lot of adults buy this product,” commented Pete James, owner of Brain Train in Burlington, NC.
— Thirty-one percent of the 62 retailers surveyed said Webkinz are their top-selling plush, with several stores selling more than 100 per month. Two of 66 retailers told TDmonthly in July 2008 that Webkinz are a top-selling gift for boys in their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19757      (added 7/10/2008)
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MSRP: $25.99
Age Range: 4 and up
SKU or Item #: 4137
Launch Date: January 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Travel
Play Sets
General Toys



The Dream Garden comes with a magic fountain, a prince, a princess, a swan, a peacock, a unicorn, butterflies, a tree, flowers and more. The fountain features a waterspout that works with a hand pump. All pieces come stored inside an easy-to-carry box with a handle. Launch date: January 2008.
— Playmobil is a best-selling line at Aunt Jean’s Toys & Treats in Montclair, N.J., Owner Jeanette Lauture said in summer 2008. “I find this ‘gold standard’ to be awesome for girls and boys for a wide age range (1-1/2 to 12 years old),” she told TDmonthly. “I’ve been selling this item since I opened [in spring 2007].”
— Jamie Burdette, owner of LB Toys in Media, Pa., told TDmonthly in July 2008 that he sells 60 units of Playmobil per month.  “We go through them like there’s no tomorrow,” noted Bill Sartain, co-owner of Tutoring Toy in Salt Lake City, Utah.
— Seven of 66 retailers named Playmobil as their overall best seller in summer 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18800      (added 5/13/2008)
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MSRP: $29.95
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush



Bouncing babes will fall in love with the 24" Tender Beginnings Comfy Cozy Giraffe. Made with GUND's softest, most huggable plush, this furry friend has a blanket body, soft pillow head and tiny giraffe tail. Comfy Cozy Giraffe comes in creamy yellow plush and is available with pink or blue accents and features a full satin bottom. The detail in features makes this Giraffe stand out as part of Gund's classic line of plush toy animals.
— Gund Comfy Cozies are among the most popular baby items for customers of Learning Tree Toys in Oklahoma City, Okla.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15073      (added 9/6/2007)
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The bank is shaped in the bust of the character Hulk. Based on the movie by the same name, Hulk is depicted here in 3-D form, clenching his fists and exposing his teeth.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17386      (added 1/31/2008)
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MSRP: $70.99
Age Range: 3 to 10
SKU or Item #: 02810
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Vehicles - Small Toy



The Bruder classic garbage truck on the 1:16 scale now comes with a licensed MACK truck cab that includes a timely Recycle insignia. Kids can unload the two included bins using the hinged carrier plate, then transport the trash into the storage section of the body by manually spinning the screw extruders. The cab has folding mirrors, opening doors and tilts forward to display the detailed engine, plus the lift gate opens and the body inclines to dump the contents. All of the MACK truck cabs are compatible with the implements designed for the front of the trucks, such as the mower and snow plow. Dimensions: 22.8"L x 7.3"W x 10.2"H. Case Pack Qty: 2 pcs. Award: TDmonthly Top Seller 2008.
— Two of 66 retailers told TDmonthly in July 2008 that Bruder is a best-selling gift for boys.

Where to Buy: Rocking Horse Toy Store; Really Great Toys

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19676      (added 7/1/2008)
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Age Range: 2 and up
SKU or Item #: M2106
Gender: Girls
Category: Dolls



Suitable for ages 18 months and up and designed for use in the bath, this 12” soft doll floats and is filled with polystyrene beads that dry after exposure to water. Tidoo is posable, has sleeping eyes, can suck its thumb, and wears clothing from the Mon Premier collection.
— Of more than half of the 62 retailers that named Corolle dolls as best-selling dolls in their store in summer 2008, seven specifically mentioned Tidoo.
— “The Calin and Tidoo styles are best for us, because an 18-month-old can play with them and be really happy,” Patricia Fiedler, owner of Child’s Play and Green Frog Toys in Portland, Ore., told TDmonthly.
— Four of the storeowners that named Tidoo said their sales of Corolle range from 4 to 15 dolls per month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19750      (added 7/9/2008)
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MSRP: $59.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush



This 75”-long stuffed lion has gold fur and a generous, fluffy mane. The big cat’s stitching and coloration contain a lot of realistic detail, including whiskers, a tufted tail and shaped paws.
— “Melissa & Doug full-size animals are doing well,” Mary Evers, owner of Dancing Bear Toys in Hendersonville, N.C., told TDmonthly when asked about her best-selling plush in June 2008.
— “A lot of my big plush is doing really well,” said Pat Jensen, owner of Northwind Kites in Anchorage, Alaska, who carries the Melissa & Doug line.
— Six percent of 62 retailers named Melissa & Doug's plush as a top-seller.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19764      (added 7/10/2008)
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MSRP: $16.99
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



This set includes four dinosaur designs that children can decorate by sticking colored mosaic squares in the appropriate numbered spot. It includes four plastic hangers and 3,000 sticky foam pieces.
— Sticky Mosaics have been “hot” at Pun’s Toy Store in Bryn Mawr, Pa., since last February, according to owner Joe Berardoni, Sr. “These craft kits are reasonably priced and have a tremendous attraction to kids ages 6 through 12,” he said in October 2008.
— "Combined SKUs surpass at least two dozen per week," Joe Berardoni, owner of Pun's Toy Shop in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly of Sticky Mosaics sales in his store in early 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19629      (added 7/1/2008)
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MSRP: $129.99
Age Range: 14 and up
SKU or Item #: 10178
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction
General Toys
Action Figures



