aNb Media News, April 1, 2010

Easter Sales Expected to Be Up

This Sunday is Easter and retailers are anticipating a boost in spring spending activity, according to industry research firm IBISWorld. The company forecasts holiday spending will
generate $14.02 billion-a 1.8 percent increase from last year and the first holiday spending increase in three years.

Although the unemployment rate is higher than it was this time last year (8.9 percent versus the current 9.7 percent), a mix of apparel retailers have reported signs of life in recent same-store sales results compared to a year ago.

Food and candy alone will account for almost half of total Easter sales (33.4 percent and 15.7 percent, respectively). Supermarkets and discount retailers offering a one-stop shop for traditional Easter goods will therefore reap the bulk of sales during the holiday.

Aurora and Ty Have Court Date for Infringement Case

Aurora World, Inc., a toy and gift manufacturer that filed a federal copyright lawsuit against competitor Ty, Inc., alleging that Ty’s Beanie Boos infringe on YooHoo & Friends, has
announced that the court has set January 18, 2011, as the trial date in that lawsuit. A pretrial conference is scheduled to take place on December 20, 2010.

In its lawsuit, Aurora has alleged claims against Ty for violation of the Copyright Act, Lanham Act, California Business and Professions Code section 17200, common law misappropriation, and common law unfair competition. In papers filed with the court, Ty informed
the court that it had no intention of selling “Cleo” and “Bubblegum” in the U.S. pending the outcome of this case. Ty’s lawyers also advised the court that Ty had ceased sending out display
racks and sell sheets containing images of “Cleo” and “Bubblegum.”

Patch Products Hires Hayes

Patch Products announced that Ron Hayes has been hired as corporate vice-president of product development, design, and engineering. Hayes brings with him more than 30 years of experience where he has helped develop some of the most recognizable brands and licenses in the toy industry, such as Batman Forever, Star Wars, Nerf, Play-Doh, and Looney Tunes, to name a few. Prior to joining Patch, Hayes’ executive experience includes posts at Spin Master Toys, Sababa Toys, Warner Bros. Toys, and Kenner/Hasbro.

Stone America Signs Stall & Dean

Stone America Licensing announced that it has been appointed as the worldwide licensing agent by America’s sports and athletic brand, Stall & Dean (S&D).

Established in 1898 in Brockton, Mass., Stall & Dean acquired the reputation for reliable, high grade merchandise at consistently fair prices. Referred to as the “athletic clothier and equipment manufacturer of
America,” Stall & Dean was the premier athletic company producing quality clothing and equipment in all sporting fields and, for such greats as Babe Ruth and Bronko Nagurski.

S&D outfitted the original six member teams of the 1930s National Hockey League, and have since clothed Hall of Fame athletes from a variety of sports, including Ted Williams and Ty Cobb. Currently, you can find celebrities and athletes alike sporting fresh looks from the athletic brand, including Lebron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Jay-Z, and Kanye West.

Stone America will offer manufacturers and retailers the opportunity to license authentic performance apparel, fashion apparel, sporting equipment and a full array of gifts & novelties utilizing Stall & Dean’s deep library of artwork and trademarks.

Scented Candles for Mars-Branded Candies to Debut

Mars Retail Group announced a new licensing agreement with Star Brite Illuminations, a division of Star Candle LLC. Star Brite will produce candles that reflect the playful scents and personality of the M&M’s brand characters as well as Starburst and Skittles brands. Star Brite unveiled the new, licensed candles in mid-March at the International Home & Housewares Show in Chicago. The products are expected to be available nationwide at major retailers this June.

Vamplets to Host Blood Drive at Licensing Show

Vamplets (a line of plush Vampyres from the company Vamplets) is teaming up with Licensing International Expo to host a blood drive during Licensing Show to benefit the Los Angeles Blood Bank.