11/24/2053 - Both Hasbro and Mattel have now confirmed what I told my clients 3 months ago- namely, that the 4th Q will see Dollar sales at a minus of 2% and higher [+3%] unit sales. The discroancy between the two is due to the fact that promotional discounts are at a historical high and about 20% above those recorded for 2022.
10/22/2023 - One company to watch is Zuru. They combine agressive promotional policies with an equally agressive sales effort in a push for market share. At this point, they have become a factor in Dolls, Action Figures, and Blasters. I predict that they will also sooner or later enter the other two major toy categories - Preschool and Construction Toys.
9/9/2023 - Whilst there was an uptick in Toy POS at the major retailers in July and early August, all indications are that the category is again flat to slightly negative. 
8/10/2023 - Having been under water for most of the second quarter, the U.S. toy market started to turn around in June and this trend gained momentum in July. Now, in the first week of August, it appears that the upswing continues and is hitting a +7% rate. 
7/7/2023 - U.S. toy buers tell me that they have placed most of their 4th Q Purchase Orders. However, they also tell me that they are being inordinately cautious given the checkered history so far this year and they are keeping their Purchase Orders to an absolute minimum - with the expectation that the leading manufacturers will carry enough inventory to cover them in case POS is clearly better than anticipated. 
6/3/2023 - the shelf space devoted to toys at WMT and TGT was at the end of June the lowest in five years. When I talked to friends there they told me that two things were happening. One is that destocking has pretty mch run its course. The other is that movement was still very slow and under water compared to last year. As a result, aisle caps that would normally go to toys were assigned to other product categories. 
5/5/2023 - The U.S. toy market is still under water with units down 6% and Dollars down 5%. 
4/9/2023 - Toy shelf space at WMT and TGT has again dropped - this bime by 18% amd is the lowest om 5 years. This tells you two things. One is that retailer inventory excesses have pretty much come to an end and that the retailers have decided to allocate space to other and faster goowing caegories. 
3/7/2023 - Shelf space of the toy category at WMT and TGT dropped sharply in February compared to January and was in fact at its lowest since 2019.
2/3/2023 - Shelf space allocated to toys by both Target and Wal-Mart are at their highest in six years which reflects the fact that inventories on the retail level are wya too high for this time of the year. The buyers obviously hope that increased exposure to consumers will lead to greater sell-through - an assumption which is unlikely to materialize. 
12/14/2022 - At the end of November, both WMT and TGT have sharply increased the space allotted to toys compared to October - TGT by 20% and WMT by 75%. Shelf space also incresed compared to November 2021 - TGT by 3% and WMT by 25%
11/13/2022 - The shelf space [including end caps and aisle caps] devoted to the toy category on October 26, 2022, by Wal-Mart and Target is the lowest since 2018.
10/7/2022 - The space devoted to the toy category at Wal-Mart and Target remained pretty much unchanged compared to end of August. However, we believe that October will see an expansion to accomodate the higher retail inventories required to meed 4th Q demand. 
9/8/2022 - The two major U.S. toy retailers - Wal-Mart and Target - have further reduced their shelf space. In the case of Wal-Mart, it is down 4% versu August and now at its lowest level since 2018. As for Target, it is down 18% and at its lowest since 2016.
8/3/2022 - Toy sales at the major U.S. retailers are slowing down further. In terms of units, these were in July down 6% and in terms of Dollars they were flat. The retailers anticipate, however, that this is a passing phenomenon and that 4th Q will be very strong. 
7/10/2022 - The supply chain crisis is easing at least as far as toys are concerned. Toy retailers report that freight costs for their private label imports and FOB shipments are down in double digit percentage terms. Also, the container shortage is pretty much over. 


6/2/2022 - The toy buyers at major retailers in the U.S. report increasing dollar sales and declining unit sales for a number of categories. This is a function of price increases enacted during the second half of last year. Average estimates are units down 5% and dollar sales up about the same percentage. The same buyers also predict further increases in the 10% range in the next few months to com



04/14/2022 - Prices increases for toys during the second half of last year averaged 13%. It now appears that another round of increases is in the offing and retailers speak in terms of another 15% between now and middle of the year.


03/13/2022 - the impending loss of the Sesame license weakens another of Hasbro's main toy categories - Preschool - after the parting of Disney Princess eviscerates their Doll category. Hasbro's Preschool business stood at an estimated $640 million at wholesale in 2021 of which Sesame contributed just shy of 10%. In comparison, Mattel's Preschool biz amounted to $1,220 million in 2021. One major asset Mattel has and Hasbro has not is their participation in the rapidly growing Educational Toy segment where Mattel is now #2 after VTech/LF and Hasbro is nowhere.


