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:

 

Brand

Release Date

U.S. Box Office after 20 days

U.S. $ Million

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen

6/24/09

342.3

Transformers Dark of the Moon

6/29/11

305.7

Transformers Extinction

6/27/14

215.4

Spiderman 3

5/  4/07

287.9

Amazing Spiderman

7/  3/12

228.6

Amazing Spiderman 2

5/24/14

176.1

 

 

 

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

Participation

 Preschool

16.9%

 Building Blocks

15.9%

 Cars

10.8%

 Outdoor

10.7%

 Dolls

10.5%

 Games and Puzzles

10.4%

 Plush

5.3%

 Activity

4.6%

 Action Figures

4.5%

 Electronics

1.8%


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 ].

 

5/4/2012 - the national buyers at the large toy retailers tell me that the toy market in April was essentially flat. This comes on top of a pretty flat first quarter. They still expect the year to end up on a high note - up 3% - 4% including web sales.

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