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By McClatchy Tribune | December 12, 2008
HACKENSACK, N.J. - KB Toys Inc., a once-thriving toy seller that has been in failing financial health for the past decade, declared "game over" yesterday, filing for bankruptcy protection and telling the court it plans to liquidate all of its stores. KB blamed the difficult economy for the filing, but toy industry experts said wrong decisions by the retailer hastened its demise. It shifted its focus to mall-based stores, saddling itself with high rents just as shopping-center traffic was dropping, it stopped selling video game consoles and it moved its merchandise mix away from hot toys and toward closeouts.
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BUSINESS
By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun | December 10, 2010
There may not be a hot toy craze that has parents fighting in the aisles this holiday season, but that's not stopping retailers from going after the market more aggressively than ever. Retailers are filling their shelves with traditional toys such as board games, building sets and dolls — and not just electronics — an expansion that comes after a tumultuous period in the industry that saw a decline in sales, intense price competition, bankruptcies and the death of the once-top competitor KB Toys.
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BUSINESS
By Andrew Ratner and Andrew Ratner,SUN STAFF | January 25, 2002
The hottest new toy in America isn't a Barbie doll or an action figure or even a Harry Potter novelty. It's the equivalent of a Palm Pilot for folks barely old enough to tie their shoes. A personal digital assistant for children ages 4 and up called Pixter has flown off toy store shelves and been feverishly pursued on Internet auctions. The Toy Industry Association Inc. ranked the $50 retail item as the top-selling new toy by dollar sales in November, the most recent figure available from the New York-based trade group.
BUSINESS
By Sandra M. Jones and Sandra M. Jones,Tribune Newspapers | September 15, 2009
Forget price wars. When it comes to selling toys this holiday, it's real estate that matters. Just look at Toys "R" Us. The Wayne, N.J.-based toy seller is barreling into the holiday season by adding 1 million square feet of toy-selling space from October to January under the name Holiday Express. The roughly 340 shops are set to make their debut in early October nationwide inside 260 Babies "R" Us superstores and at 80 malls. The mall stores will operate as "pop-up" locations, taking advantage of the growing number of vacant storefronts left in the wake of the recession.
BUSINESS
By Sandra M. Jones and Sandra M. Jones,Tribune Newspapers | September 15, 2009
Forget price wars. When it comes to selling toys this holiday, it's real estate that matters. Just look at Toys "R" Us. The Wayne, N.J.-based toy seller is barreling into the holiday season by adding 1 million square feet of toy-selling space from October to January under the name Holiday Express. The roughly 340 shops are set to make their debut in early October nationwide inside 260 Babies "R" Us superstores and at 80 malls. The mall stores will operate as "pop-up" locations, taking advantage of the growing number of vacant storefronts left in the wake of the recession.
NEWS
By Peter Jensen and Peter Jensen,Sun Staff | April 15, 2001
From Beijing to your local cineplex, spies and espionage are big right now. Only one organization had the intelligence capabilities (not to mention James Bond-like luck) to see this coming: the toy industry. Been inside your neighborhood toy store lately? There's no shortage of spy-spawned toys on the shelf -- from micro-cameras and fingerprint kits to eavesdropping microphones and code books. Until a few months ago, they might have looked like charming anachronisms in the post-Cold War era. But that was before veteran FBI agent Robert Hanssen was accused of being a Russian spy, or 50 Russian diplomats were kicked out of the U.S., or a Navy surveillance plane with 24 Americans on board was held by the Chinese.