02/05/2022 - the move of the Disney Fashion Doll licenses away from Hasbro and back to Mattel, scheduled for next year, will have two consequences - all other things being equal: one is that Mattel returns to be the #1 toy company and Hasbro is relegated back to #2. The other is that the Fashion Doll category will be dominated by two companies - Mattel and MGAE - as opposed to three today.


01/04/2022 - Both Wal-Mart and Target have again sharply cut back on shelf space for the toy category as of December 22. In addition, there were a number of empty spaces on the shelves and this in the morning when shelf management had been completed and  consumer traffic was marginal.

12/11/2021 - Both Wal-Mart and Target have sharply cut back on their end November shelf space - compared to November 2019, they between them are one-third down. This does not include shortages on the shelves themselves which would add to the curtailment. 
11/12/2021 - the managers of my 10-store retailer panel report a significant decline in toy aisle traffic compared to October this year or  November last year. They also report a distinct lack of children in the store. Both are thought to be a result of the worsening Covid cases particularly in the Southern States. 
10/6/2021 - The stores in my retailers panel - which includes all the majors - report that on average prices for toys have risen by 12% in the 3rd Q and they expect another 8% to 10% surge in October and November. 
9/11/2021 - Feedback from the ten retail stores in the Klosters Retailer Panel tells us that foot traffic in August in the stores and in particular in the toy area was sharply down compared to July. The store managers uniformly attritbute this to the resurgence of the pandemic. Also, from personal observation, the wearing of masks has risen sharply compared to July.
8/05/2021 -  Toy sales in the United States had begun to soften already in June and this is now in July even more pronouced. Assuming that children will return to schools as normal a further weakiening of demand is expected. 
7/14/2021  - The fact that the Mandalorian Disney+ movie was one of the top two Emmy nominations has had an immediate impact on toy sales of Baby Yoda. The critter saw an immediate uptick in the Mattel, the Hasbro and the Funko version - the buyers believe that the collectors have decided that Baby Yoda is the thing to have. 
6/0/2021 - Amazon Prime Day this month promises to be a blockbuster and is expected to deliver 40% more sales than last year. However, Prime Day sales are also subject to very considerable returns - in the order of 30% - and this will impact negatively what is already now seen as a very weak third quarter for toys. 
5/4/2021 - With the general easing of pandemic restrictions in the United States, the toy categories that most benefited from the lockdown are facing a more difficult future. Very recent reports from the major retailers suggest that demand for Games and Puzzles and Educational Toys has beguun to erode and the buyers believe that this trend will only accelerate in the weeks ahead and to reach a nadir by end of June. 
4/4/2021 - Brick and Mortar sales in the toy space are giving more ground to online. Brick and Mortar accounted for 69% of all U.S. toy sales in September 2017, the last day of ToysRUs' regular operations. This tumbled to 45.5% by end of last year and has decreased further to 45% by end of March this year. 
3/16/20921 - Having completed the 16th toy industry assessment since the Pandemic struck - covering Learning Toys, Dolls, Games and PUzzles, and Action Figures - there are now very clear patterns discernible. One is that the pivot from brick-and-mortar to online is expected to stay and in fact accelerate. The second is that the traditional market leaders in these four toy categories are increasingly challenged by previously insignifant players who have exploited the change to online and hence to direct consumer sales to increase their market shares. 
2/3/2021 - Feedback from U.S. toy buyers suggests that retail inventories were too high at the end of the year and that this will affect shipments for the first quarter.
1/10/2021 - Buyers report heavy overstocking of toys at the end of the year and some tell me that they are in conversations with the affected toy manufacturers to arrange major markdowns. 
12/7/2020 - All indications are that the toy space is growing at its most rapid pace in the last twenty years. Estimates by the toy buyers suggest that we shall see a yearly growth this year of 8%
11/1/2020 - the national toy buyers at major retailers in the larger toy markets around the globe have just made a significant U-turn in their sales expectations for the fourth quarter. This U-turn is also noticeable in the allocation of shelf space at the major U.S. retailers. 
10/8/2020: Wal-Mart and Target shelf space devoted to toys expanded signficantly in September. However, this expansion is due to increases in private label toys, games and puzzles and craft items. Most other major categories suffered continued declines. 
9/1/2020 - Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, website traffic at the major retailers by consumers in search of toys accelerated - that is, until end of June. Since then, there has been a sharp decline in website visits - for Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon and EBay.
8/12/2020 - The trend away from brick-and-mortar to online is still accelerating and this in particular in the toy space. As a result, we are seeing two developments which are not positive for the large toy manufacturers. One is that it is Amazon Thrid-Party vendors and small manufacturers' website that are picking up the traffic which bodes ill for the likes of Wal-Mart and Target, both important retailers for the toy industry. The other is that the small manufacturers who typically were locked out from the shelves and restricted to their online efforts are picking up market share at the expense of those manufacturers who were mainly brick-and-mortar dependent. 
7/11/2020 - Both Wal-Mart and Target reduced the space allocated to toys in June - Wal-Mart down from May by 10% and Target by 4%. However, Wal-Mart's space is still about 40% larger than what had been allocated in June 2019 whereas at Target it was exactly identical. In both cases, there is evidence of excessive inventory and efforts from both retailers to reduce this significantly before September when the fourth quarter Purchase Orders begin to arrive. 
6/3/2020 - Wal-Mart again increased its toy space and this undoubtedly in response to its improved sell-through in the category. Target, too, stayed at a remarkably high level even though the footage came down from the month before. Both continue to benefit from the absence of meaningful competition from the side of the other participants who up to now were not considered “essential” and hence were limited in their brick-and-mortar activities.
5/7/2020 - Shelf space allocated to the toy category declined in April at Wal-Mart by 20% compared to March but still was at its highest for April since 2017. In the case of Target, toy space stayed the same compared to March  and was for April at its highest since 2016. 
04/03/2020 - After a 7% decline in U.S. toy sales in March, the first few days in April suggest an acceleration of the trend. Retailers report a decline of between15% and 20% and expect this to worsen further over the next few weeks. 
03/12/2020 - Ms. Astrid Specht, Editor at TOYS, Europe's leding toy industyr magazine, attended the N.Y. Toy Fair and was kind enough to share her impressions with me:
"As for your questions regarding the impact of the corona virus, factory relocation etc. – most manufacturers admitted to interruptions to their delivery chains. Factory relocations can only be considered by large organizations such as the Simba Dickie Group, Hape, Jazwares, however, none of this can and will happen ad hoc, of course. This will require careful planning and consideration and most admitted that currently there is no real alternative to China. Whether that was them projecting an air of helplessness and/or nonchalance while working on solutions, I must admit, I cannot tell. At the fair itself, very few Asian manufacturers were present. There also seemed to be lesser Asian visitors on the show floors and visiting individual booths. This was of course due to the fact that the China Pavilion was cancelled about a month before the show. This was done after the Toy Association consulted with the China Toy & Juvenile Product Association and both parties agreed that this was the best course of action."
02/03/2020 - BothWal-Mart and Target have further reduced the space allocated to the toy category. However, Wal-Mart's space is for the end of January the lowest since 2015 whereas for Target it is the highest since January 2015. 
01/07/2020 - Both Wal-Mart and Target sharply refduced their toy space at the end of December. This reduction did not affect the traditional toy space shelfing but rather eliminated a whole host of promotional aisle and end caps.
12/6/2019 - Whilst LOL is the leading fashion doll in the United States, it is not so internationally where Barbie is the clear #1 brand. However, LOL is growing faster at a 7% clip than Barbie's 4% internationally and is likely, if this trend continues, to overtake Barbie by end of next year. 


