the Bloom Report: June 6 - 12, 2020
the Bloom Report Toy Industry's #1 News Summary Below is June 6 - 12, 2020
Greetings to all our readers around the world . . . Welcome to your Friday briefing of the week's news. After 22 years, the Bloom Report has a new look and steward. It is our honor to carry on Philip Bloom’s legacy. If you would like to reach Phil, his new email is: email@example.com We will continue the Bloom Report as an essential news source for you. We'd appreciate your feedback and welcome advertisements so we can continue this service for free. Mary Couzin
Company of the Week . . . This is Wow! Stuff
Our tagline is Great Brands Brought to Life! We partner with licensed brands and we work until our brains hurt to create toys that are really, really, really innovative, on brand and in universe - always! With 2 TOTY award nominations and a TOTY award win in 2020 and a TAGIE nomination in 2015, we are headquartered in the UK. We have excellent reach throughout Europe and while we have direct to retail sales in the USA we are always looking for North American partners to broaden our business. See more here; www.wowstuff.com From Telescopes to Toys, from the UK to the USA. My time during this pandemic has largely been spent on setting up ToyAid.org in the UK with my co-founder Joel Silverman of digital marketing agency kidsknowbest. ToyAid was set up to help the poorer, disadvantaged children and their families during the economic slowdown resulting from COVID-19. This is my career . . . (Read more)
Op-ed from Dee Farrell, our Person of the Week...
Hello Toy Friends! I hope you’re all staying well and strong. Everyone I connect with lately is talking about the huge effect COVID is having on our industry. In the middle of this pandemic almost nothing is as it used to be. The “usual” times and places we all use to get together have been canceled or put online. Virtual is our new normal. We’re shipping samples to buyer’s homes, spending hours in Zoom meetings, and rushing to get new web sites up. And all the while, trying to keep our businesses open to tend to customers. In addition to all of that, many of us are also helping our teams and employees make all these changes right along with us. While most of us in the toy industry pride ourselves on our ability to change and adapt really fast – this amount of change all at once is proving to be a real challenge. But in that challenge, there is also opportunity. Many of the changes we’re making today are not just temporary. They will carry us well past the outbreak of this virus. (Read on)
Trends, Market Research Reports . . . Spielwarenmesse eG surveyed trade professionals and visitors of the Spielwarenmesse®. 1024 answers received and . . . Spielwarenmesse eG surveyed Spielwarenmesse® exhibitors on the current situation. 548 responses received and . . . 24% of consumers said their shopping habits will have changed permanently in some way due to COVID-19 . . . Park and ride – a look at wheeled and outdoor toys (UK) Company Financial & Brokerage News . . . Millennials: Spin Master A High-Upside Stock That Could Double . . . What’s Next For Hasbro? . . . What Is Going On With Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT)? . . . Hasbro (HAS) Management Displays Confidence in a 2H Recovery - Jefferies ...Hasbro – Consensus Indicates Potential 28.8% Upside . . . Mattel – Consensus Indicates Potential 6.8% Upside Financial Reporting . . . IDW Publishing grew sales by $1 million in its fiscal Q2 ended April 30, but still generated a $600,000 operating loss in the period, the company announced in its Q2 earnings release Monday. The sales increase came despite the Diamond Comic Distributors shutdown in April; IDW said it pivoted to focus on backlist, digital sales, direct-to-consumer sales, foreign sales, and book channel. Spin Master (TOY.TO)- Toronto Jun 8, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of TOY.TO earnings conference call or presentation 7-May-20 1:30pm GMT Target Bumps Up Dividend, Extending Its Run of Raising Payouts to 49 Years. The discount retailer, a member of the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats that have paid out higher dividends annually for at least 25 years, on Thursday declared a 3% quarterly dividend increase to 68 cents a share from 66 cents. That would make 2020 the 49th consecutive year in which the company has increased its annual dividend. Shares of Crown Crafts (NASDAQ:CRWS) decreased 5% after the company reported Q4 results. Earnings per share rose 14.29% year over year to $0.16, which beat the estimate of $0.13. Revenue of $20,307,000 decreased by 6.49% from the same period last year, which missed the estimate of $20,400,000. Future Financial Reporting . . . Hasbro to Present at Upcoming Investor Conferences. Brian Goldner, chairman and chief executive officer, and Deborah Thomas, chief financial officer, will participate in the 42nd Nasdaq Investor Conference at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time on June 15, 2020 and at the Jefferies Virtual Consumer Conference at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time on June 23, 2020. Party City Holdco Inc. (PRTY) - June 12~Announced that its first quarter 2020 financial results will be released prior to market open. The Company will host a conference call on that day to discuss the detailed financial results. Investors and analysts interested in participating in the call are invited to dial 866-270-1533 (international callers please dial 412-317-0797)... Five Below, Inc. (FIVE) - June 16~Trend-right, high-quality extreme-value retailer for tweens, teens and beyond, announced that it will hold its Annual Shareholder Meeting as a virtual meeting as a result of continuing concerns surrounding COVID-19. The meeting will still be held on June 16 as previously announced.
