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Toy Industry

April 17, 2006 | Abigail Goldman, Times Staff Writer
American Girl doesn't have to look far for a reminder of how a top-tier toy name can fade. The upscale doll unit of Mattel Inc. will open its third American Girl Place store this weekend at the Grove in Los Angeles. It is hoping to avoid the fate of the previous tenant, FAO Schwarz, whose parent company filed for bankruptcy protection after more than 100 years in business. The challenge facing American Girl: how to maintain its cachet amid double-digit growth.
February 13, 2006 | From Reuters
Last year was not very playful for the U.S. toy industry, with sales falling almost 4%, market research firm NPD Group said Sunday. In 2005, total sales for the beleaguered industry declined to $21.3 billion from $22.1 billion the year before, NPD analyst Anita Frazier said at the American International Toy Fair in New York. That qualified as a "so-so" year for toymakers, who have been grappling with intense price competition, slipping revenue, higher costs and store closings.
January 19, 2006 | From Bloomberg News
Jakks Pacific Inc., the Malibu-based maker of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. action figures, said it had agreed to buy Creative Designs International Ltd., a Pennsylvania firm that makes girls' dress-up tiaras and vanity tables, for $116.5 million. Acquiring Creative Designs International would provide Jakks with licenses to make dress-up accessories based on Walt Disney Co. characters, Chief Operating Officer Stephen Berman said. Shares of Jakks Pacific surged 75 cents to $20.98.
December 15, 2005 | Susan Carpenter, Times Staff Writer
MARIA SMITH admits she "went too wild." After a midmorning shopping binge in the toy district downtown, her arms were straining from the bulk of multiple plastic bags stuffed with Marvel coloring books and blinking necklaces, tentacled rubber balls and Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards, confetti, gift bags and streamers -- all of it purchased for a fraction of what she would have paid at the mall. "It's a lot less expensive to come down to L.A.
October 13, 2005 | From Associated Press
Francie Todd's two boys may not notice it, but there will be fewer toys under the tree this Christmas. Amid higher gasoline prices and other effects of Hurricane Katrina, Todd plans to cut her toy spending in half. "You look at the economic climate overall, and this is not a good time to run up the credit cards," said Todd of East Lansing, Mich., who planned to spend about $100 on toys for each child, down from $200 last year.
October 11, 2005 | Roger Vincent, Times Staff Writer
Mattel Inc. said goodbye Monday to Barbie's boss and combined its two largest divisions after nearly two years of declining sales of the iconic doll line. The El Segundo toy maker joined its Mattel and Fisher-Price units and named Neil B. Friedman, 58, to head the combined operations, a promotion from his position as head of the improving Fisher-Price division.
July 19, 2005 | Melinda Fulmer, Times Staff Writer
Helped by strong sales of "Star Wars" merchandise, toy maker Hasbro Inc. reported a 56% jump in second-quarter profit Monday while rival Mattel Inc. posted disappointing results as costs rose and its Barbie franchise continued to sputter. It was the seventh straight quarter of sliding sales for Mattel's largest product line. A makeover last year designed to make the blond icon more appealing to older girls hasn't stemmed the downturn.
March 18, 2005 | From Associated Press
A recharged Toys R Us Inc. may help energize an industry suffering from price wars with behemoth discounters and from weaker sales because children want computer games and digital music players instead of stuffed animals, toy vendors and analysts said Thursday. They are hoping that the $6.
February 18, 2005 | Melinda Fulmer, By Melinda Fulmer Times Staff Writer
NEW YORK -- The hottest new products at the American International Toy Fair trade show aren't really toys so much as inexpensive consumer electronics that are kid-friendly and can take a beating. After years of watching cellphones, MP3 players, video games and digital video cameras steal sales, major toy makers this year are pinching a page from another industry's book. "I don't even call it the toy business anymore," said Jim Silver, publisher of Toy Wishes magazine.
December 25, 2004 | Melinda Fulmer, Times Staff Writer
Today, as children eagerly dive into their Christmas gifts, toy maker Mattel Inc. will be dealing with the leftovers. This holiday season, Mattel opened 11 temporary toy stores across California -- they will close Friday -- to sell a backlog of slow-moving products, discontinued goods and items with imperfections. The idea, it seems, is for the company to try to earn a little more money than it would by selling this B-list merchandise to close-out specialists such as KB Toys Inc.'
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