11/01/2019 - Hasbro's explanation for their 3rd Q setback in revenue does not hold water. What they basically said was that the retailers switched FOB shipments to Hasbro imports and that the company could not effect this change-over in time. As a result, orders could not be shipped in time. Fact is that this change-over was a matter of paper work only - the manufacturer [Hasbro] was the same, the factories in China were the same, the products were the same, the containers were the same and so were the vessels booked to carry the merchandise. In fact, even the destination address - the retailers' Distribution Centers - was the same. What really happened was that Hasbro both during the first and second quarter increased its retailer inventory presence to a level with which the retailers did not want to accept any longer and they cut back on shipments as a result. 


10/05/2019 - The buyers at the major retailers are intrigued by Alleghany's offer to acquire Jakks Pacific. Alleghany, the owner of Jazwares - is expected to pull a reverse take-over in which the acquired Jakks Pacific company will in fact carry the Jazwares toy portfolio. Equally, they believe that this enlarged Jakks Pacific company will be totally managed by the Jazwares team.


09/02/2019 - The acquisition of the Sanrio license by Mattel and of the eOne company by Hasbro is triggering discussions amongst the national buyers at at least one major retailer whether the Preschool space should be expanded at the expense of Construction Toys. 


06/01/2019 - Wal-Mart's private label toy business is expanding. Adventure Force was first limited to Blasters in competition to Nerf. This has now been expanded to include Action Figures, Vehicles and Figurines. I understand that more categories are under consideration. 


05/09/2019 - Whilst  there has been a slight reduction on the shelf space devoted to both Nerf and its competitors, the percentage occupied by these secondary brands has further increased from last month’s 31.5% to this month’s 34.5%. Going back to the last month before ToysRUs’ bankruptcy, Nerf has lost two-thirds of its combined shelf space whilst the secondary brands have gone from nothing to now nearly half Hasbro’s space


04/01/2019 - By acquiring the toy master license for the DC movies from Warner, Spin Master gained a massive competitive advantage. The company will be able to ride on the back of seven movies between 2020 and 2022. Should they succeed in renewing the license from 2023 onwards, they are likely to get a crack on another eight movies that are now under consideration by Warner for the period between 2023 and 2029.


