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jerryking : toys   40

Mattel turns to Hollywood to boost brands
September 7, 2018 | Financial Times | Alistair Gray in New York YESTERDAY.
Mattel  Hollywood  brands  toys  entertainment  films  movies 
september 2018 by jerryking
Toys ‘R’ Us Case Is Test of Private Equity in Age of Amazon
MARCH 15, 2018 | The New York Times | By MICHAEL CORKERY.

The reality is that Toys “R” Us, which announced on Thursday that it would shutter or sell all of its stores in the United States, never had much chance at a turnaround.

For over a decade, Toys “R” Us had been drowning in $5 billion of debt, which its private equity backers had saddled it with. With debt payments siphoning off cash every year, Toys “R” Us could not properly invest in its worn-out suburban stores or outdated website. Sales plummeted, as Amazon captured more children’s desires — and their parents’ wallets — for Star Wars Legos and Paw Patrol recycling trucks.

Toys “R” Us is the latest failure of financial engineering, albeit one that could portend a potentially more ominous outlook for private equity in the digital era.....Most buyouts tend to work the same way. A private equity firm takes over a troubled company with the goal of sprucing up the strategy, cutting costs and overhauling the business over three or five years. But they often load up a company with debt to pay for the deal, which can prove problematic if the profits do not perk up.

In the age of Amazon, that formula can be dangerous. Consumer demands are changing so quickly that heavily indebted companies have trouble reordering their business to adapt and compete with better-funded rivals...... the deterioration of Toys “R” Us from a potential turnaround strategy to the end of an iconic brand — in a matter of months — shows just how difficult it can be for private equity to compete in a rapidly evolving industry. In retailing, Amazon is reordering everything on the store shelf. And children’s changing interest in games and toys, which now encompasses high-end electronics, adds to the complexity.....Enter Amazon. In recent years, the company had started to aggressively expand its toy business, creating a comprehensive, online showroom with low prices at the click of a button. Pressed by Amazon, Walmart also pushed hard into toys, dropping its prices to capture more market share.

Walmart could absorb the price cuts on toys because it makes up the profit on other items. But for Toys “R” Us, a price war on toys and games, its only offerings, was devastating.
private_equity  bankruptcies  toys  digital_economy  Amazon  Wal-Mart  KKR  Bain_Capital  Toys_"R"_Us  financial_engineering  LBOs  buyouts  shifting_tastes  category_killers  price_wars 
march 2018 by jerryking
Toys ‘R’ Us versus Amazon: No contest
September 17, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | BARRIE MCKENNA.

It's a new era all right...The industry is grappling with the relentless onslaught of Amazon and Alibaba, excess retail space, the retreat of department-store mall anchors and intense price competition. Meanwhile, consumers are shifting their spending from things to experiences, including entertainment and dining-out
The harsh reality for Toys "R" Us and other big-box stores is that they aren't indispensable any more as North Americans discover new and different ways to shop. You don't have to schlep to a suburban shopping strip to find the newest Lego set, video game or electronic gadget. Order it online, and you can have it delivered to your door, often for free the next day, at the best price available anywhere.

....retail experts have warned that a tipping point was coming for the industry as more and more shopping moved online. This looks like the year.....Analysts predict that a record 9,000 retail stores will close across the U.S. in 2017. That would eclipse 2016, when roughly 6,200 stores closed....
Retailers have been filing for protection from creditors at a faster pace this year than at any time since the 2008-09 recession. Toys "R" Us joins a long list of famous retail casualties of 2017 in Canada and the U.S., including Sears Canada, The Limited, Wet Seal, BCBG, Payless Shoes, Sports Authority, Gymboree, Aéropostale and American Apparel. And there are still three-plus months to go.....The rise of Amazon is proof that consumers are embracing new ways of buying. The company's North American sales grew five-fold to $80-billion (U.S.) between 2010 and 2016. Half of U.S. households now subscribe to Amazon Prime, a fee-based service that offers free two-day shipping, music and video streaming plus other perks......What's alarming isn't so much the share of shopping that has moved online, but the speed at which it's moved.