FEATURES
By Eileen Ogintz and Eileen Ogintz,Contributing Writer | November 29, 1992
Parents can heave a sigh of relief. They need never again hear "When are we going to be there?" from the back seat. At least that's what toy manufacturers want them to believe. And they're staking millions on the claim.Whether children are 2 or 12, 6 or 16, whether they like singing songs, building with LEGO bricks, drawing or playing games -- electronic or otherwise -- the toy industry has a travel toy to keep them busy and happy en route to anywhere -- without breaking the bank. Many retail for less than $10, though some of the electronic ones are much pricier.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service | December 20, 1993
Maybe it was all that talk during the 1992 presidential election about rebuilding the infrastructure, but construction toys have been a surprise hit during this holiday season.The reliable snap-together sets of recent years, Lego and Duplo, Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys, have been joined by something old, the Erector Set, which is returning to the United States after an absence of 10 years, and something new, an elaborate set of plastic building parts that go by the name K'nex.The toy makers and toy stores say both those products are among the season's biggest hits, along with plastic figurines modeled on the television characters called Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and all kinds of Barbie dolls.
BUSINESS
By Ashley Surdin and Ashley Surdin,Los Angeles Times | February 18, 2007
Odra Heitmann hauled the heavy package labeled "Dora's Talking Kitchen" off a Toys `R' Us shelf and set it on the floor for a better look. Splashed on the box was a promo: "Says Phrases in English and Spanish!" That sealed the deal for Heitmann, who scooped up the gift for her 1-year-old niece Ashley. "I made a big mistake by not teaching my kids Spanish," said Heitmann, 37, recently at the Burbank, Calif., store. "I'm not going to make the same mistake with my niece." Say hello and hola to the latest fad - bilingual toys.
BUSINESS
By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun | December 10, 2010
There may not be a hot toy craze that has parents fighting in the aisles this holiday season, but that's not stopping retailers from going after the market more aggressively than ever. Retailers are filling their shelves with traditional toys such as board games, building sets and dolls — and not just electronics — an expansion that comes after a tumultuous period in the industry that saw a decline in sales, intense price competition, bankruptcies and the death of the once-top competitor KB Toys.
BUSINESS
By McClatchy Tribune | December 12, 2008
HACKENSACK, N.J. - KB Toys Inc., a once-thriving toy seller that has been in failing financial health for the past decade, declared "game over" yesterday, filing for bankruptcy protection and telling the court it plans to liquidate all of its stores. KB blamed the difficult economy for the filing, but toy industry experts said wrong decisions by the retailer hastened its demise. It shifted its focus to mall-based stores, saddling itself with high rents just as shopping-center traffic was dropping, it stopped selling video game consoles and it moved its merchandise mix away from hot toys and toward closeouts.
BUSINESS
By Ashley Surdin and Ashley Surdin,Los Angeles Times | February 18, 2007
Odra Heitmann hauled the heavy package labeled "Dora's Talking Kitchen" off a Toys `R' Us shelf and set it on the floor for a better look. Splashed on the box was a promo: "Says Phrases in English and Spanish!" That sealed the deal for Heitmann, who scooped up the gift for her 1-year-old niece Ashley. "I made a big mistake by not teaching my kids Spanish," said Heitmann, 37, recently at the Burbank, Calif., store. "I'm not going to make the same mistake with my niece." Say hello and hola to the latest fad - bilingual toys.
BUSINESS
By Andrea K. Walker and Andrea K. Walker,SUN STAFF | February 1, 2004
Network television rejected Jim Henson in the mid-1970s when he pitched his Muppets for a regular series, even though his Sesame Street puppets had become a household name on public television. "Why would adults want to watch that?" he was told, recalled Henson's former publicist Arthur Novell. So Henson shopped the Muppets to the United Kingdom, where they became an instant hit before they found their way back to the United States and won their own TV show. Their latest starring role will be today, in a commercial during Super Bowl XXXVIII on CBS. The question of whether they appeal to adults will be answered again before 90 million TV viewers and at an estimated cost of $2.3 million per 30 seconds.