03/08/2019 - At the end of February, toy shelf space at both Wal-Mart and Target has been further reduced and is now the lowest in four years. 


02/10/2019 - A survey with the national toy buyers at 32 major retailers in 18 countries suggest that 2019 growth will be considerably less than the 4% to 5% experienced last year. They think that U.S. growth will be reduced to 2.9%, International growth to 3.8% and worldwide growth to 3.5%


01/02/2019 - Whilst Wal-Mart did not ramp up its toy space in the fourth quarter compared to 2017, Target most certainly did as did a host of secondary players such as Barnes + Noble, J C Penney, Kohl's, Costco etc. Once all is added up, they between them have provided enough shelf space for toys to compensate for the ToysRUs loss. 


12/3/2018 - StarLink has lost its shelf space at Target and has basically become just another video game since its toy figures are not needed to play the game. Amiibo, too, has lost all shelf space at Target and Wal-Mart. Basically, this represent the end of the Toys To Lofe category as a factor in the toy space


11/9/2018 - Since ToysRUs declared bankruptcy in the U.S. at the end of September last year, Fashion Doll market shares in the U.S.  have changed significantly. This is how the numbers look like:


Company      Share 9/30/2017     Share 10/31/2018

Mattel                    53%                     48%

Hasbro                   31%                     24%

MGAE                     12%                     22%

Others                     4%                       6%


The gains in the "Others" category were made by Just Play with JoJo Siwa, Hairdorables, Vampirina and Spirit.



10/11/2018 - Neither Wal-Mart nor Target have significantly increased their toy shelf space by end of September inspite of their announcements that they intend to really get going in the space to grab market share from the ToysRUs corpse. However, I understand that this will change once Halloween is over and the reset for the last two months of the year is underway. 


9/7/2018 - VTech/Leapfrog are continuing to lose market share mainly to Fisher Price and Melissa + Doug and this trend has clearly accelerated since end of May. This development is accompanied by a shift away from the traditinal learning consoles and their software to toys that have a clear learning component. 

8/7/2018 - Target has again upped its toy space from 1100 linear feet at the ebd if June to 1270 feet at the end of July. Wal-Mart, on the other hand, appears to be going into a different direction - 768 feet at the end of June to 548 feet at the end of July
7/5/2018 - The statement made below has been borne out by shelf space measurements at the end of June. The combined Wal-Mart and Target shelf space devoted to traditional toys has jumped by more than 30% over end of May and is now very significantly higher for the same week between 2014 and 2017
6/18/208 - there is some evidence that toy shelf space is expanding at least at Target. Target's toy shelf space is now the highest for the same week since 2014. In the case of Wal-Mart, shelf space is the highest in three months but still below of what it was for the same week last year or, at that, in 2014.

5/17/2018 - Funko's efforts to diversify away from its movie dependance are bearing fruit. Its Five Nights At Freddy's range is making rapid progress and now has an estimated 5% of its sales volume. 

4/7/2018 - There is no evidence that neither Wal-Mart nor Target are expanding their toy shelf space in reaction to ToysRUs' liquidation. In fact, Wal-Mart's shelf space dropped sharply between end of February and end of March. Whilst Target's shelf space increased marginally, it is still the lowest for end of March in the past five years. 

03/10/2018 - After a sharp decline in WMT’s toy space allocation we are now seeing a rebound which basically puts its linear footage at the highest level for the same week over the past five years. Target, on the other hand, continues its cut-back of shelf space and it is now the lowest in five years. 


02/09/2018 - Toys To Life products continue to do pretty well if shelf space and retail inventory in the U.S. are anything to go by. In terms of shelf space, it was at the end of January at its highest since September last year. In terms of sell-through, Amiibo has for the first time reached 50% market share.


01/19/2018 - Contrary to the opinions expressed by most analysts, the fourth quarter ended on a sizzling note at least as far as the toy space was concerned. The Klosters Retailer Panel estimates that growth in the fourth quarter at retail - both Brick and Mortar and Online combined - was in the order of 8% which is quite unprecedented. Where the analysts got it wrong is that they spoke to Brick and Mortar retail establishments only and forgot that nearly half of the toy biz in the United States is now transacted online. In fact. Brick and Mortar sales of toys in the fourth quarter declined significantly and all the growth was generated by online merchants - notably Amazon.


12/03/2017 - Now that the results of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in, it may be interesting to see how the toy space looked like at the end of November. Firstly, shelf space at Wal-Mart and Target, including end caps and aisle caps, has clearly shrunk compared to a year ago - in fact, it shrunk by a whopping 28%. One reason may be that toy sales on the brick-and-mortar level have declined. At the end of last year, brick-and-mortar accounted for 62% of all toy sales in the U.S. and at the end of November this year for 56%. Assuming a growth rate of the U.S. toy market overall of 5% brick-and-mortar sales declined by nearly 10%. 


