Today LEGO released its annual report for 2018. And while 2017 was not a good year for the Danish company, 2018 saw LEGO back on track. LEGO could buck the overall trend in the toy industry, which shrank in several key markets around the globe, and both market share and revenue grew in 2018. Much of this growth came from the Chinese Toy Market, but LEGO also grew in the USA and Western Europe. Revenue was up 4% in 2018, to 36.4 billion DKK (about 5.5 billion USD). The operating profit of 10.8 billion DKK ($1.65 billion USD) was also up 4%. It seems LEGO managed to deal much better with TRU’s demise, in contrast to Hasbro or Mattel. What is of special interest to Star Wars fans is that LEGO named these themes as their top sellers in 2018 (in no particular order): LEGO City, LEGO Technic, LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Friends and LEGO NINJAGO. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that Star Wars grew in 2018, but it was most certainly still a top performing theme for LEGO! With these numbers LEGO easily outperformed Hasbro in 2018.
Diamond Select Toys is about to finalize the purchase of several Gentle Giant assets. DST will take on all the existing licensed toylines, they will also take over manufacturing and distribution for most of Gentle Giant’s lines. Gentle Giant’s collector club will continue operations. You can read more details about the deal on the official Gentle Giant Ltd. website!
Earlier today Hasbro released their numbers for Q4/2018 and the full year 2018. The results are not great. Hasbro faced some serious headwind in the past year. Click through for all the relevant numbers and results!
Earlier today Disney released their Q1 2019 numbers. Disney’s fiscal year begins at the end of September, so their Q1 2019 numbers are actually for the 2018 holiday season. I will just make this quick, no detailed charts etc since Hasbro is due to release their numbers this Friday and I will go more in depth here. Star Wars was brought up in the Disney earnings report and please click through for the details. And yes, it’s always the darkest just before dawn.
Good news everyone! Despite the absence of Toys R Us and what some analysts feared would lead to a double digit decline in toy sales in the USA, the toy market in the USA merely saw a decline of 2% in 2018. According to the NPD Group the toy market in the USA was 21.6 billion USD in 2018, in 2017 sales were somewhat higher with 22 billion USD. But it’s getting even better! Action figure sales were up 10% in 2018! What, you have a frowny face? Why is that? You want to know about Star Wars? Well, click through to learn some more!
The Kids License Monitor is released every three months and gives insight into the popularity of licensed toys among kids in three European core markets: the UK, France and Germany. These three countries are also the core legacy markets for Star Wars in Europe, where Star Wars has always been very popular. JTA had an article about the previous License Monitor. But now the report for the fourth quarter of 2018 has been released. Time to look at how and if things have changed. Where does Star Wars rank among kids aged 4-12 in the UK, France and Germany? Click through for more details!
The NPD Group released some numbers for the UK toy market in 2018. And things are quite disappointing. Year on year the toy market in the UK shrank by 7%. According to the NPD Group the toy markets in the USA, France, Spain and Australia also saw a decline. Click through for some more details!
Update: article updated with more data and charts for better visualization.
While we are still a few weeks away before Hasbro will release their numbers for the 4th quarter and full year there are already some early numbers and estimates that paint a rather grim picture for Hasbro, especially when it comes to action figures and here especially Star Wars. Click through for some very interesting numbers that may be reason for concern.
US toy company Mattel suffered quite a loss earlier this week. Warner Brothers decided not to extend the DC Comics boys’ action toys license with Mattel and instead gave the license to Canadian toy manufacturer Spin Master, beginning in 2020. Spin Master is a much smaller company compared to Mattel, their revenue in 2017 was 1.55 billion USD compared to Mattel’s 4.88 billion USD (Hasbro made 5.21 billion USD). You may know Spin Master from toys such as Air Hogs (there were a few Star Wars Air Hogs) and the more recent Hatchimals. Now, why exactly is Mattel losing most of its DC Comics license news on a Star Wars website? Let’s click through for a discussion and also for some speculation!
Each quarter the iconkids & youth GmbH publishes its “Kid’s License Monitor” in Europe, which monitors the popularity of various toy licenses in three of the European key toy markets: the UK, France and Germany. Kids ages 4-12 are the target of this survey. So, how much do they like Star Wars toys? Click through to find out!
A recent article on Seeking Alpha shows a somewhat disturbing trend. Several national buyers of key retailers across several international markets were asked how Star Wars action figures rank in their sales statistics. And the results should be cause for concern for Hasbro and Disney. Click through for more details!
