aNb Media News, October 23, 2014

Build-A-Bear Workshop, Macy’s Team for Holiday Shop-in-Shops

Build-A-Bear Workshop announced a strategic partnership with Macy’s to open licensed shop-in-shop locations in select major markets in anticipation of the 2014 holiday season. Build-A-Bear Workshop will bring its interactive retail experience to Macy’s with the opening of five locations within leading Macy’s retail stores including Herald Square in New York City. Build-A-Bear will also be showcased in Macy’s Santaland at select stores and will again feature a themed float in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

This partnership with Macy’s advances the company’s objectives to add non-traditional retail locations and increase its brand reach to new consumers. The shop-in-shops will encourage families to start new holiday traditions by customizing proprietary Build-A-Bear products as well as the hottest licensed properties including Disney’s Frozen and Marvel’s superheroes.

The shop-in-shops will be located within Macy’s Herald Square (New York City, NY); State Street (Chicago, Ill.); Center City (Philadelphia, Pa.), Union Square (San Francisco, Calif.), and South Coast Plaza (Costa Mesa, Calif.) locations.

These Build-A-Bear shop-in-shops are scheduled to open by early November.

Yahoo Debuts New Online Hub for Parenting

Yahoo launched Yahoo Parenting on October 23. The new digital magazine will share honest stories, relatable anecdotes, trusted advice, and the latest news to help parents of all kinds raise a happy and healthy family, according to the company.

Lindsay Powers, editorial director of Yahoo Parenting, discussed the goals of the new parenting online hub on Tumblr, another division of Yahoo.

“When I became a mom, I was bombarded with information and wanted an authoritative voice to find out everything I needed to know,” says Powers. “With Yahoo Parenting, we’ve created that place. My vision for Yahoo Parenting is to share stories about real families from all walks of life and answer the questions that keep you up at night – all in a supportive, judgment-free zone.”

Yahoo Parenting will cover parenting trends and issues through images and original video content. This will include parent survival tips, advice for raising a “baby genius,” and serve as a forum for parents to share their own experiences. Veteran parenting columnist and Yahoo News Senior National Correspondent Lisa Belkin will also lend her voice through essays and investigative stories.

Disney Announces New 2016 Animated Film: Moana

Walt Disney Animation Studios has announced plans for a brand new animated film called Moana, set to hit theaters in late 2016.

From the creators of Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and The Princess and the Frog, Ron Clements and Jon Musker, comes the story of Moana, aspirited teenager on an impossible mission to fulfill her ancestors’ quest. The film is set in the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, and Moana, a born navigator, sets sail in search of a fabled island. During her journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, underworlds, and ancient folklore.

“Moana is indomitable, passionate, and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself,” Musker says. “She’s the kind of character we all root for, and we can’t wait to introduce her to audiences.”

ASTRA Announces Plans for Neighborhood Toy Store Day

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) has announced that hundreds of independent toy retailers in the U.S. and Canada will mark Neighborhood Toy Store Day with special in-store events and activities on Saturday, November 8, 2014.

Neighborhood Toy Store Day is an annual ASTRA event that occurs on the second Saturday in November. It is designed to help independent toy retailers spotlight attention on the quality and play value of specialty toys, plus the advantages of shopping at locally owned toy stores.

ASTRA retailers create activities around Neighborhood Toy Store Day that will engage their customers and communities. ASTRA supports retailers by providing professionally designed, downloadable posters; post cards; ad slicks; and other images along with draft emails; social media posts; and press releases that retailers can use to promote their store.

“The event is about growing the specialty toy industry for all the retailers, manufacturers, reps and everyone else who depend on moms and dads and grandparents and others to buy children’s toys at independent stores,” says Kathleen McHugh, ASTRA president. “Our members are creating fun, appealing events that fit their local market with the goal of drawing customers into their stores at the very beginning of the holiday season so toy buyers can see first hand what the neighborhood toy store has to offer.”

Jakks Reports Q3 2014 Results

Jakks Pacific reported results for the company’s third quarter ended September 30, 2014.

Net sales for the third quarter of 2014 increased to $349.4 million, up 12 percent from net sales of $310.9 million reported in the comparable period in 2013. Reported net income for the third quarter increased 16 percent to $44.1 million, or $1.03 per diluted share. This compares to reported net income for 2013 of $36.6 million, or $1.11 per diluted share.

Net sales for the nine months ending September 30, 2014 increased 12 percent to $556.0 million compared to $495.2 million in 2013. Reported net income for the nine-month period was $18.7 million, or $0.61 per diluted share. This compares to a net loss for the first nine months of 2013 of $37.8 million, or $1.73 per diluted share.

Stephen Berman, president and CEO, Jakks Pacific, says in a statement that, “Strong sales, particularly of our new Frozen Snow Glow Elsa doll and Light Up Musical dresses, contributed to our improved third quarter results. We are also pleased with the great performance of our Disguise Halloween offerings, Nintendo plush and figure products, and licensed large-scale figures such as Star Wars, to name just a few.

“We recently completed our Fall Toy Preview meetings and are pleased with the enthusiastic response from retailers, licensors and other industry partners to our 2015 product line-up, which will feature more of the biggest licenses in children’s entertainment as well as unique, innovative products. We look forward to returning JAKKS to profitability as we wrap up a successful 2014 and look forward to a promising year in 2015.”

2014 Guidance

The company currently expects increased net sales for the full year of 2014 to be in the range of $750 million to $760 million, an increase from its previously issued guidance of net sales in the range of $660 million to $670 million, with earnings guidance now in the range of $0.64 to $0.67 per diluted share. The company’s previous reported earnings guidance was in the range of $0.20 to $0.30 per diluted share. Excluding the second quarter restructuring charge of $1.2 million, EBITDA is now expected to be in the range of $51 million to $53 million, an increase from the previous EBITDA guidance in the range of $43 million to $45 million.

Working Capital

As of September 30, 2014, Jakks’s working capital was $246.9 million, including cash and equivalents and marketable securities of $88.8 million, compared to working capital of $195.2 million including cash and equivalents and marketable securities of $51.7 million as of September 30, 2013.