Toys2Market further expands portfolio with Jeruel

The company will distribute Jeruel Industrial’s range of 3D Crystal Puzzles which will be on show at London Toy Fair in January.

Toys2Market has announce that the company has signed exclusive UK and Ireland distribution of the Jeruel Industrial product range of 3D Crystal Puzzles.

The announcement follows the news earlier this week that the company has secured the direct to retail distribution rights for Traditional Garden Games.

Jeruel’s 3D Crystal Puzzle is a three-dimensional, transparent puzzle which can be put together to create an impressive ornament. The range is available in four sizes: Mini, Regular, Medium and Deluxe – each with their own level of difficulty. The company continues to add to the collection on an ongoing basis, with latest puzzles the Royal Carriage and Frogs released in July this year. Other designs include a unicorn, dog, giraffe, teddy bear and a T Rex.

There is no cutting, no trimming and no gluing involved as the 3D Crystal Puzzle comes in pieces that are ready to be put together easily with no mess and no fuss.

James Triptree, managing director of Toys2Market, commented: “This is a unique range of 3D Crystal Puzzles; it really is an exciting range. Once you have completed the puzzles, they are worthy of a spot on the mantelpiece.”

Jeremy Pateman, general sales manager of Toys2Market added: “The products and packaging of the 3D Crystal Puzzles collection are vibrant and very different from the norm, offering a unique stand out range for retailers. We will have the range on display at the London Toy Fair in January 2022, and would like to invite everyone to come and view it, along with our other ranges, on stand GH18.”

To get in touch with Toys2Market, contact James at j.triptree@toys2market.com or Jeremy at j.pateman@toys2market.com.

You can also visit the company website here.

BBC Studios and CBeebies commission fourth Hey Duggee series

With a global footprint in over 150 countries, Duggee and The Squirrels will return to CBeebies for 40 brand new episodes of the popular show.

Henrietta Hurford-Jones, director of Children’s and executive producer of Hey Duggee for BBC Studios, said: “Hey Duggee is so popular with both parents and children, and I’m sure they’ll be as delighted as we are that a new series is on the way. We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved so far and how much people love Duggee and The Squirrels, so we’re delighted to be working with the hugely talented Studio AKA once more. We can’t wait for viewers to see it.”

Since launching in 2014, the hit animation from Studio AKA has become a six-time BAFTA and international Emmy award-winning hit on CBeebies and was the most-watched kids’ show on BBC iPlayer in 2020 with over 192m requests. All episodes of Hey Duggee are available exclusively on BBC iPlayer in the UK.

Additionally, Hey Duggee has over 1.2m fans across its social channels, and the official YouTube channel has over a billion lifetime views. Recently Hey Duggee teamed up with The Body Coach Joe Wicks for The Workout Badges series on YouTube, following on from bespoke lockdown-themed content on its social channels such as The Handwashing Badge. Meanwhile The Parenting Badge, which debuted in December 2020, has had over 1.2m views.

Sue Goffe, head of Production at Studio AKA, said: “We’re thrilled to be continuing our glorious Duggee Adventure with BBC Studios and CBeebies. A huge thank you to our extraordinary creative team for all their hard work, and to all our viewers for your continued love and support for the show.”

Kate Morton, head of BBC Children’s Commissioning & Acquisitions 0-6 added: “Hey Duggee is a staple in households right across the UK, so we’re delighted to continue our adventure with him and The Squirrels on CBeebies. Just like his young fans, all of us at BBC Children’s can’t wait to see what he gets up to next.”

Hey Duggee has an impressive global footprint in over 150 countries with its global popularity spawning numerous licensing agreements, including Golden Bear as UK master toy partner and Penguin Books publishing under the Ladybird imprint. Recently, BBC Studios secured agreements in Spain with Ypislon as licensing agent and Bizak as master toy partner, marking further growth in Western Europe.

Last year, France TV was signed as the French licensing agent for Hey Duggee and product now available in the region includes toys from master toy Lansay; plush toys, furniture and melamine courtesy of licensee Jemini; puzzles and early learning games from Ravensburger; magazines by Milan and books by Hachette.