The USA and China are currently engaged in a trade war, it’s not the taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems that is in question, the US administration is of the opinion that China is taking unfair advantage of free trade, so more and more imported goods from China are subject to trade tariffs. What would happen should the US administration impose a 25% tariff on virtually anything produced in China? Including toys? How would and could Hasbro react? What effects would consumers feel and what scenarios are there? Click through for details!
Whenever you want to make a Star Wars toy, you need to have a license. This should be pretty common knowledge. Lucasfilm and Disney protect their intellectual property and whoever wants to make anything based on Star Wars needs a licensing agreement. Now, these agreements are usually secret, other than some very basic facts, no specific details are released, so it’s usually very difficult to know how much money is involved.
While digging through the internet I was able to find a (somewhat redacted) licensing agreement between Hasbro and Lucasfilm from October 1997, an agreement that was extended several times in the meantime until 2020. And while redacted, it is still very informative, so informative that I think anyone should click through now to read all the details and to finally find out how much Hasbro is paying for that Star Wars license! You may be very surprised. Also, a very interesting question will be answered: who actually owns anything Hasbro makes? So, click through for everything you need to know about Hasbro’s Star Wars license!
While the retail apocalypse is a much discussed topic, with the disappearance of TRU in the USA and UK the most memorable blow to brick and mortar toy retailers in the past few months, the toy market still saw very strong growth in the first half of 2018 in most markets, including the USA which posted really strong numbers. And one of the leading trends of the global toy market? It’s collectables and youth electronics! How did action figures fare? And where exactly is Star Wars? It used to be the number 1 toy property worldwide not so long ago. But not anymore. Click through for more details!
Website Retail Dive reports that the auction for the Canadian branch of Toys R Us was canceled on Monday, since there were no other qualified bids for the Canadian Toys R Us stores other than the $235 million “stalking horse” offer by Fairfax Financial. Once the deal is approved Fairfax Financial will own the 83 Canadian TRU stores.
Irish Toy Retailer Smyths will acquire the Toys R Us Stores in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This deal includes 93 TRU stores and 4 online shops. There are also some new developments for TRU in the USA, Canada, Asia and Australia! Click through for more details!
Update: Smyths will rebrand the TRU stores. Details added to the article!
If you’ve been having trouble locating the newest Solo toys at your closest TARGET brick and mortar, you may not be surprised to learn that when given the DPCI a TARGET employee informed me that the Solo product launch was dated for a 4/15 reset, which is after the 4/13 street date. Patience is the way of the Jedi, friends, and we may have to wait a couple days yet…
As our childhood continues to whiddle away, another nail in the coffin is hammered in. Toysrus.com is no longer active and the store locater site “goodbuytoysrus.com” makes it’s debut. Excuse me while I go cry in an active corner of the internet…
Toys R Us has released documents, giving details for the purchase of the Canadian equity sale. Click through to read more about the Toys R Us Canada auction!
A captain always goes down with his ship. You can read the full story here.
MGA Entertainment CEO Isaac Larian is still serious about his efforts to buy up to 400 Toys R Us stores in the USA and to keep the name alive. He and several other unnamed investors have already pledged $200 million. But they need much more money to actually have a chance. Larian needs to raise another $800 million. How to do that? Click through to learn more!
USA today posted a new article outlining the liquidation plan for the closing specialty toy store.
LEGO released its full year results for 2017 earlier today. And after more than a decade of constant growth LEGO saw its first revenue decline in 2017. Revenue was 5.8 billion USD, which is 8% less than 2016. Net profit was 1.7 billion USD, a 17% decrease.
This is what LEGO had to say about their Star Wars line: “LEGO Star Wars products, released in the second half of 2017, performed in line with expectations.”
Make of that what you will. The question is, what were their expectations? I think it’s safe to assume that LEGO Star Wars probably saw some decline, which would be in line for the overall trend for Star Wars toys in 2017.
Did you buy any of the TLJ LEGO sets last year?
Toys R Us UK is filing for insolvency. After the company failed to find a buyer and a 15 million pounds VAT bill was due on Tuesday, Toys R Us UK went into administration today. (more….)
Jakks Pacific, known by most here for making large scale Star Wars figures, reports a net loss for 2017 of 83.1 million USD.
2017 saw fewer sales for Star Wars, Frozen and Tsum Tsum. Net sales for the fiscal year were 613.1 million USD, which is 13.1% less than in 2016. This is in line with the overall downward trend for Star Wars toys in 2017. Jakks Pacific cites various reasons for the loss but singles out the TRU bankruptcy in the US as a contributing factor and less interest in some film licenses.
Have you bought a Jakks Pacific Star Wars figure in 2017?
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