NEWS
By Peter Jensen and Peter Jensen,Sun Staff | December 1, 2002
Everything old is new again, at least when it comes to toys. Take a stroll through the average toy store this holiday season and you may notice a theme -- call it deja vu with a twist. Traditional playthings dominate the shelves, but these aren't your parents' toys. They have computer chips and sound effects, gizmos and doohickeys. But underneath it all, they're an awful lot like what kids played with a generation ago. "We're in a whole retro trend," says Maria Weiskott, editor-in-chief of Playthings Magazine, which covers the toy industry.
BUSINESS
By Andrew Ratner and Andrew Ratner,SUN STAFF | January 25, 2002
The hottest new toy in America isn't a Barbie doll or an action figure or even a Harry Potter novelty. It's the equivalent of a Palm Pilot for folks barely old enough to tie their shoes. A personal digital assistant for children ages 4 and up called Pixter has flown off toy store shelves and been feverishly pursued on Internet auctions. The Toy Industry Association Inc. ranked the $50 retail item as the top-selling new toy by dollar sales in November, the most recent figure available from the New York-based trade group.
NEWS
By Lini S. Kadaba and Lini S. Kadaba,Knight Ridder / Tribune | November 11, 2001
The heroics of everyday folks -- the firefighter, the police officer, the rescue worker -- have inspired Americans in the days since Sept. 11. Those touched include the littlest of Americans, said Temple University psychologist Frank Farley, an expert on heroes. "Now, there is an enormous affection for 911 heroism and heroes," he said. Nowhere is the popularity of the men and women on the front lines of public safety more evident than at the toy store, where shelves are overflowing with hero dolls and their rescue gear.
NEWS
By Peter Jensen and Peter Jensen,Sun Staff | December 1, 2002
Everything old is new again, at least when it comes to toys. Take a stroll through the average toy store this holiday season and you may notice a theme -- call it deja vu with a twist. Traditional playthings dominate the shelves, but these aren't your parents' toys. They have computer chips and sound effects, gizmos and doohickeys. But underneath it all, they're an awful lot like what kids played with a generation ago. "We're in a whole retro trend," says Maria Weiskott, editor-in-chief of Playthings Magazine, which covers the toy industry.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Laura Griffin and Laura Griffin,Dallas Morning News | September 13, 1999
A few years ago, when Janese Swanson and her daughter, Jackie, then 8, searched the Internet for the word girl, they came up with nothing but pornography. At the same time, Swanson was doing doctoral research on gender differences and the use of technology. She came across a troubling study: Both boys and girls feel that boys are valued more by society. The computer programmer and former educator set out right then to change that. With a few friends and a fistful of credit cards, she started Girl Tech, first with a Web site for girls ages 8 to 14, and then with technological toys and gadgets geared toward girls.
NEWS
By Peter Jensen and Peter Jensen,Sun Staff | April 15, 2001
From Beijing to your local cineplex, spies and espionage are big right now. Only one organization had the intelligence capabilities (not to mention James Bond-like luck) to see this coming: the toy industry. Been inside your neighborhood toy store lately? There's no shortage of spy-spawned toys on the shelf -- from micro-cameras and fingerprint kits to eavesdropping microphones and code books. Until a few months ago, they might have looked like charming anachronisms in the post-Cold War era. But that was before veteran FBI agent Robert Hanssen was accused of being a Russian spy, or 50 Russian diplomats were kicked out of the U.S., or a Navy surveillance plane with 24 Americans on board was held by the Chinese.
NEWS
By Tami Luhby and Tami Luhby,NEWSDAY | November 16, 2000
Underpromise and overdeliver - that's what online toy retailers plan to do this holiday in hopes of erasing last year's missteps from consumers' minds. "There is a new attitude this year," said David Schatsky, research director at Jupiter Research in Manhattan. "Online retailers won't disappoint customers as they did last year." The 1999 holiday season was the first real Christmas for the online toy industry. Lured by advertising blitzes, offers of discounts and free shipping, and the promise of avoiding crowded stores and long lines at the register, consumers flocked to Web-based toy retailers.
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