Playtime, the maker of interactive indoor play areas, has entered into a licensing agreement with Paws, Inc.—home of everyone's favorite lazy kitty, Garfield—that allows for the creation of Garfield play areas for malls, retail outlets and other locations. The play areas will feature characters from the famous "Garfield and Friends" comic strip and TV series, including Garfield, Odie, Nermal and Pooky.
MoonPie, the marshmallow sandwich that's been an "American favorite since 1917," is coming back to life. Lisa Marks Associates, which owns the MoonPie brand, signed four new deals for the yummy brand.
The company struck one of these deals with apparel licensee Tray & Loevner—which also has licensing agreements with such brands as Pepsi and Animal Planet—for retro-design tees and fleeces for juniors, girls and boys. The apparel will sell to mid-tier, mass and special channels and is slated to launch later this year.
MoveableCode Inc., a digital publisher that creates play products for brands like Tonka and Fisher Price, inked a deal with The Monster Factory's "(not so) Scary Monsters" characters for a series of Step-By-Story ePlay apps that will launch before the end of 2011.
The apps, which will be published under MoveableCode's Playful Owl imprint, use a build-your-own story format to deliver child-driven learning for pre-readers and early readers (the target age is 2-6 years old).
The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Wednesday that toy recalls have been on the decline since 2008, due to new toy safeguards, in addition to steps taken by toy makers and sellers to improve safety. There were 34 hazardous toy recalls in fiscal year 2011, down from 46 in the previous fiscal year.
The Children's Place Retail Stores, Inc. announced Thursday a 7 percent increase in third quarter net sales versus the same period last year. For the thirteen weeks leading to October 29, the company reports it racked up $484.1 million in sales. Sales are also up by 3 percent for the fiscal year-to-date, compared to 2010. The company also expects a strong finish to the year, due to its efforts to eliminate heavily discounted, excess end-of-year inventory, Reuters reports.
According to daily-deal aggregator Yipit, U.S. consumers are expected to spend between $80 million and $100 million on Groupon, LivingSocial and similar sites this holiday season. Last year consumers spent between $15 million and $20 million on daily deals. Of the 10,000 consumers polled, more than 90 percent said they were likely to purchase a daily deal as a gift. The report states that shoppers are looking for discounted gifts and experiences such as helicopter flights and vacations.
Infant and toddler brand Baby Bella Maya will begin to distribute Tellurian Baby personal care products. The company plans to make the product available to its current retail partners and would like to partner with more non-competing children's brands. Tellurian Baby, which offers baby oil, diaper cream, body wash, lotion and more, is endorsed by actor Jane Leeves.
On Tuesday, DHX Media, an international leader in entertainment licensing, announced seven new licensing deals for the children's television phenomenon, Yo Gabba Gabba!
On Tuesday, Disney snapped up Babble Media—an online parenting site that features more than 200 mommy-bloggers—for an undisclosed amount. Founded in 2006, Babble Media was listed as one of the 50 best websites of 2010 by Time magazine. The acquisition is meant to strengthen Disney Interactive Media Group's online portfolio of resources for mommies and daddies alike.
For the first time, the web has tied discount stores as the most popular place to pick up holiday gifts, according to the results of an annual survey of more than 5,000 consumers released last week by Deloitte. According to the survey, 48 percent of consumers say they will most likely shop for gifts online—a 13 percent increase from last year.