Stories & Comments . . . Toy Stories: Portraits of Children and their Toys Around the World. Gabriele Galimberti spent more than two years traveling the world, visiting over fifty countries to photograph young children with their toys. The Italian photographer shares in a statement on Toy Stories, “I recorded the spontaneous and natural joy that unites kids despite their diverse backgrounds. Whether the child owns... What We Learned from ViacomCBS’ Keynote Panel at Licensing Week Virtual. Tuesday’s Licensing Week Virtual keynote – hosted by Pam Kaufman, president, ViacomCBS Consumer Products – brought together a panel of experts from Penguin Random House, Just Play, Family Dollar and Kellogg’s to discuss innovation and leadership in today’s consumer products space. Seattle ranks as the best city for gamers. Here's why. Despite major events like Emerald City Comic Con and PAX West being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Seattle's geek culture still has something to cheer about: a new study by Wallethub ranked Seattle as the most gamer friendly city in the U.S. Seattle has become a thriving tech hub, and companies like Big Fish Games, Nintendo, Amazon Studios, Pokemon... Mattel’s Statement on Commitment to the Black Community. As a company, we are deeply committed to addressing the racism, injustice and violence against Black Americans. Today, we are introducing a corporate program called Play Fair, which articulates the actions we will take both at the corporate-level and through our brands, including: Durham board game developer helps raise more than $80,000 for Black Lives Matter, NAACP with sales from 'Rap Godz' game. "So this past week was crazy," said Omari Akil, who created Rap Godz with his brother. The purpose of the game is to live the life and career of a hip-hop artist, ultimately trying to get the most record sales. It's a premise that's attracted non-traditional board-game players. Hasbro and GameStop have been bringing collectors some fantastic Star Wars The Black Series exclusive figures. This series is called the Gaming Greats, and we have already seen Jedi Knight Revan from Knights of the Old Republic and the Heavy Battle Droid from Battlefront II. The newest releases, however, have been quite the rage with Star Wars fans as the Stormtrooper Commander and the Shadow Trooper from ... Hello Kitty Founder Shintaro Tsuji, 92, Hands Over Reins Of Sanrio To Grandson. Tomokuni Tsuji, 31, who is currently a senior managing director at Sanrio, will become the new CEO of the company taking over from his Grandfather Shintaro Tsuji aged 92. He coincidentally shares a birthday with Hello Kitty on 1 November, and he is 14 years younger than the character itself. The Revival of Board Games in Lockdown (India) “Whichever team wins gets to do no housework all day.” NEW DELHI: Govind, a 70 year old businessman in New Delhi, has had his life changed by the lockdown in more ways than one. “I have never spent this much time with my family. Every day I play cards and Ludo with my grandchildren,” he said. Remembering the toy industry's past . . . The Tamagotchi is back and millennials can feel the '90s nostalgia. An electronic pet that was part of countless millennial childhoods is returning to North America this summer repackaged as a new product -- Tamagotchi On Wonder Garden. Unlike the original virtual pet... Sneak-peek at Tutankhamun’s childhood toys. This collection of toys will be highlighted in the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum at the end of 2020. CAIRO
Worldwide Licensing News . . . Think outside the cube with new Rubik’s collectibles. Bandai America launched Charaction Cubes, a line of collectible figures that combine fandom with puzzling. While these toys have been available in Japan for a while, it is the first time they are being sold in the U.S. — part of the Rubik’s 40th anniversary celebration. Morning Star Games is releasing a new adaptation of award-winning You’re Pulling My Leg! game from creator Allen Wolf on June 30. “I created a new version of this game because our world has changed dramatically, and people need a way to connect and build relationships whether they’re able to get together in person or online,” Wolf said. The Op has signed a licensing agreement with Asmodee to launch a new version of Spot It! with a pop culture twist. The game, which was also known as Dobble, first debuted in 2010 with an illustrated deck of 55 circular cards, each