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Toy Industry

December 25, 2008 | bloomberg news
Lego may have a record gain in U.S. sales this year as cash-strapped parents seek toys that will last, said the head of the company's Americas unit. Lego's total sales growth will exceed its August projection of 12%, Soren Torp Laursen said. The company has had an "exceptional year" in the United States and Britain, he said. "We braced ourselves for fairly tough conditions because the macro-economic picture was not looking very good," Laursen said Tuesday.
December 23, 2008 | Alana Semuels
There's no sign of an economic slowdown at Larry Mestyanek's toy factory in Compton. Whirring machines cut letters from the alphabet out of red, blue and yellow slabs of wood, making long rows of the letter E. Across the room, men with air filter masks sand toddler's chairs that are lined up in rows as if expecting a convention of miniature leaders. The machines are so loud it's hard to hear the rows of tiny wooden music boxes playing a disjointed lullaby.
February 19, 2008 | Heather Burke, Bloomberg News
The U.S. Toy Industry Assn., whose members include Mattel Inc. and Hasbro Inc., said Monday that its board unanimously approved a plan for a new testing system after the recall of tens of millions of Chinese-made toys last year. The proposal includes more-stringent procedures for analyzing safety during the design and manufacturing of toys, as well as the testing of finished products, said Joan Lawrence, a vice president of the group.
February 13, 2008 | From Reuters
U.S. toy sales fell slightly in 2007 as the industry suffered from negative publicity surrounding the recall of millions of Chinese-made playthings and a weakening economy, according to data released Tuesday by market research firm NPD Group. U.S. toy sales fell about 2% to $22.1 billion from $22.6 billion in 2006. The biggest declines came in dolls at 8%, while sales in the infant and preschool category and the outdoor and sports category each fell 5%.
December 5, 2007 | DAVID LAZARUS
This should be the time of year when Santa's wholesale elves in the downtown L.A. Toy District are busy moving cheap, Chinese-made playthings to consumers and retailers throughout Southern California and beyond. But area merchants say sales this year are terrible -- down about 40% in many cases from a year earlier -- and they know all too well why that is.
November 22, 2007 | From the Associated Press
In a risque video on YouTube, Ken and Barbie dolls are joining calls by high-profile Democrats for the resignation of Nancy Nord, acting chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In the video, shot and posted by the Campaign for America's Future, a liberal advocacy group, Ken and Barbie meet at a bar after breaking up and go to Barbie's house. A week later Barbie complains to Ken that she is "having some symptoms." When Ken asks what's wrong, she answers, "It's lead poisoning."
November 20, 2007 | From Times Wire Services
California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown sued 20 companies, as expected, claiming they sold toys containing "unlawful quantities of lead."
November 11, 2007 | From Times Wire Services
Parents should have no qualms about buying Chinese-made toys for children in the run-up to Christmas despite a surge in recalls of unsafe toys, the head of Europe's toy industry said. More than 20 million Chinese-made toys were recalled worldwide in the last four months because of excessive levels of lead paint and other unsafe components, stoking fears of reduced consumer confidence ahead of the Christmas retail period.
November 8, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Millions of Chinese-made toys have been pulled from shelves in North America and Australia after scientists found they contain a chemical that converts into a powerful "date rape" drug when ingested. Two children in the U.S. and three in Australia were hospitalized after swallowing the beads. The recall is yet another blow to the toy industry -- already bruised by a slew of recalls during the summer.
August 24, 2007 | Abigail Goldman, Times Staff Writer
Amid a fresh spate of toy recalls, members of Congress said Thursday that they would hold hearings about product safety and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. vowed to increase testing and oversight of the playthings it sold. But neither of those actions will guarantee a trouble-free toy aisle any time soon, according to activists who contend that legislation is needed to mandate stricter standards.
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