aNb Media News, November 30, 2010

Store Check: Black Friday Weekend Madness

It all started on Thanksgiving night. Driving home to Brooklyn from Thanksgiving dinner in Northern New Jersey, we passed a Toys “R” Us on Route 4. People were lined up at 9:40pm waiting for the store to open.

Overall, the stores in the New York City area (where the aNb Media staff resides) were hopping this weekend. Buyers were searching for bargains and there were plenty of bargains to be had. As our team navigated the stores, there were some fairly obvious observations. Toys “R” Us bought deeper than the other retailers, and, as a result, it currently has the largest inventory of the top 100 toys. TRU still has stock of many toys that can’t be found elsewhere. Target’s toy department is the biggest we’ve ever seen, and they bought more inventory than in past years. Kmart looked good. It was solidly stocked with the hot items. Walmart looked very small compared to the other toy departments. However, Walmart’s Christmas Shop featuring toys is scheduled to open in the next week. We’ll keep you posted on how it looks.

We could not find the following items in stores:

  • Squinkies—except for a large 100 count exclusive at TRU—from Blip Toys
  • Monster High Doll Assortment—from Mattel
  • Video Girl Barbie—from Mattel
  • Lalaloopsy—from MGA Entertainment
  • Sing-a-Ma-Jigs—from Mattel

Now that the Harry Potter movie opened, Harry Potter LEGO is selling very well. We couldn’t find any construction sets or the LEGO Hogwarts game. Over the past two weeks, Beyblade got hot and is selling well. Target blew through all its Zoobles and other retailers are also having success with the line. FinFin from WowWee is another item that is selling out.

The educational aisle is hot. V.Reader, Leapster Explorer, and iXL were all in short supply. We expect them to all be sold out within the next two weeks. What’s the hottest license out there? Disney Princess! It is selling everywhere. The Princess & Me line (from Jakks Pacific) was nearly sold out in the TRUs we visited. We did note that Aurora (know to most as Sleeping Beauty) is the least popular princess. She may need to hire a publicist to compete with the others.

Walmart’s marketing team put out the following message to the media. Here are Walmart’s top five selling toys offered at midnight as Thanksgiving night turned into Black Friday morning.

  1. Hot Wheels10-Pack Vehicles—$5
  2. Zhu Zhu Pets—$4
  3. 1:24 Radio-Controlled New Bright Vehicle—$5
  4. Barbie—$10
  5. SwitchKix Scooter—$12

Walmart’s top five selling electronics offered at 5am on Black Friday

  1. Emerson 32-inch LCD HDTV—$198
  2. Sansui 19-inch LCD—$98
  3. Kodak Camera—$59
  4. Nintendo DS Lite—$89
  5. HP 15.6 Laptop—$298

Rite Aid is offering Video Values. The December program has 75-plus videos with more than $140 in savings. Watch the video

Here is something of note that was overlooked in the Black Friday Madness. Disney’s Tangled has a domestic box office of more than $68 million as of Sunday, November 28. Add in another $13.8 million in foreign results and the global total is nearly $82 million. The film opened on November 24.

This year’s Black Friday weekend showed that roughly 212 million shoppers visited a store or website over the weekend, according to the National Retail Federation, which is an increase of 8.7 percent over last year. The NRF surveyed 4,306 people who reported spending an average of $365.34 from Thursday through Saturday. This is up from last year’s spending of $343.31 over this same period.

According to the survey, the number of people who began their Black Friday shopping at midnight tripled this year from 3.3 percent last year to 9.5 percent in 2010. We can assume it’s because more stores were open at midnight this year than last year.

The NRF notes that by 4am nearly 24 percent of Black Friday shoppers were already at the stores. Thanksgiving Day openings have also been a boon to the industry, as the number of people who shop on Thanksgiving—both online and in stores—has doubled over the past five years, from 10.3 million in 2005 to 22.3 million in 2010. Again, these numbers are up because more stores are opening on Thanksgiving than in year’s past.

As for the toy industry, we expect to see top 100 SKUs out of stock or very difficult to find by December 10.

What did you experience this Black Friday weekend? Were you out shopping? Send us any feedback or comments.

Jakks and Microsoft for Kinectimals

Jakks Pacific, Inc., announced a licensing agreement with Microsoft to design and manufacture interactive plush toys—beginning with a King Cheetah and Maltese Tiger—that integrate with the Kinectimals video game for Kinect for Xbox 360. In addition, Jakks will produce a mainline plush assortment, which is expected to be sold at mass retailers in the U.S. starting in spring 2011 and is slated to feature five unique plush animals in the first wave.

Limited collector’s editions of the Kinectimals game packaged with a seven-inch plush toy are now available at select retailers around the globe. In the U.S., Toys “R” Us will exclusively sell the King Cheetah limited collector’s edition and GameStop will exclusively carry the Maltese Tiger limited collector’s edition. Both are expected to sell for $59.99.

MEGA Brands’ Need for Speed Line

MEGA Brands, Inc., announced that it has entered into a global multi-year licensing agreement with Electronic Arts, Inc., to develop construction toys based on Need for Speed, the racing video game franchise.

MEGA Bloks Need for Speed construction toy sets will combine the engaging and immersive content of the franchise with the core play pattern of building vehicles. Launching summer 2011, the MEGA Bloks Need for Speed construction toy line will appeal to building fans and collectors alike with authentic vehicles and playsets.

Need for Speed, from EA, is a global brand and with 17 titles and more than 110 million copies sold worldwide.