Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Pink iPod helps lead hot toy parade


Check Out how the iPod finally made it into the Toys “R” Us hot toys list for the toysrus.jpgholidays.

This holiday season, Apple’s pink 8 GB iPod nano, Nintendo’s Wii Fit and the Fisher-Price Sesame Street Elmo Live toy are topping the list of most sought-after toys.

Even though iPods have topped holiday wish lists for years, Toys “R” Us said this is the first time it has included the portable media player on its hot toys list. Late perhaps, but a company spokesman said in an e-mail that the iPod nano in pink makes it “doubly hot” and that Toys “R” Us thinks the iPod appeal is starting to reach kids.

The main question though is, whether it will come loaded with Miley Cyrus tunes?

Check Out Line: Mattel Wins Round 1 in Doll Brawl


braatz1.jpgCheck out the fun and games at Mattel.
The maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels toy cars posted better-than expected quarterly earnings Friday.
But the real boon for the company was its victory over Bratz doll maker MGA Entertainment in a copyright infringement lawsuit.
A federal jury found that Carter Bryant, who created the popular Bratz dolls had come up with the characters and name while he was still under contract as a designer for Barbie at Mattel.
Mattel is seeking huge damages and an injunction to stop MGA from selling Bratz, the multi-ethnic, big-headed dolls that have cut into Barbie sales. MGA has argued that the dolls themselves were different than Carter’s drawings and were made by MGA designers … an issue that will be a big part of the damages phase of the trial.
So the two companies will keep fighting over their dolls.
Also in the basket:
Talk of change atop Carrefour (WWD, subscription required)
U.S. regulators lift tomato Salmonella warning 
(Reuters photo)

Check Out Line: Toyland bottomline


barbie.jpgCheck out earnings in toyland… for one company at least.
Hasbro posted a better-than- expected first-quarter profit on Monday, with sales rising 13 percent. Meanwhile, Mattel had a loss in the first quarter , hurt by legal expenses, higher costs and lower sales of its Fisher-Price products.
Oh, and Barbie is sagging too, with that Mattel doll line posting  12 percent drop in sales in the United States.
Now, it’s hard to draw a lot from the first quarter in the toy business. After the holiday season, many people often take a break from buying toys.
But Hasbro had success with its Transformers and Littlest Pet Shop lines.
Mattel is hoping price increases in June will help offset rising costs.
Meanwhile, the competition really heats up again in coming months as the summer movie season hits. Will “Speed Racer” and “Batman: The Dark Knight” win the day for Mattel over Hasbro-linked “Iron Man” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?”
At Mattel, they have to be singing “Go Speed Racer, go!”
Also in the basket:
Reversing Field, Macy’s Goes Local (WSJ)
Weak dollar takes toll on European beauty exports (WWD)