 

Smart Games unveils games that sparkle

Three brand new brain busters have been launched to engage minds young and old and add some sparkle this Christmas: Diamond Quest, IQ Digits and 3D puzzle Cubiq.

SmartGames, a worldwide leader in multi-level logic games, has unveiled three new brain busters, suitable for both young and old. The company has introduced Diamond Quest, which it describes as “a true gem for players to dig into”; IQ Digits, a colourful number crunching challenge and Cubiq, a 3D puzzle with vibrant patterns that sparkle and shine.

Diamond Quest is a vibrant game that will have players mining jewels in a bid to discover the location of the red diamond. Players have to use the ‘mine’ of information from the hints and clues as they work through the challenge booklet provided. The deeper players dig, the more their deduction skills will be tested.

The unique puzzle game is suitable for ages 10+ and will have minds sparkling as they go in search of the ultimate gemstone. Featuring 80 challenges, from easy to expert, the clever mechanic will support the development of logical thinking, planning and problem solving. Smart Games says it is “a diamond of a game.”

Putting a fun spin on number crunching, IQ Digits is the latest arrival in the best-selling IQ collection. Ideal for ages 7+, players need to place all the puzzle pieces on the game board, all whilst ensuring that the numbers add up.

With 120 challenges, IQ Digits will help stimulate concentration, logic and problem solving as players work through the booklet of trials from easy to expert. (There are solutions at the back if players get stuck).

The brand-new, colourful Cubiq rounds out the new collection. Challenging players to create 3D patterns with the eight bright puzzle pieces and their eight white counterparts, this game puts players’ spatial insight, logic and deduction skills to the test. The transparent tray opens to become the game board, and Cubiq can also be enjoyed as a 2-player game.

Each game comes in its own robust compact case, making them ideal to keep in a bag when out and about.

Commenting on the new launches, Karen Clarke, UK Brand sirector of Smart Toys and Games said:“It’s always exciting to launch new games and one which sends the players in search of a diamond is sure to be a winner. Whether children (or adults) are looking for a game of numbers, one that sees them digging for the answer, or creating a colourful 3D cube – this trio of new games promises hours of fun.”

More information is available at www.smartgames.eu.

For sales enquiries, readers are advised to email uk@smart.be or call +44 (0)1903 885669.

Amazon teams up with Charity In Kind Direct this Christmas

The partnership with In Kind Direct encourages customers to order extra toys for vulnerable children across the UK this Christmas.

This December, customers will be able to access and order from a list of toys at amazon.co.uk/donateatoy, which Amazon will deliver to the charity ahead of Christmas. In Kind Direct will distribute the toys to families across the UK, following a succesful campaign last year which saw more than 6,700 toys donated. This year, in the UK, and across Europe, the initiative is set to deliver smiles to thousands of vulnerable families. Alongside managing the delivery of toys to In Kind Direct, Amazon will also donate all profits from the sale of the toys to the charity.

In Kind Direct works with charities, community groups, foodbanks and schools which support a wide range of social issues, from hygiene poverty and domestic abuse to unemployment, homelessness and mental health support needs.

“Across the UK, many families are struggling this year with financial challenges and simply can’t afford toys and games to gift to their children, and the resources of charitable organisations are more thinly stretched than ever,” said Rosanne Gray, CEO of In Kind Direct. “With the support of companies like Amazon, we are now helping over 220,000 people every week feel valued and cared for, and over 3,000 charities, schools and community groups run their vital clubs and services that enable communities to thrive.”

To get involved, customers can visit amazon.co.uk/donateatoy, and choose a toy from the wish list. Once added to the cart, customers only have to select the option “Wish List Address” as the delivery point.

To read more about the work of In Kind Direct, click here.

2 Way Words game bridges generation gap

2 Way Words game inventor Shaun Delaney of SJD Games is delighted that the young player took the age guide on the side of the box so seriously.

When Charlie Pelling saw that the age guide on his favourite word game said ‘from eight to 108’ he told his dad Derek that he would like to challenge a 108 year-old to a match, to see who would win.

And while a 108 year-old proved to be a bit of a tall order, 97 year-old word fan Ruby Hill invited him to her care home in Maids Moreton, Bucks to prove that age is just a number.