10/12/2017 - The retailers are taking advantage of TRU's Chapter 11 filing - including TRU itself. Target has advised a number of vendors [and possibly all[] that it is increasing its payment terms from the current 60 days to 120 days. TRU has offered some vendors [and possibly all] to honor pre-DIP payables at 25 cents in the Dollar. More benignly, Wal-Mart is gearing up to increasing its toy offering by about 100% compared to the same time last year. In addition, they are doubling the number of roll-backs. 


9/30/2017 - Wal-Mart is expected to focus shelf space and promotional exposure on two product categories this fourth quarter. One is Baby products where the retailer believes that the leading retailer in this category - Target - is becoming vulnerable due to the fact that shelf management and assortment choice have deteriorated. The other is theToy space where Wal-Mart assumes that ToysRUs' bankruptcy will disrupt the supply of many potentially very promising new products provided by secondary vendors because of the reluctance from the side of factors and credit insurers to accept ToysRUs paper even though it is backed by DIP financing.


08/07/2017 - Back-to-School amounts to about 5% of annual toy sales in the United States. Latest store movement metrics suggest that Wal-Mart is doing exceptionally well; Target second, and ToysRUs a very distant third. Back-to-School has never been very important for TRU but the retailer is doing even more badly than normal this year. However, Amazon is doing better than any brick-and-mortar retailer and is estimated to have nearly doubled its Back-to-School toy sales so far this year


06/26/2017 - Target's toy shelf space for the week ending June 25 is now at its lowest since 2008. This does not include the half-empty shelves not restocked or adequately serviced nor does it account for the many end caps full of obsolete product.


05/27/2017 - Barbie has in May recaptured the #1 sales position in the Fashion Doll category at 21 retailers [out of 27 surveyed] in 16 countries. This makes Barbie again the top selling doll for the first time since February 2014 when the Disney Frozen doll began to overtake it. 


04/04/2017 - Target continues to lose market share in the toy space. Also, their toy shelf space has been trending downwards over the past four quarters if you exclude those endcaps that just show assorted close-out junk. One of the reason why Target is not doing well is that their shelf management has sharply deteriorated over the past 12 months. 


03/04/2017 - Wal-Mart's toy space in the week ending 2/24/2017 - was the highest for the same week since 2010. Target, on the other hand, had the lowest since 2008 even if you do not consider the endcaps containing assorted close-out junk. 


01/19/2017 - The Toys To Life category is now undergoing massive changes as far as market shares of the individual IPs are concerned. Amiibo is now clearly #1, followed by Lego Dimensions, folloed by Infinity, Skylanders and finally Playmation. While the heavily discounted Infinity is still a factor, it is much less so than it was at the beginning of September. 


12/24/2016 - Toy market growth is still around 7% for toys. However, the picture is distorted by the fact that online sales are skyrocketing at the expense of brick-and-mortar sales. As a result, brick-and-mortar sales growth is only about half of that of digital toy sales.  


11/1/2016 - Halloween generated even more toy sales than originally anticipated. First readings suggest a growth rate over 2015 of about 12% in Dollar terms. The toy space overall is also doing exceptionally well - in October up by about 9%. 


10/8/2016 - Halloween is shaping up to be a very successful one this year.  According to the NRF, more than 171 million Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year with spending $82.93 this year versus last year's $74.34. The two leading suppliers, Rubies and Jakks' Disguise, are expected to keep their last year's market share position - Rubies being #1 and Jakks being #2.


9/8/2016 - Infinity's closing-down program continues to disrupt the Toys To Life category. The range is on clearance at Wal-Mart and at heavy discounts at all the others. This is how market shares developed:



  6/2016 7/2016 8/2016* 8/2016** 9/2016* 9/2016**
Amiibo 13.3 13.2 7.14 9.52 5.95 7.93
Dimension 14.2 11.3 32.50 43.33 11.07 14.76
Infinity 42.0 51.6 39.40 19.21 59.4 45.88
Skylanders 28.3 20.0 20.95 27.94 23.6 31.4
Playmation 2.2 3.9 0.00 0.00 0.0 0.0
Note: On 9/8/2016 Infinity was on clearance at WMt and had
significant discounts with all the others    
* with Wal-Mart included        
** Wal-Mart excluded        


Target's Toy Space for the week ending 7/23 was the lowest since 2007 when the Klosters Retailer Panel began measuring it. The average reduction is 10%. However, if you also consider the many endcaps that contain "assorted" junk, representing 40% of all their Toy endcaps, the percentage gap is much wider. Also, shelf management continues to deteriorate and whilst not as bad as Wal-Mart's at their worst, it is getting there. 8/2/2016 - Wal-Mart continues to improve its shelf management and its store hygiene overall and the difference between now and a year ago is quite striking. 