Warren Buffett sold off nearly $1-billion worth of Walmart stock earlier this year, explaining that traditional retailing is "too tough" a business in the age of Amazon. "The world has evolved, and it's going to keep evolving, but the speed is increasing," Mr. Buffett said.

Amazon and China's Alibaba won't be the only winners in this new era. A vast array of other businesses feed off the online industry, including shippers and logistics companies, plus a vast network of technology companies, including store platforms (Shopify), analytics companies and app makers.
Amazon  Alibaba  e-commerce  store_closings  Barrie_McKenna  retailers  bricks-and-mortar  toys  Toys_"R"_Us  bankruptcies  brands  Amazon_Prime  home-delivery  accelerated_lifecycles  Warren_Buffett  Wal-Mart  big-box 
september 2017 by jerryking
Lego Hits Brick Wall With Sales, Sheds 8% of Global Workforce - WSJ
By Saabira Chaudhuri
Updated Sept. 5, 2017

........Lego said it would cut roughly 1,400 jobs, with between 500 to 600 of these coming from its Billund, Denmark, headquarters alone. It is also working to reduce layers of management and administration to speed product rollout, which Mr. Knudstorp said can involve 20 teams on average before a product is ready for global launch........
Lego  Danish  toys  layoffs  rollouts 
september 2017 by jerryking
Lego Turns to Digitally-Savvy Dane as Its New CEO - WSJ
By Saabira Chaudhuri
Updated Aug. 10, 2017

Lego named named Niels B. Christiansen, the 51-year-old former boss of Danish industrial group Danfoss A/S, as its new CEO. He replaces Bali Padda, a 61-year-old Brit who in December became Lego’s first non-Danish chief since its foundation in 1932.....The appointment comes as Lego, which employs 18,500 people, grapples with slowing sales growth and competition from smartphone apps and videogames. It is locked in battle with Mattel Inc. to be the world’s largest toy company by sales. For now, Mattel is slightly bigger, with $5.46 billion in revenue last year. Lego sales rose 6% last year to $5.38 billion, following a decade of double-digit growth, after a big marketing push in the U.S. failed to lift stalled sales there......Like rival Mattel, Lego is intensely focused on modernizing its toys for a digital era in which children spend more time on tablet computers and smartphones. The company launched an app in February that functions as a mini-social network, allowing children to share what they build online. It has also created Lego Boost, which combines computer coding with brick play, and is focusing on ways to use smartphones to bridge physical and digital play.

The executive reshuffle comes as arch rival Mattel has also sharpened its focus on technology. Earlier this year it named Margaret Georgiadis, a former president of Americas at Alphabet Inc.’s Google as its new CEO......Mr. Christiansen as having “transformed a traditional industrial company into a technology leader” while at Danfoss. He said the new CEO would look for digital opportunities in everything from sourcing and manufacturing to engaging with consumers and retailers, who are increasingly moving online.
Lego  brands  digital_strategies  Denmark  CEOs  appointments  toys  Mattel  play  product_launches 
august 2017 by jerryking
Toying with success - Western Alumni
Fall 2014
Toying with success
by David Scott August 22, 2014
Spin_Master  Ivey  UWO  alumni  toys  entrepreneur 
september 2014 by jerryking
Spin Master tips for graduates & legal challenges - Western Alumni
 Fall 2014
Spin Master tips for graduates & legal challenges
by David Scott August 22, 2014
toys  alumni  Ivey  UWO 
september 2014 by jerryking
American Girl dolls coming to Canada’s Indigo stores - The Globe and Mail
Marina Strauss - Retailing Reporter

The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Oct. 29 2013

Indigo has been rapidly expanding beyond books to toys and other children’s products along with gifts and home wares to make up for declining book sales in the digital age.

Robert Gibson, an analyst at Octagon Capital, said Indigo will probably test the two American Girl boutiques and then roll out more across Canada – as many as 15 in major urban locations by fiscal 2015. “Because these are big ticket items, we don’t believe they will initially be in every store.”