“I loved the idea of playing against a really old person to see whether they had more experience than me, and Ruby gave me a tough match. I loved playing the word game against Ruby and I think we both did really well,” said Charlie, aged eight.

While there wasn’t a clear winner, Ruby certainly gave Charlie a run for his money during the game of 2 Way Words at Gracewell Care Home where she lives.

Ruby’s daughter, Judith, said: “My mum has always been an avid reader and still loves to do crossword puzzles every day. She loves Countdown and other quiz programmes and, until recently, enjoyed challenging her grandchildren to Scrabble and taking part in the Christmas afternoon tradition of a game of Monopoly. She hopes to still be doing crosswords when she gets to 100.”

The 2 Way Words game was created by Shaun Delaney of SJD Games. Shaun said that he believes his game can bridge the generation gap this Christmas.

“Everyone loves a word game, and 2 Way Words is a lot of fun with lots of ways to eliminate your opponent. It was so lovely to hear about Charlie’s challenge, and how nice that he took the age guide on the side of the box so seriously,” added Shaun. “During the pandemic we have spent a long time away from elderly relatives and friends, so I was pleased to hear this 2 Way Words match brought the generations together.”

To find out more on the game, visit www.2way.games.

Toys R Us to open US flagship store at American Dream Mall

The New Jersey-based retail centre will play host to a brand new 20,000 square foot Toys R Us store which opens in mid-December.

Toys R Us unveils plans to open its first US flagship store at American Dream.

WHP Global, parent company of Toys R Us, has announced that it will be opening a new two-story Toys R Us flagship store inside American Dream, the entertainment/retail centre based in Bergen County, New Jersey. The store will be located in close proximity to Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park and DreamWorks Water Park and is scheduled to open in mid-December.

The new store will be a modern, two-level retail concept which spans 20,000 square feet and is said to be “reminiscent of the Toys R Us store customers know and love.” Visitors can purchase their favourite toy brands, meet Geoffrey the Giraffe, rediscover their love of play with interactive experiences and product demonstrations, and enjoy new branded elements such as Geoffrey’s Café, an ice cream parlour, a two-story slide and more.

Yehuda Shmidman, WHP Global and Toys R Us chairman and CEO, commented: “American Dream is a one-of-a-kind retail centre featuring massive entertainment experiences that make it an ideal destination for families.  Debuting our first US Toys R Us flagship here is a no-brainer. The Toys R Us brand is big and growing fast.  Today we have over 900 stores and eCommerce sites operating across 25 countries outside the USA, and now our US expansion plans are in high gear, propelling us into the next chapter of growth for our global brand.”

This development follows Toys R Us opening its digital flagship store together with Macy’s earlier this year, and will join 400 Toys R Us shop-in-shops slated to open inside Macy’s stores nationwide starting in 2022.

Don Ghermezian, CEO of American Dream, professed his enthusiasm for the new addition to the centre: “American Dream is a world-class destination with one-of-a-kind experiences and first-to-market entertainment/retail concepts, designed to delight a multi-generational audience. Toys R Us sparks the same feeling of joy across multiple age groups. This powerful brand is the perfect addition to American Dream’s all-star line-up of entertainment properties and attractions. We’re thrilled to partner with WHP Global and Toys R Us to bring this project to life.”

Toymaster members welcome new website feature

The Toymaster website now gives shoppers a direct link to their nearest members’ own online stores, which they can use to make a purchase.

The Toymaster team has contacted Toy World to update us on a new feature it has recently added to its consumer website, which is driving online traffic to individual Toymaster members stores.

“When a customer searches for a toy on our website, as well as showing the customer where their nearest Toymaster stores are, it will also give them a direct link to our members’ own websites so they can go direct to an online store to purchase if preferred,” explained Brian McLaughlin, development manager at Toymaster. “Since we added this feature recently, we have had feedback from members that website traffic and orders have increased, so it is clear customers are finding it easier to search for and buy the items on their wish lists, and Toymaster members are benefitting from more exposure and orders.”

The image shows what a search result looks like online. With this particular search, six Toymaster members websites show up with links for the customer.