7/7/2016 - Target continues to have store traffic issues - whether this be due to the transgender issue or some other reason. Retailer Panel numbers suggest a decline in consumer attendance at the toy department in the neighborhood of 3%.

6/1/2016 - The Transgender Bathroom issue has, as ludicrous as it sounds, had a negative effect on Target's store traffic. Back in April, the American Family Association, called for a boycott of all Target stores because ot the company's policy of allowing men to go into women's bathrooms and vice versa. Whilst this may not be uniformly the case, one regional Target executive told me that store traffic in his part of the country was down an estimated 2% in May. 


5/5/2016 - The  most recent Retail Panel metrics indicate that Target has sharply increased its Toy space – to its highest level since end of 2014. If measured against the same week in the year, it is now at its highest since April 2011. This may well be a measure in response to the company’s loss in toy market share in 2015 and the first quarter of 2016 [2014 17%, 2015 16.9%, first quarter 2016 16.8%].


4/6/2015 - Both Mattel and Hasbro have lost market share in the U.S. toy market. in 2011 they stood at 21.9% and 13.8% respectively. By end of 2015, they were at 18.05% and 11.0% respectively. At the end of March 2016, both had declined to 17.25% and 10.5%.


3/15/2016 - Mattel's and Hasbro's Disney Princesses continue to be sold side-by-side with those of Mattel's outselling Hasbro's at a rate of approximately 4:1. However, Hasbro is making clear progress in Europe and is beginning to do very well in Germany and Spain


2/5/2016 - Hello Barbie continues to be available in the U.S. only, at least officially. However, Amazon is shipping Hello Barbie throughout Europe at prices which are about three to four times higher than in the U.S. Amazon also tell me that Hello Barbie even at these very inflated prices is moving extremely well.


12/28/2015 - the Klosters Retailer Panel reports that toy market growth in the U.S. in the fourth quarter is marginallyabovre 6% compared to the same period last year. This is probably the highest fourth quarter in a decade and is mainly due to the massive success of Star Wars - Action Figures, Nerf, Infinity, Lego, Board Games etc. 


11/16/2015 - Wal-Mart is not the only one having shelf management issues. Target has now joined this club as well. The problem started as far back as in early Summer this year but has clearly deteriorated further since then. Their shelves are only partly filled over night, their top sellers are not to be found, and about half of their endcaps are filled with obsolete products which the retailer wants to eliminate. 


10/2/2015 - Wal-Mart continues to have shelf management isssues. I had thought that the appointment of Doug McMillion earlier this year would turn around the long decline in in-store management. This has not so far materialized. Shelves are still half full, floors are still dirty, cahs registers are still unmanned, and toilets are still a disgrace. On the subject of shelf management - here is one recent observation:


On 9/26/2015, at 10 a.m., one Wal-Mart Super Store located in the New England area had a substantial space near the entrance set aside for Star Wars merchandise. As per my own observation, out of 16 linear feet reserved for Star Wars Lego, eight were empty. As for Star Wars Action Figures, out of 52 linear feet 30 were empty. The time of the day suggests that this did not happen that morning but rather was a carry-over from Friday. 



9/1/2015 - Target continues to devote least shelf space to toys since I began measuring it in August 2007. 


8/11/2015 - NPD states that the 1st quarter growth for the traditional U.S. toy market was at plus  14% for the first quarter and 2nd quarter at minus 0.5%. They also estimated 2nd  half growth to be around 6%. For the whole of 2015, their estimate is +6.2%. Both the Klosters Retailer Panel and the national buyers put these numbers significantly lower - 4% for the first and second quarter and 3.8% for the whole year


7/8/2014 - According to the Klosters Retailer Panel, Target last week had the lowest shelf space devoted to toys since 2008, Wal-Mart since 2008.


6/4/2015 - For the week ending 5/31 both Wal-Mart and Target have the lowest shelf space devoted to toys since I began measuring the space seven years ago.


5/19/2015 - Jakks Frozen range has regained the shelf space it had lost over the past month and is competing with Monsters for the #2 shelf space position. Mattel’s Princess, whilst stable, is way behind the top three even though it continues to be the top selling brand with Frozen and Cinderella


4/6/2015- Work on the West Coast Docks continues on an accelerated basis and more ships are cleared than are coming in. It is still expected that the congestion willbe totally cleared by mid May.


​2/1/2015 The Klosters Toy Newsletter for the period ending January 31, 2015 has been published. For further information please tab forward to the Klosters Newsletters and Industry Assessments page of this website


11/2/2014 - American Girl openend another Shop-in-Shop at Chapters Canada - this time in Ottawa. However, the Ottawa store with its estimated 1400 square feet is smaller than the other two - Vancouver and Toronto - which are about 1800 square feet. At this point in time, Toronto appears to be doing pretty well in terms of sell through. The other two stores - Ottawa and Vancouver - are doing less than half.  American Girl also has plans to go to Mexico next Summer. The company is teaming up with El Palacio de Hierro, an upscale department store with 20 locations in the main urban centers of the country. Initially, the American Girl Shop-in-Shop will only be in three, all in Mexico City.