He predicted that Indigo will drop weak-selling book space and replace it with the American Girl boutique
Marina_Strauss  Indigo  retailers  collectibles  toys  bookstores  new_products 
november 2013 by jerryking
When the Pieces Put Themselves Together - NYTimes.com
July 11, 2012 | NYT |By JENNIFER 8. LEE

Instead of assembly lines, what if manufacturing moved to self-assembly lines?

There is something counterintuitive about seeing toys and furniture that spring together simply when their pieces are shaken around and around.

Doesn’t this go against the principles of entropy we learned in high school science, where order is supposed to dissolve into disorder?

Actually, no. Self-assembly is a well-studied phenomenon on the molecular level — snowflakes, proteins, viruses — and one of the driving forces in nanotechnology. But researchers are taking principles from microbiology and applying them on the macro level — furniture, infrastructure and even buildings for space...Certain principles govern self-assembly. First, there needs to be a blueprint of the ultimate form. Second, the system needs to have forces of attraction that bring together the parts. These can either be magnets or electrostatic forces. Third, error correction has to allow the pieces to “fix” themselves when they assemble in the wrong way. Fourth, an external energy source is needed to activate the assembly. On the molecular level, this is often heat, but on the human scale it can be simple shaking. (It is actually this external energy source that allows self-assembly to seemingly violate the principle of entropy, since entropy is a law that applies only to isolated systems)...Self-assembly is most useful where human hands have difficulty bolting things together — outer space, extreme cold, free fall and deep oceans, he says.
self-assembly  manufacturers  toys  entropy  nanotechnology  error_correction  disorder  human_scale  blueprints 
july 2012 by jerryking
The Recalls’ Aftershocks - New York Times
By LOUISE STORY and DAVID BARBOZA
Published: December 22, 2007
product_recalls  toys  Mattel 
june 2012 by jerryking
Managing product recall risks no child's play for toymakers - ProQuest
Managing product recall risks no child's play for toymakers
Wocjik, Joanne. Business Insurance35. 1 (Jan 1, 2001): 3,20.
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Abstract (summary)

"The paucity of product recall cover-age is directly related to what insurers see as one of the most threatening issues today-an out-of-control tort system," said Bob Hartwig, chief economist at the Insurance Information Institute Inc. in New York.

Indeed, "you have an increase in product liability claims whenever you have a product recall," Mattel's Mr. Pinner said.

But neither product liability insurance nor general liability insurance covers the cost of product recall, Mr. Hartwig pointed out. "So you need an additional policy."
Translate Abstract

Toymakers are finding that product recall insurance coverage is both expensive and scarce, and the market is not expected to improve. Despite recall notices, public warnings and removal of toys from store shelves, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has found that many recalled products that have the potential to injure or kill can still be found in many homes. The CPSC urges parents to take advantage of the "Dangerous Dozen" list of recalled toys. This information campaign is being financed by American International Group Inc.
toys  AIG  CPSC  insurance  Mattel  product_recalls 
june 2012 by jerryking
Toy Recalls Revive Worries for Industry
Nov 9, 2007 |Wall Street Journal pg. B.4 |Nicholas Casey and Ann Zimmerman.
product_recalls  Mattel  toys  Wal-Mart  Target 
june 2012 by jerryking
Product Recalls
Posted on August 29, 2007 | Insurance Scrawl | posted by Marc Mayerson.

Policies today routinely seek to exclude the cost of product-recall expense, which can be staggering and life-threatening to a company — both in terms of cost and perhaps more importantly in reputation of the producer.
blogs  law_firms  product_recalls  Mattel  toys  China  insurance  reputation 
june 2012 by jerryking
Fulfilling a Kid's Dream to Play With Legos All Your Life - WSJ.com
NOVEMBER 17, 2011 | WSJ | By DANIEL MICHAELS.

