Starting in May, NYIGF, with partner Right Angle Strategies, is offering market readiness webinars to exhibitors, focused on selling strategies, tradeshow operations and post-show follow up.
The Brand Licensing Expo and Conference for Central and Eastern Europe was at full-tilt last week. Reports note that retail attendance on the first day more than doubled in comparison to last year, drawing visitors from 20 countries.
The Accessory Network Group recently acquired Yak Pak, a New York-based backpack and messenger bag company popular among teens and young adults. The company's CEO, Abe Chehebar, reported that Yak Pak will debut its first line of handbag offerings beginning Spring 2011. The company sees a large void for teen-oriented handbags in the industry and is eager to fill it. Prices are expected to range from $65 to $100.
Due to a partnership between Discovery Communications and Spuds, TLC Baby, a brand dedicated to expecting parents, will debut a line of feeding products this spring.
The line is the first under the TLC Baby franchise and will include plates, bowls, utensils, sippy cups, bottles and pacifiers. The Spuds brand is unique in that it's created using reclaimed potato starch, making the product entirely free of toxins.
The No. 1 preschool property in the United States, Thomas & Friends, charges forward with another licensing deal. HIT Entertainment recently signed a deal with Ontel Products and CJ Products to create Thomas the Tank Engine Pillow Pets. The line will be available in 2011 at mass and specialty chains in the U.S. and Canada.
Rugged Bear, a children's retailer based in Norwood, MA, is closing all of its 29 Northeast locations, including stores in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York. The company filed for bankruptcy reorganization in late January and is currently holding a liquidation sale, which will continue until all merchandise is sold. Rugged Bear stores have sold boys', girls' and infant apparel, including outwear, footwear, sportswear and sleepwear, for more than 30 years.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is scheduled to launch a new searchable database on March 11, which will allow the public to report harm related to the use of consumer goods, including toys, furniture, clothing and accessories and children's products. Consumers may submit reports on the CPSC's website, www.saferproducts.gov, and will be able to search and review the reports logged in the database.
Many major retailers reported strong sales in February, boosted by winter-clearance merchandise. J.C. Penney, Macy's, Nordstrom and Kohl's all topped analyst's estimates for the month, with J.C. Penney reporting a 6.4 percent increase, propelled by strong sales in women's apparel and accessories, as well as children's apparel and fine jewelry. Macy's sales were up by 5.8 percent, Kohl's by 5 percent and Nordstrom by 7.3 percent.
MasterCard Advisors, the credit card company's consulting group, reports shoppers spent $13.8 billion online in February—a 13.2 percent year-over-year increase. February is the fourth consecutive month with double-digit online spending increases. January's online sales tallied to $13.1 billion. The report notes that the online apparel continues to top the list of e-commerce performers, but the growth rate of the category is slowing down. The latest categories to see growth are jewelry and electronics.
Carter's Inc. fourth-quarter earnings increased an unexpected 5.8 percent. In the wake of narrower margins and the rising cost of raw materials, labor and transportation, the apparel brand anticipated a lower profit. A company spokesperson says the namesake brand and OshKosh B'Gosh experienced steady sales, helped by the ongoing demand for baby and children's apparel.