10/7/2014 - The temporary American Girl store in Honolulu opened its doors on 10/4 and store traffic was very strong. Two more store openings are coming soon - Carlotte NC on October 11 and Orlando FL on November 15.Both are expected to do very well.


8/31/2014 - The New York Times in yesterday's article "Movies have worst Summer since 1997" confirmed what I said below in regard to sequels. They specifically mentioned the two movies quoted by me below - Transformers and Spiderman.

8/22/2014 - I have said for a while that too many movie sequels hurt the toy box office result of the brand. This is what happened with Transformers and Spiderman:



Release Date

U.S. Box Office after 20 days

U.S. $ Million

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen



Transformers Dark of the Moon



Transformers Extinction



Spiderman 3

5/  4/07


Amazing Spiderman

7/  3/12


Amazing Spiderman 2






7/10/2014 - Mattel's BoomCo has now launched and is available at all three majors – at TRU on an aisle cap.  It is too early to give a reading on sell-through. However, if the European experience is duplicated in the U.S., Mattel should capture about 10% of Nerf’s business within this quarter.


6/5/2014 - ToysRUs’ clearance efforts continue and the “off” percentages have increased. Their Clearance Items [representing ab out 25% of their total shelf space, up from 20% a month ago] are now at 50%, 60%, 70% and 70% compared to 40%, 50%, 60% and 60% at the beginning of May. However, it still looks unlikely that all excess inventory will be moved by end of this quarter.


5/13/2014 - The toy space did resonably well in April, up about 3%. Part of this is due to Easter falling into April whereas last year it was March. Easter sales account for about 1.8% of the year in the U.S. and about 0.5% internationally or, in the aggregate, about 1% in total. However, ten days shipments this year fell into March and these ten days accounted for about half of the total. So, in other words, the swing factor is only about 0.5%.


4/6/2014 - According to data obtained by the Klosters Retailer Panel, one of the main reasons for the very poor performance of preschool - Fisher Price and Playskool in particular - is that the consumer moved down the price scale in 2013 and this is accelerating in 2014. Consumers realize that the very young children - between 1 and 4 - are equally happy with a toy costing $10 versus one costing $50 and that, at the end of the day, anyway prefer to play with the box and the wrapping paper. For families who are suffering economic hardship, and this applies to pretty much half of the U.S. population, this is one way to save money. Buy two toys for $10 each instead of a $50 toy and save $30.

3/18/2014 - ToysRUs continues to have a bad quarter and there are now increasing indications that the company is beginning to cut store employee numbers. This has already started and whilst no firm numbers have been mentioned, the consensus within ToysRUs is that we are looking at about a 10% reduction in store employees. The danger is, of course, that this will have the same consequences as id had on Wal-Mart who has over years reduced the number of employees on the retail level. These consequences, in the case of Wal-Mart, are now empty shelves, unmanned check-out registers, and toilets that remind you of Northern Nigeria on a bad day. 


2/12/2014 - The Construction Toy category is the graveyard of many wanna-bes

who thought that it was a ready plum to pick given its size, its growth, and the fact that Lego had a staggering 75% odd percent market share and who then found out that Lego had its market share for a very good reason - the company simply beats everybody in sight because of its quality, its creativity and its top licenses. However, the most recent entry may be an exception: GoldieBlox. Goldieblox is a girl-oriented construction toy range first released in 2012, the same year Lego brought out its Lego Friends range [to be followed by Mega's girls' range at the end of 2012]. The start-up was financed by Kickstarter donations and they slowly built their business by going via the small specialty stores such as Learning Express. They hit the big time when GoldieBlox won a contest over more than 20,000 other applicants sponsored by Intuit and was given a 30-second commercial spot during the broadcast of the 2014 Super Bowl. They are now also at ToysRUs and Target and I am told that the range is doing exceptionally well - this in the face of the fantastically successful Lego movie.


1/8/2014 - The Skylanders of Activision and Infinity by Disney continue to exceptionally well even though the Skylanders in fact clocked in during the fourth quarter 2014 a little lower than during the same quarter of 2012. Currently, the sales ratio between the two is about 3:2 in favor of the Skylanders. To demonstrate just how important these two ranges are - their combined shelf space at Wal-Mart, Target and ToysRus is 25% larger than that of all of Mattel's and Hasbro's Action Figures combined.


12/9/2013 - Playmates' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures are already now ranking in sales amid the top five at TRU, TGT, Wal-Mart and Amazon. With the movie breaking on August 8, 2014, the range is expected to do extremely well and to clock in somewhere around #2 at all four major retailers.