“This is another feature that we’ve added to boost the sales of our members in the lead up to Christmas, by making it simpler for consumers to find their websites” Brian added. “It is just another way Toymaster is helping its members, and the feedback so far has been very positive.”

You can visit the Toymaster website here.

Winners of Mums Choice Awards announced

UKMums.TV has announced the winners of the five categories in the 2021 Mums Choice Awards, now in its seventh year.

The Mums Choice Awards programme is designed to give mums a clear insight into what products in the market are favoured by their peers. Organised and published by parental publication UKMums.TV, the awards are separated into five categories: Best Toy, New Baby Must-Haves, Children’s Entertainment, Style for Mum, and Best Food and Drink. The awards are tested and judged by real mums and their families.

Viv Tuw, organiser of the Mums Choice Awards, said: “This year’s Mums Choice Awards has been incredibly well supported, with entries from companies big and small. The standard has been exceptionally high, and we would like to thank all of our entrants, as well as our mums and their families who helped us test and review products this year. We value what mums and their families think, and it’s true, mums really do know best.”

The results are as follows:

Best Baby Toy: 

Gold – Magic Dreamlight Light-Up White Unicorn by Flair GP

Best Toy 1 – 3 Years:

Gold – 2-in-1 Activity Tunnel by Little Tikes

Silver – CoComelon Colour Learning Sheep by Wow! Stuff

Bronze – Micro Ride-On Air Hopper by Micro Scooters

Shortlisted – Walk n’ Learn by Maison Battat Inc

Shortlisted – Peppa Pig Muddy Puddle Boots by Wow! Stuff

Best Toy for Girls 4 – 7 Years:

Gold – Disney Princess Wooden Enchanted Princess Castle Playset by Character Options

Joint Silver – Toniebox by tonies

Joint Silver – Honeysuckle Hillside Cottage by Maison Battat Inc.

Bronze – Local Café & Terrace by Maison Battat Inc.

Shortlisted – Leighton’s Travel Set by Maison Battat Inc.

Best Toy for Boys 4-7 Years:

Gold – SpyX Secret Agent Comms Kit by Trends UK

Silver – Brio Battery Operated Steaming Train by Ravensburger

Bronze – Jumbo Crane Truck by Maison Battat Inc.

Shortlisted – Family Fun Large Zoo by Playmobil

Best Toy 8 – 11 Years:

Gold – Hue Animation Studio by Hue

Silver – OG Sweet Home by Maison Battat Inc

Best Creative Play Toy:

Joint Gold – Shimmer ‘n Sparkle Insta Glam On The Glo Make-UP Trolley by Character Options

Joint Gold – Hue Animation Studio by Hue

Silver – Mini Chef Kitchenette by Maison Battat Inc

Bronze – CoComelon Musical Clever Blocks by Wow! Stuff

Best Educational Toy:

Gold – Science Mad 5-in-1 Weather Station by Trends UK

Silver – MathLink Cubes Numberblocks 11-20 Activity Set by Learning Resources

Joint Bronze – Paw Patrol Ryder’s Alphabet Tablet by Trends UK

Joint Bronze – Popular Science Climate Change Science Kit by Wow! Stuff

Shortlisted – 272 Classic 60 pieces by Geomagworld

Best Construction Toy:

Gold – K’Nex Amazin’ 8 Coaster by Basic Fun UK

Silver – Laser Pegs by Flair GP

Bronze – 202 Magicubes Shapes Wheels by Geomagworld

Shortlisted – 113PC Deluxe Builder Case by Maison Battat Inc

Best Electronic Toy:

Gold – Gruffalo Talking Action Figure by Wow! Stuff

Silver – CodingCritters MagiCoders Blazer the Dragon and Skye the Unicorn by Learning Resources

Bronze – Jiggly Pets Tan Tan the Orangutan by Character Options

Shortlisted – Wow! Pods (Marvel, Disney, Harry Potter and more) by Wow! Stuff

Best Plush Toy:

