TDmonthly Magazine!
September 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 9


Big Sellers Turn into Big Disappointments

HaPe and Others Let Retailers Down in ‘08

What’s hot one year may not be the next, and even some of the market’s most popular items — Learning Curve’s Thomas & Friends and HaPe’s Quadrilla — can end up destined for a last-chance markdown in some stores, TDmonthly Magazine learned. Although GanzWebkinz are still a top seller in many stores, they and others in the online-plush category are seeing hard times elsewhere.

When 66 retailers were asked in July about products that have been most disappointing in 2008, here’s what they said:

Kookeys by 10VOX Entertainment
“I got stuck with those Kookeys, which were the alternative to Webkinz, and they just tanked.” — Meredith Zellweger, Toy Jungle, Manhattan Beach, CA

“We're selling some, but they're not flying off the shelf.” — Fred Meyer, Meyer’s Toy World, Battle Creek, Mich. (also referencing Webkinz)
Dolls by ALEXANDER DOLL CO. “Each year, they keep decreasing. They're still selling, but not like they used to. … There's not that generation of collectors anymore.” — Mike DiAndrea, Hardware Center Inc., Paoli, Pa.
Swan and Dino Ride-ons by APPLEPIE TOY DISTRIBUTION “[We] had them on display, [but there was a] lack of interest from customers because of the price point being too high.” — Jeanette Lauture, Aunt Jean's Toys & Treats, Montclair, N.J.
Boomwhackers by BOOMWHACKERS “I way overestimated.” — Janet Codispoti Village Toy Shop, Hilo, Hawaii
Horses by BREYER “The Breyer Horses sales keep going down.” — Dalene Lockhart, Toy Town, Casper, Wyo.
Plush by GANZ “When you order Webkinz, they want you to order other things, too, so I ordered some plush, and I've been disappointed. … Some are not up to snuff as far as how cute they are. I won't order them again.” — Gwen Bowden, Doodlehopper for Kids, Springfield, Va.
Bamboo Games by HAPE INTERNATIONAL “[The company] has a whole line that is eco-friendly toys, and they haven't done quite as well as I thought they would.” — Kara Fichtner, Out of the Blue, Albuquerque, N.M.
Quadrilla by HAPE INTERNATIONAL "It might have been the price point. It's fairly expensive. … People like it, but they don't like the idea of all the pieces.” — Candace Gooch, At Once All Agog, Limerick, Maine

“They're in our sidewalk sale.” — Cathy Albrow, Creative Learning Toys, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Papo by HOTALING IMPORTS “Papo is dying. It's been great, but I think it's everywhere now.” — Terri Bracken, Earth Explorers Toys, Zionsville, Ind.
Thomas the Train by LEARNING CURVE “Thomas the Train has been a really big disappointment this year, and last year, and the year before. Little bit of price [and] the market is saturated with generic stuff.” — Ron & Sue Banducci, Games Unlimited, Danville, Calif.

“They've really died. It may be because of the Fisher-Price Geo Tracks. They don't like to sell to us little guys. But it's a good product and has been advertised the living heck out of, and parents may be buying those instead.” — David Campbell, Amazing Toys, Great Falls, Mont.
High School Musical by MATTEL “They're just not going as fast as we thought they would.” — Kathy Yuri, Hammond Toys, Orem, Utah

“The craze is kind of over, at least until a new movie comes out.” — Billy Finley, Toy Castle, LLC, Jonesboro, Ark. (also referencing Hannah Montana)
Costume Club Kids by PADDYWHACK LANE "They had a ton of press. We had them in two different locations in the store and it's just not happening." — Tina Benoit, Kidstown, South Burlington, Vt.
Lemon Meringue Push/Pull Toys by PAMELA DRAKE “The wheels consistently have problems. [We] have a lot of returns on that item; we will not order again.” — Julie Frost, Giggles for Kids, Suwanee, Ga.
Wheely Bug by PRINCE LIONHEART “They're in Target now.” — Shirley Reilly, Let’s Play, Hillsboro, Ore.
Shining Stars by RUSS BERRIE "The prediction was that these would be as popular as Webkinz (by Ganz), but it didn't even come close." — Diana Gisolfi, Sisters Kids, Springfield, Mass.
Tolo Plush by TOLO TOYS “[It] has not moved well for me. Don't know why.” — Amy Barrett, Lasso the Moon Wonderful Toys, Helena, Mont.
WonderGames by WONDERCHESS LLC “We invested in … WonderCheckers and WonderChess, by WonderChess, LLC. I don’t know if parents just don't get it or my employees don't get it, but they've been going nowhere.” — Linda Angel, Kidoodles Toys, Norman, Okla.
Foam Craft Workshop with hot wire by FABER-CASTELL "The staff, everybody, thought that it was a great item. But boy, it did not sell. … I don't think any kid would get hurt with this, but it's all perception." — Anonymous

Julie L. JonesWriter's Bio: Julie L. Jones has written articles for both newspapers and magazines. Before joining the staff of TDmonthly Magazine, she worked as a communications writer and provided editorial support for a market research company. Read more articles by this author


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