11/19/2013 - my retailer data continues to show Flutterbye of Spin Master and Lalaloopsy of MGA inching up in the market share stakes and are now contesting for the third place in fashion dolls after Monsters and Princess.


10/3/2013 - My retailer panel sell-through data suggests that in Fashion Dolls, Monsters continues to dominate at all majors. An interesting new comer to the top 10 is the Flutterbye Flying Fairy Doll by Spin Master.  The buyers also report that Infinity is beating Skylanders at a rate of 5:1 and the two brands are totally dominating the Action Cigure category. In the case of Electronic Learning Products, Leappad Ultra is now in the third position after Leappad 2 and Leappad 2 Explorer. VTech's Innotab 3S is gaining market share on the strength of a lower price and no firmware problems.


9/2/2013 - Today, DM2 Action Figures and the Skylanders are tied for the #1 in the Action Figure category. Transformers are at #3, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4 and Batman ties Star Wars for the #5 position.

7/7/2013 - Mattel has launched Barbie The Wizard of OZ in competition to Jakks OZ the Great and Powerful. Mattel has the OZ rights from Warner Brothers on the basis of the book whereas Jakks has the rights on the basis of the Disney movie which was released on March 8. Mattel's entry is so far limited to three SKUs at $39.99 each at ToysRUs. It is available both in the stores as well as online.


6/1/2013 - Lalaloopsy is now the #3 Fashion Doll after Monsters and Barbie, replacing Disney Princess in that position.


4/13/2013 - Cardinal Industries recently took over Hasbro's moribund puzzles business. This is what today they have to say about this on their website:


Our recent entry into puzzles brought new life into the category with innovation (lenticular and 3D), excitement (licensed puzzles), better presentation (innovative packaging) and added value.


I checked with some of my friends at ToysRUs and they have only the most complimentary things to say about Cardinal's efforts. TRU has about 15 of Cardinal's Puzzles SKUs on their shelves which apparently are beginning to move very well.


Hasbro is apparently still manufacturing the puzzles sold by Cardinal.


3/5/2013 - Hasbro's recently released Furby Party Rockers are doing well at ToysRUs, Target and Amazon. My sources tell me that this new range is in fact revitalizing the Furby brand that has already begun to stagnate. Two reasons for this: it is a newcomer and hence of interest, and secondly the price point which at $24.99 is significantly below the $54.00 price tag for the regular Furby


1/22/2013 - Both Target and Wal-Mart have reduced the space devoted to toys. This is how it looks in running feet per store [WMT Supercenter]:


 Store 1/7/2012 1/4/2013
WMT regular toy space 1158 854.5
TGT regular toy space 1272.5 919.25

In the case of TRU Side-by-Side stores, the Babies Section has as of early January expanded sharply and accounts for more than 50% of the store's sales.


12/05/2012 - The national buyers at the big box retailers tell me that Black Friday/Cyber Monday were extremely strong but, just like last year, the consumers then stayed away in droves. These buyers predict a mild spurt between December 10 and 15 because of the 12/15 deadline for LayAway purchases. They also predict a second surge come about 12/19 until 12/24 because the laggards - the ones that did not have the money, or the time, or the wish to buy Christmas gifts earlier - will come back and make a gift purchase after all.


10/08/2012 - I talked to national buyers at the large retailers to find out what they really thought about the lay-away program. They pretty uniformly said two things:

1. The lay-away program last year did not move the needle either in terms of toy sales or in terms of toy retail market shares.

2. They expect the same thing to happen this year. They believe that whoever is putting things on the lay-away is just committing earlier rather than later but the program does not really change the overall buying behaviour.


8/28/2012 - Furby of Hasbro, set to be released on 9/16/2012 - is on pre-order at all three majors plus  Amazon.

Demand is strong, particularly at Target. 


3/21/2012 - The Swiss toy market had in 2011 its best year since 2002. It grew over 2010 by 3% to Swfr. 440 million  [US$ 480 million]. The individual product categories participated as follows:

 Product Category




 Building Blocks








 Games and Puzzles






 Action Figures




2/11/2012 - Smoby Toys, member of the Simba-Dickie Group; has just been appointed toy licensee for Black+Decker in Europe

12/23/2011 - According to my retailer panel, the only two retailers who gained market share in the toy space in the United States between October 1 and December 15 were ToysRUs plus Amazon  . All others were either static [KMart] or lost share [Wal-Mart. Target and EBay ].


July 3, 2012: The European toy market is in the doldrums. The only country showing positive numbers is Germany - 2% up. The Southern tier - Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal - are showing declining numbers ranging from minus 9% to minus 12%. UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, Austria and Switzerland are flat. Overall, the expectation is that 2012 will show for the whole of Continental Europe a 10% decline. The UK is expected to show flat to minus 2% sales for the year