When assembled, the All-Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT) measures over 12” x 14” and is capable of walking forward and backward and moving its head up and down, using the power functions system. The 1,137-piece set includes an opening cockpit, rotating laser cannons, an AT-AT pilot, General Veers, a snow trooper and a rope- and light saber-equipped Luke Skywalker.
— In a late Spring 2011 survey, four out of 12 retailers surveyed said that LEGO Star Wars sets were their best-selling licensed products. six out of 12 mentioned Star Wars in general as being their best-selling licensed property.
— As of 05/12/2011 this product had 3.6 out of 5 stars from 5 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: Fragile once assembled; does not come with numbered bags, unlike most LEGO sets.
—  “Star Wars is big right now. We sell one or two units of … LEGO every day,” Gary Timmerding, manager of Johnny’s Toys in Covington, Ky., told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— In spring 2008, 16 of 50 retailers singled out LEGO as their best-selling construction toy; four specified Star Wars.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18077      (added 3/24/2008)
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This plush planetarium projects a starry night sky onto bedroom walls and the ceiling, illuminating with red, blue and green lights.
— Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Toy & Book Store in Scottsdale, Ariz., was impressed with this product at Toy Fair 2008, noting, “the Twilight Turtle was extremely popular over the holidays.”
— “I love this collection,” Owner Michelle Smith of Piccolo Mondo Toys in Portland, Ore., told TDmonthly of this good seller at the end of 2008.
THIS PRODUCT IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE. SEE THE RE-LAUNCHED TWILIGHT LADYBUG HERE.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16304      (added 11/28/2007)
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MSRP: $34.00
Age Range: 2 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Infant & Toddler
Preschool



Each Twilight Turtle and Friends character from the collection projects constellation nightlights that create a magical sleep-time environment. Each “shell” illuminates the night with three soothing color options to help ease fear of the dark. The Twilight Collection includes Twilight Turtle and Twilight Ladybug, each available in three colors and a Twilight Sea Turtle that also has five illuminated windows projecting images of sea life.
— Retailers surveyed by TDmonthly have been naming the Twilight Turtle as a best-seller since 2006.
— Six of 66 retailers mentioned one of the Twilight Turtles as a top-selling item for baby gifts in July 2008. Four of 47 retailers named Twilight Turtle as a top-selling baby gift in June 2009. Three of 64 retailers cited it as a top-selling infant and toddler toy in March 2009, and eight of 39 said the same in March 2010.
— In a 2012 survey, Erika Evers, owner of Dancing Bear Toys in Hendersonville, N.C., told TDmonthly that their best selling infant & toddler product is the "Twilight Turtle from Cloud B, and it's spin-offs, like the ladybug." They sell about 20 units each month.
— Want this? As of 05/06/2011, this product was available for purchase at Toys & Co.
AWARDS: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller
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MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Educational
Award Winners



The fast-moving word game consists of 144 ivory-like letter tiles in a zippered banana pouch. Players place the tiles face down on the table and randomly select 21 tiles. They turn their letters right-side up simultaneously and proceed to form as many intersecting and interconnecting words as possible, rearranging their own letters as many times as desired throughout the game. Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2007; 2009 TOTY Game of the YEAR, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal; 2007 iParenting; 2007 Parents' Choice Recommended; 2007 Dr. Toy Best Products. (Read Review)
— This product has been making the TDmonthly Best-sellers lists since 2007.
— As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.8 out of 5 stars from 456 reviews on Amazon.com.
— Eight of 66 retailers vouched for its best-selling status in May 2008; seven of 63 did in Sept. 2008. Shani Watmough of Planet Toys in Rockland, Maine, said her store sells 60 per month.  Fifteen of 38 named it a top-selling game in Feb. 2010.
— As of April 5, 2010, Bananagrams had spent 570 days in the top-100 best-selling toys and games on Amazon.com.
— According to owner Brett Sommer of Figpickels Toy Emporium in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,  “It was the 2009 game of the year. The brilliant packaging definitely helps this product."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8301      (added 6/19/2006)
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This hand-painted and historically accurate figure stands approximately 3-1/2” tall. He comes equipped with knives, swords, a rope and an anchor.
— “I probably sell 30 a month…a lot of knights and pirates,” Alicia Smith, owner of Juneau's Imagination Station in Juneau, Alaska, said of her store's Papo line.
— Three specialty retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in May 2008 shared that their stores sell “hundreds” of Papo figures every month.
— In May 2008, 40 percent of 55 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly named Papo as one of their best-selling lines of action figures.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19286      (added 6/9/2008)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $19.95
Age Range: 3 to 8
Launch Date: September 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Educational
Puzzles & Skill



Magnetic MightyMind is ideal for travel and can keep kids busy for hours. The game includes a series of 30 puzzles that increase in difficulty. Some include color cues. Children learn as they place magnetic pieces onto each card, developing independence, self-expression and accomplishment. Launch date: Fall 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12136      (added 3/29/2007)
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Alison MarekWriter's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ...  Read more articles by this author

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