ReportersNotebook — General Merchandise, 11/19/12
SUPPLIER NEWS — Procter & Gamble battery brand Duracell assisted with post-Hurricane Sandy relief efforts by bringing a little power to, coincidentally, Battery Park in New York.
The company set up its Power Forward Community Center in the lower Manhattan park — offering New Yorkers charging stations for mobile phones and devices, as well as computers with Internet access — and sent its Rapid Responder four-by-four truck, introduced just this year, straight to the streets of New York and New Jersey. Both the power-relief center and the Rapid Responder truck — Duracell calls the combination its “PowerForward Fleet” — offered free batteries to help people power radios and flashlights. The truck also made multiple stops throughout the Hoboken, N.J., area.
Meijer will offer discounts on more than 400 toys at stores and online in anticipation of the holiday season, the chain announced earlier this month.
Meijer also plans to release a holiday gift guide that includes 18 pages of toys and an online release of its list of its top 25 toys. The toy discounts include toys in “virtually every” category, ranging from action figures to educational toys.
Personalization drives category
With more people working from home, the office products category continues to expand. For the past year, sales of office supplies were up 4%, according to NPD analyst Lora Morsovillo, driven by sales of writing implements, mailing and shipping supplies, and office essentials, including paper clips and rubber bands.
Morsovillo said the trend toward personalization is evident in the category, creating more demand for products like coordinated pens and folders.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Home Office Sell-Through Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.
Holiday season to bring hi-tech fun with apps
This holiday season will be both a splurge and save season for toys. Parents will splurge for one or two toys, but will round out their holiday shopping with less expensive items, according to Adrienne Appell, a spokesperson for the Toy Industry Association.
App toys, which can be used with iPads, will be a bigger part of the mix this year. Their small size and under-$20 price tag makes them a perfect fit for drug retailers. “App toy sales have picked up, and it will be interesting to see how they shape up,” Appell said. “Manufacturers have pretty robust offerings this year.”
Play is activated by using the actual toy on the iPad’s screen after activating the app with a free download. A number of app toys are tied to popular licenses.
Mattel has a full line of hot licenses in its Apptivity line of app toys, including Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds, Hot Wheels and Monster High. Apptivity single packs retail for $9.99, and starter set two-packs with included accessories retail for $19.99. All are screen-safe for use with the iPad.
Pressman Toy also has introduced iPieces, a toy that allows consumers to turn an iPad into an on-the-go family game board when they download classic board games apps. The iPieces app toys retail for $9.99.
The re-launch of Furby and the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie should have an impact on holiday toy sales. Collectables, with their relatively low prices, continue to be popular gift choices in a sluggish economy.
Appell said glow-in-the-dark crafts and blocks also have been popular with kids.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Toys & Games/Crafts Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.