Gold – Gruffalo Interactive Soft Toy by Wow! Stuff

Silver – Clappy the Animated Monkey by Gund

Bronze – BeamiesWorld Soft Toys by Happy Line Toys

Shortlisted – Care Bears 14″ Togetherness Bear Plush by Basic Fun UK

Shortlisted – Kissy the Penguin by Gund

Best Outdoor Toy:

Gold – Dirt Diggers Excavator Sandbox by Little Tikes

Silver – Mini Micro Deluxe Magic Scooter by Micro Scooters

Bronze – Junior Rainbow Wave by Eduk8 Worldwide

Best Family Games:

Gold – Pop-A-Tops by PlayMonster

Silver – Kids Against Maturity by ToyMonster

Joint Bronze – 5 Second Rule Mini by PlayMonster

Joint Bronze – Silly Sounds by PlayMonster

Shortlisted – 5 Second Rule by PlayMonster

Best Multimedia Toy:

Gold – Harry Potter Junior Invisibility Cloak by Wow! Stuff

All results and further information about the winning products can be viewed here.

 

 

Selfridges owners closing in on agreement to sell department store

It is being widely reported that Selfridges owners, the Weston family, have agreed financial terms with Thailand-based Central Group.

According to widespread media reports, department store Selfridges is on the verge of being sold to Thailand’s Central Group. The Weston family have been searching for a buyer since the summer and are thought to have been looking for around £4b for the retailer, which has 25 stores globally, including the flagship Oxford Street branch as well as stores in Dublin, the Netherlands and Canada.

According to the Times which first reported the deal, the sale process could continue until the end of the year: however, it has been suggested that terms were agreed in the last few days. Selfridges has so far declined to comment on the media reports.

Selfridges was founded in 1908 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, and has been owned by the Westons for the past 18 years. The family also has a large stake in hight street value fashion chain Primark. The Weston family initially launched the sales process in June, several months after the death of Galen Weston, who oversaw the move to take the department store private in 2003.

In October, reports surfaced that Selfridges’ owners were in talks with Qatar about a potential sale. Other sovereign wealth funds rumoured to be interested in the sale included Saudi Arabia, along with Chinese state-backed businesses, Hong Kong’s Lane Crawford and Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company, which owns Saks Fifth Avenue in the US.

Central Group is a family-owned conglomerate which started in Bangkok but went global after the founder’s son, Samrit Chirathivat, opened Thailand’s first department store in 1956. It now has 3,700 shops around the world, from supermarkets to electronics outlets, and department stores in Europe. Central Group’s non-executive director Vittorio Radice previously ran Selfridges between 1996 and 2003 and has been managing a department store in Italy since 2006. His role is said to include responsibility for expansion in Europe.

The Lego Group unveils Carousel of Creativity

The Lego Group has opened its annual festive display in Covent Garden plus an interactive experience online at Lego.com – both will run until January.

The Lego Carousel of Creativity features five brick-built characters from the brand’s Christmas ad which celebrates children’s imaginations, plus a dedicated section displaying creations submitted by kids. Children can submit a festive Lego build for the chance to be featured via the Lego Life app.

Designed to be viewed, not ridden, the carousel brings a Lego twist to a traditional Christmas icon. Fans are promised an experience of a world where anything is possible, where brick-built characters challenge the norm, from a firefighting dragon to a princess racing driver.

Those unable to make it to London can still take part online at Lego.com/CarouselOfCreativity and via the Lego Life app.

As well as being able to submit festive builds to the Lego Life app, there will also be weekly themed challenges to keep imaginations flowing over the festive season, and fans can also explore a 3D virtual tour of the carousel at Lego.com.

The Lego Carousel of Creativity is open in Covent Garden from 1st December 2021 until 2nd January 2022, and the digital
Lego Carousel of Creativity will be available for the same period.

To help make the holidays brighter for children in need of play, the Lego Group is also encouraging everyone to grab their bricks and build a star – small, big, or wonderfully weird – to help pass on the joy of play as part of its Rebuild the World #BuildToGive initiative.

For every star built and shared on social media or Lego Life using the hashtag #BuildToGive before the end of December, the Lego Group will donate a Lego set to a child in need, giving children in hospitals, children’s homes, and vulnerable communities the chance to play this holiday season.