featuring eight different symbols (hmmm … will some of our favorite characters be making an appearance in those symbols?). Any two cards in the deck always have one symbol in common. The goal is to be . . . Australian Phenomenon Hit "Bluey" Launches Toys in the U.S. BBC Studios and Moose Toys announce today the eagerly-awaited range of toys inspired by Australia's Emmy® Award-winning Bluey, a popular series on Disney Junior and Disney+, are set to launch in the U.S. this month. The new collection from Australian-based toy company Moose Toys, a leader in innovation, includes a range of plush, figures, playsets, and games designed to spark imagination-fueled fun and invite preschoolers to create their own Bluey-themed adventures at home. Fred Rogers Productions and 9 Story Brands Add Partners to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Licensing Program. Best Ride-On Cars, Children’s Apparel Network, Cottage Door Press, Fisher-Price, Hybrid, M&M Sales, Peejamas, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, and Steel City Apparel will all help expand the “neighborhood” for the popular property with a broad range of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood apparel, publishing, and toys, set to arrive at retail this year. TeamTo and Edizioni Play Press Enter Activity Book Publishing Deal for Mighty Mike in Italy. Leading Kids entertainment company TeamTO has signed a first licensing deal in Italy with publishing company EDIZIONI PLAY PRESS s.r.l. for its animated slapstick hit series, MIGHTY MIKE (78 x 7). The agreement will see a series of sticker, coloring, magic coloring and activity books distributed in kiosks nationwide starting in June 2020. YouTube Stars Trinity and Beyond Secure Licensing Opportunity with Fashion Angels Enterprises. With over 2.4 billion lifetime views and 5 million subscribers, Trinity and Beyond’s channel showcases relatable activities and entertainment which will soon include on-trend products from their collaboration with Fashion Angels Enterprises. Anticipated products will include arts and crafts kits such as bracelet making sets, backpacks, stickers and stationary. MGM and Pantone Color Institute Unveil Brand New Shade of Pink Inspired by Pink Panther Character. Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), a leading entertainment company focused on the production of premium film and television content across platforms, and Pantone, the global authority on color, today unveiled the first ever Pink Panther Pink color, a vibrant and playful unique pink shade inspired by MGM’s iconic character. Licensing-related revenue grew 4.5% in 2019. New data from Licensing International puts global revenue for licensed merchandise at US$292.8 billion last year. The entertainment/character segment led the increase, accounting for 43.8% of 2019′s revenue. Corporate brands (20.5%), fashion (11.5%) and sports (10%) rounded out the top-four sectors in terms of revenue. For product categories, apparel (15.1%) and toys (12.2%) led revenue in 2019. People, Companies, Organizations . . . MIKE BOWLING TALKS POUND PUPPIES ON THE ‘POWER KID PODCAST’. In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Mike Bowling, creator of the Pound Puppies and Splashlings. On the show, Bowling shares the incredible origin story of Pound Puppies and what he learned along the way. He tells the stories of his serendipitous meetings and rejections... Baby and infant pre-school brand, Fisher Price, is celebrating its 90 year anniversary. Fisher-Price has been a staple in millions of childhoods and has a rich history of innovation, being the first brand to use and term the phrase ‘pre-school toys’ in 1934 and one of the first companies to make coding available to pre-school kids with the introduction of Code-A-Pillar in 2016. Hasbro reveals animatronic Deadpool’s head. Deadpool’s Head is described as a “premium interactive head” that includes more than 600 lines of dialogue and expressive movement. It is enhanced with an app for iOS and Android, and reacts to light, sound, and motion. It can even sense certain “scenarios,” such as being placed in a cold refrigerator. The Pokémon Co. Reveals New Games, In-Game Events. President and CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara provided updates and news for a variety of Pokémon titles including a free new app designed to help kids with brushing their teeth. The mobile app uses augmented reality and the