For Some Grown-Ups, Playing With Legos Is a Serious Business
One Adult Fan Left a Six-Figure Job to Build Models; the $20,000 Apartment.
career_paths  toys  Lego 
november 2011 by jerryking
"Toy Recalls – Is China Really the Problem?"
September 2007 | www.asiapacific.ca | By Hari Bapuji and Paul W. Beamish
product_recalls  toys  China  Ivey 
november 2011 by jerryking
FT.com / Person in the news - Too much safety in the playroom
By Patti Waldmeir

Published: November 27 2007 19:17 | Last updated: November 27 2007
product_recalls  toys  Mattel 
november 2011 by jerryking
You're not the regulator of me: China gets the blame for this year's wave of recalls—but American industry has been working for years to gut government safety standards | Mother Jones | Find Articles
Mother Jones / Nov-Dec, 2007
You're not the regulator of me: China gets the blame for this year's wave of recalls—but American industry has been working for years to gut government safety standards
by Marla Felcher
product_recalls  toys 
november 2011 by jerryking
How Spin Master learned to play with the giants -
Nov. 01, 2010 | The Globe and Mail | Marina Strauss RETAILING REPORTER.
toys  Spin_Master  Marina_Strauss 
september 2011 by jerryking
The builder who revived a beloved brand brick by brick
Jul 18, 2011 FT. Andrew Ward. Jorgen Vig Knudstorp ; CEO Lego.
as head of the Danish toy maker, he helped restore the fortunes of a
national institution...Knudstorp saw that painful measures were needed
to turn the company around: layoffs, some mfg. was off shored to eastern
Europe & Mexico, and asset sales of theme parks & non-core
products....One of the hardest challenges for any CEO is to get to the
truth of what a biz is doing right & wrong - & to avoid
complacency when things are going well. Don`t dismiss the 1 % who
complain. Listen extra hard to that 1% because they usually represent a
much bigger proportion of silent unhappiness."

Lego tries to get at the truth by basing a large proportion of managers'
bonuses on customer satisfaction surveys of retailers, parents &
children...Knudstorp maintains a wide netwk of global business &
academic contacts from his time at McK and, before that, at biz schools
in Denmark, the UK & US, and describes himself an eclectic reader.
ProQuest  Lego  CEOs  Denmark  Danish  turnarounds  family-owned_businesses  theme_parks  toys  latent  hidden  complacency  customer_satisfaction  McKinsey  dissatisfaction  complaints  unhappiness 
july 2011 by jerryking
Massive toy recall highlights gaps in product-safety legislation
Sep. 30, 2010 Globe and Mail Carly Weeks. Toy manufacturing
giant Fisher-Price failed to tell Health Canada until last week about
serious safety incidents involving products now at the centre of a
massive recall, including children who needed stitches, choked and
suffered other injuries after using the company’s products.

Fisher-Price, Health Canada and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) announced Thursday a recall of nearly 11 million
children’s products, including toddler tricycles, high chairs and toy
cars. More than 400,000 of the products were sold in Canada.
Fisher-Price  product_recalls  legislation  product_safety  toys 
october 2010 by jerryking
Toy recall hurts company's 'green' image
Nov. 24, 2009 | The Globe and Mail | by Carly Weeks
toys  product_recalls  China 
november 2009 by jerryking
Toys to Teach Saving Savvy - WSJ.com
MARCH 18, 2009, | The Wall street Journal| by WILLA PLANK
financial_literacy  children  toys  ufsc 
march 2009 by jerryking
reportonbusiness.com: The building blocks of success
Nov. 26, 2008 G&M column by Diane Jermyn on a Niagara-area
toy maker who uses Web 2.0 to market his home-based business to online
consumers.
Web_2.0  marketing  toys  business  home_based 
february 2009 by jerryking
After the Recalls, Two Toy Stories - WSJ.com
Dec. 21, 2007 WSJ articles by GORDON FAIRCLOUGH on the demise of toy manufacturers in China.
product_recalls  China  toys  manufacturers 
january 2009 by jerryking

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