Toy Fair 2010: Good Show for All
This year’s Toy Fair was a positive experience for all. Manufacturers reported great traffic during the duration of the show, and most importantly, orders were written by retailers. Despite some snow on Tuesday, there was one noticeable thing missing from this year’s Toy Fair-complaining. Usually a favorite activity of the toy industry, complaints were absent from this year’s show. Everyone seemed happy just to have survived 2009 and positive outlooks abound for 2010 and into 2011. On the whole, manufacturers were showing great lines. The key trends remain low price points, classic play patterns, and known properties. These ingredients yielded innovative product lines. With each passing year, we see less technology for the sake of using technology. We do see more technology that makes sense for the way today’s kids are living. A notable example of this is Vtech’s FLiP, which as far as we can tell, is the first eReader for kids. With the success of the Kindle and the recent announcement of Apple’s iPad, it was just a matter of time until this concept found its way into the kids’ space. Lightweight, thin, and stylish, designed for ages 3-5, the eReader is expected to retail for $59.99 with additional cartridges expected to be available for $19.99. There will also be stories available for download. Some are expected to be free while others will have a price that is TBD. The system is MAC and PC compatible.
Also generating buzz at the show is WowWee’s Paper Jamz. With an MSRP of $24.99, users can play this lightweight, thin guitar. A separate amp is also available for $14.99.
Cepia’s “Zhu-niverse” will expand with the introduction of Kung Zhu. This boys’ product line of hamsters mixes the classic Zhu Zhu Pets with the battling action of a Beyblade or Battle Strikers concept.
The amount of anniversaries being celebrating at this year’s Toy Fair are endless. Earlier in the week, we mentioned Dora the Explorer’s 10th anniversary. Another one of note is Thomas the Tank Engine’s 65th anniversary. The property has signed with Fisher-Price and MEGA Brands for new lines of toys. In addition, Learning Curve Brands introduced the Early Engineers line. Designed for 18 months and up, this line will bring babies into the Thomas brand sooner with simple play and will help transitional them into the larger scope of the brand as they get older.
Pinkalicious, which is being managed by The Joester Loria Group, is a property gaining traction. Product was on display most notably from Madame Alexander and Fundex.
Walmart Reports Financial Results
Walmart reported financial results for the quarter and year ended January 31, 2010. Net sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2010 were $112.8 billion, an increase of 4.6 percent from $107.9 billion in the fourth quarter last year. Net sales for the fourth quarter included a currency exchange rate benefit of $1.9 billion. Income from continuing operations for the quarter was $4.7 billion, an increase of almost 24 percent from $3.8 billion in the fourth quarter last year.
Diluted earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2010 were $1.23. This compares to EPS of 96 cents in the fourth quarter last year. Adjusted earnings from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2010 were $4.5 billion, or $1.17 per share, after adjusting for the following: a $372 million, or 10 cents per share, in net tax benefits primarily from the repatriation of certain non-U.S. earnings that increased U.S. foreign tax credits; and $260 million charge ($162 million net of tax) from several business restructurings.
By comparison, adjusted earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 were $4 billion, or $1.03 per share, after adjusting for the $382 million charge ($255 million net of tax), or 7 cents per share, due to the settlement of 63 wage-and-hour class action lawsuits.
Net sales for the fiscal year were $405 billion, an increase of 1 percent over fiscal year 2009. On a constant currency basis, net sales for the fiscal year would have been $9.8 billion higher, increasing 3.4 percent to approximately $414.8 billion. Income from continuing operations increased to $14.4 billion from $13.3 billion in fiscal year 2009, an increase of 8.8 percent.
For fiscal year 2010, adjusted earnings from continuing operations were $14.2 billion, or $3.66 per share, versus $13.5 billion or $3.42 per share in the prior year, an increase of 7 percent per share.
“Walmart’s exceptional earnings for the fourth quarter and the full year exceeded our expectations,” said Mike Duke, Walmart’s president and CEO, in a statement. “These results reflect the ongoing underlying strength of our business and our strategies to improve shareholder value through our priorities-delivering growth, leveraging expenses, and improving returns.”