front-facing camera to incorporate Pokémon into the teeth-brushing experience. Sesame Workshop has promoted SVP of creative development Kay Wilson Stallings to EVP of creative and production, with the task of overseeing the company’s slate and growing the company’s global presence. Officially starting in the new position June 16, Wilson Stallings replaces Brown Johnson, who retired from the company last month. Toysmith inks distribution deal with Anne McGilvray & Co. Following the news that Toysmith parted ways with some of its long-time sales reps early this spring, the company inked a deal with Anne McGilvray & Co. (AMCI) to sell its entire portfolio of products in the U.S. Under the new pact, AMCI will begin selling the Toysmith line July 1. Mattel gets greener with new hire. Pamela Gill-Alabaster will lead the toymaker's eco-focused efforts as its head of sustainability. Gill-Alabaster specializes in minimizing corporate environmental impact, developing sustainability metrics and creating long-term brand purpose strategies. She started in the role this week and reports to Mattel president and COO Richard Dickson. LONNIE JOHNSON, PROLIFIC ENGINEER AND HERO TO MILLIONS OF KIDS (EVEN IF THEY DON’T KNOW IT). THE INVENTOR OF THE COOLEST TOY ON EARTH ALSO WORKED ON SOME OF THE COOLEST “TOYS” IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM. In the case of the Super Soaker, that somebody was not an anonymous team at a toy company but one man, a former US Air Force and NASA engineer named Dr. Lonnie Johnson. LEGO and Nintendo reveal full product range for new LEGO SuperMario play experience. The LEGO Group today revealed the full product portfolio for its LEGO® Super Mario™ experience. Fans can expand on the LEGO Super Mario range announced in April with a whole new range of Expansion Sets, collectible Character Packs and Power-Up Packs. MEGALOPOLIS TOYS GOES RETRO WITH MADBALLS AND BARNYARD COMMANDOS ACTION FIGURES. Megalopolis Toys is diving into the ’80s and ’90s for a new line of 6-inch action figures inspired by retro toy properties. First up? Madballs and Barnyard Commandos. Launched in 1985, Madballs was one of the popular gross-out toys of the decade. It sold millions of toys and inspired animated specials, comic books, video... When it comes to diversity, it’s ‘time for some bravery’. While representation in the kids industry has grown, "with a starting position of nil, we've hardly made progress at all," writes Safi Idea's Wa'qaar Mirza. While many would argue that there is now more diversity in the industry than ever before—whether that is through the representation of women, people of color, other gender or sexual identities, or religious beliefs... The Lego Group unveils new build-able Disney characters. The new Disney Mickey and Minnie Mouse Lego characters will be available from 1st July. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse have been brought to life in build-able Lego brick form. With this new construction set, fans can immerse themselves in the magical world of Lego Disney. Ninety and still into toys: how Fisher-Price pulled a town out of depression. Legendary US brand behind childhood classics weathers controversy and Covid-19 to celebrate milestone 90th anniversary. In the coming days. With it comes a rare opportunity for uncomplicated nostalgia for a company that over the decades has produced around 5,000 types of toys under the logo: “Our Work is Child’s Play”. Mattel’s Barbie To ‘Increase Black Representation’ And ‘Spotlight More Black Role Models. In a statement the company writes, “Research shows, starting at the age of five, girls stop believing that their gender can be anything. This issue is called the ‘Dream Gap.’ Early indicators suggest that for Black girls, the impact is even larger and this self-perception at a young age can be detrimental. We are committed . . . Mike Selinker - Coming clean in my complicity. In the 24 hours before I did the most idiotic and hurtful thing I’ve ever done on the internet, three public entities I’m associated with all got called out for highly problematic actions. I need to talk about them, and me. There is a statement from my company over here, but this is just me. It isn’t a “statement,” just my thoughts . . . Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Relative To Our Industry . . . American Girl is thanking front-line heroes with a new initiative, and the dolls have received some new outfits in the process. The new look is part of the Mattel brand’s #ThankYouHeroes initiative, which other products including Barbie and Fisher-Price have also been involved in. Every outfit sold will lead American Girl to donate a doll craft activity book to First Responders Children’s Foundation. Mothercare liquidates Irish operation. First major retail chain in Ireland to point the finger of blame squarely at Covid-19. Mothercare is to liquidate its 14-store Irish portfolio, after weeks of disruption caused by the coronavirus lockdowns ultimately proved too much for it to cope with. The specialist baby and kids retailer wound up the last of its UK stores in January, Toys'R'Us Singapore reopening in Phase 2, promises regular cleaning & sanitizing. Good news for kids—and perhaps parents—Toys"R"Us Singapore will be among the numerous retail stores reopening in Phase 2, which will start on June 19. Everyone should wear masks and maintain safe distancing while in the store. Those entering Toys"R"Us will also be required to check in and check out using SafeEntry. U.K. stores hope to lure back COVID-weary shoppers. Non-essential" retailers — those selling fashion, toys and books, among other items — are reopening Monday across England for the first time since the country went into lockdown in late March to try to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) updates safety standards of projectile and aquatic toys. The ACCC has issued updates to the safety standards of projectile toys and aquatic toys. The standards are in place to continue protect children from serious injury, hazards, and in some extreme cases, death. U.S. Customs and Border Protection seizes more counterfeit Pokemon figures, 2nd time in month. Just one month after seizing more than 86,000 counterfeit Pokemon action figures, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Harrisburg seized more than 120,000 more counterfeit Pokemon action figures. If authentic, this latest seizure would have had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of more than $840,000. More than 70 per cent of children’s swimming supplies in Hong Kong fail to meet European safety standards: consumer watchdog. The Consumer Council found that all 22 products tested contained naphthalene – classified as a possible carcinogenic substance – with concentrations ranging between 0.2 and 4.3mg/kg. 6 products in the study were in excess of the 2mg/kg limits of naphthalene recommended...
Press Releases . . . MoFU Launches an Exciting Kickstarter Campaign to Bring Award-winning Toys to the USA. Yoshiaki Ito, creator of MōFU, or Mighty Omega Folding Universe, a geometric puzzle toy, is preparing to bring his toys to the States after a successful Kickstarter campaign. MōFU are toys inspired by both small Brooklyn apartments, traditional Japanese toys, and origami. The toys can be unfolded, positioned, and played with, before being returned back into their cube shape and nestled into their resting boxes. Roylco in Anderson is the latest Upstate company to keep employees working by making personal protective equipment for the health care industry. The company is making face shields and foam pieces that add a measure of comfort to the health care workers who wear them for long shifts, according to a news release. Roylco made the pivot when both of its enterprises faced a downturn because of closed schools and factories. Roylco’s education division develops and manufactures early learning products for the classroom and home. Licensing Works! ® has been appointed the U.S. licensing agent for PIRATA & CAPITANO ™ , the new animated adventure series from Paris-based animation production and distribution studio Millimages. Licensing Works! will debut PIRATA & CAPITANO this week during Licensing Week Virtual. Licensing and promotional partners are sought in all key categories including toys, collectibles, plush, costumes, games, puzzles, publishing, apparel and accessories, party goods, consumables, home and room décor, as well as QSR promotions and . . . Aurora World Inc. Tapped as Master Plush Licensee for Millimages’ Popular Molang ™ Character in North America. Aurora World Inc. has been appointed the master plush licensee for North America by Paris-based animation production and distribution studio Millimages, brokered through Licensing Works! ® , for the popular Molang character. Aurora is set to introduce the new line in early 2021. The product launch will include plush in a wide range of product translations in varying price points and sizes from $10 retail and . . . News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals . . . (ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and more) Warner Bros and DC partner on DC Fandome event. Fans can virtually attend the largest gathering of talent, announcements and content reveals in the history of DC. On Saturday 22nd August, starting at 10am PDT, Warner Bros. will welcome fans into the DC FanDome – a free virtual fan experience where no badge is required. Accessible for 24 hours at DCFanDome.com... Cartoon Forum goes forward with live event. The annual European animation pitch fest will move forward with safety measures in place, but Ottawa International Animation Festival has opted to go virtual. Running from September 14 to 17, online registrations are open today for Cartoon Forum “in real life.” Currently, the French government is allowing events with less than 5,000 participants to... GAMA BOARD, OFFICER ELECTION RESULTS Organization Reported a Loss in 2019. The Game Manufacturers Association held its annual membership meeting on Tuesday, which included elections for two officer posts and two at-large directors. We reported the initial roster of candidates earlier today (see "List of Candidates for GAMA Board, Officers"); two additional candidates for Director-at-Large... ASTRA CAMP - S-MORE THAN A TRADE SHOW. Save the dates - August 4, 5, 6 and August 11, 12, 13 for a two-week summer event. Get ready for product discovery, camper social events (including the can't-miss Lip Sync Battle) and education sessions. All events will be hosted virtually and you'll come away with the tools and support you need to navigate the wilderness of Q4 ahead! The Game Manufacturers Association has released a new list of candidates for the board of directors election to be held at the annual membership meeting Tuesday, June 16, at 3 p.m. ET. The list drops three candidates that appeared on the list when it was originally released on June 9, and adds one.
aNb Media's (US) Top Ten Stories of the Week . . .
Toyworld (UK) Most Read Stories of the Week
ICv2: THE BUSINESS OF GEEK CULTURE's (US) Top Ten Stories of the Week 1. WizKids Introduces New 2D Line of 'Dungeons & Dragons' Miniatures 2. GAMA Cancels Origins Online 3. Begin the Siege With 'WizKids 4D Settings: War Machines' 4. Funko Plans to Cut 25% of Its Employees 5. Wizards of the Coast Reveals Product Info For 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Double Masters VIP Edition' 6. Wizards of the Coast Introduces New 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Welcome Booster' 7. Wizards of the Coast Reveals More Deets on 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Core Set 2021' 8. Games Workshop Announces New Starter Set for 'Aeronautica Imperialis' 9. Z-Man Games Announces 'Pandemic: Hot Zone - North America' 10. Catalyst Updates 'BattleTech' Release Schedule Spielwarenmesse Magazine's (Germany) Top Five Articles 5 Key steps for starting a toy business The impact of Coronavirus on children’s behaviour and five trend predictions to watch out for Plastic Versus The Environment: A Threat To The Global Toy Industry? Corona Statements – Worldwide Where do memes come from? Toy & Hobby (Australia) Top Articles for the Past Two Weeks (catching up) See the top stories for this week ending 19 June: Mixed reviews for Big W's Toy Mania queuing system The secret behind Artiwood's, the 2020 Specialty Toy product of the year Aussie toy suppliers in focus ACCC updates safety standards of projectile and aquatic toys The top stories for week ending 12 June: Wesfarmers reveals how Kmart, Target and Catch are performing during the pandemic University Games closes on 14th acquisition Australian Geographic taps Toy Networx for master toy licence QBD to host iconic Australian brand with new store-in-store concept Big Wheel Toys secures distribution for Eolo toys
Video of the Week . . .
Nick Metzler (Spin Master): "Kids, You are a Professional Inventor and You have the Cute Factor!" Know Creative Kids? Young Inventor Spring Challenge Closes June 30th!
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Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom
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Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.
Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson
Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher