NEW YORK — Toy Fair, the annual event that foreshadows important trends which will propel fourth-quarter sales, drew a handful of supermarkets here last week.
According to the Toy Industry Association, the following grocery retailers registered for the show: A&P, Aldi, Brookshire Grocery, Casel's Supermarket, H.E. Butt Grocery Co., Loblaw Cos., Meijer, Price Chopper Supermarkets, Wakefern Food Corp. and Wegmans Food Markets.
Except for one Fred Meyer buyer spotted outside of the exhibit halls, SN did not see any grocery buyers on the show floor during the second day. Aisle traffic was moderate.
Several exhibitors confirmed that participation from grocery companies is scant at the show.
David Traub, president of Image Masters, Agoura Hills, Calif., noted there was little, if any, supermarket presence on the floor even though many impulse items are ideally suited for supermarkets.
Image Masters had a new spin on the classic hula-hoop — Harmony Hoop — a musical hula-hoop with flashing lights, with a $20 suggested retail. The toy ties in “performance play,” a trend noted by the TIA in which kids get their exercise through play. The hoop comes with a free instructional DVD and batteries. They're sold from a 60- inch-high display. A portion of sales is donated to fight childhood cancer.
Traub said he does business with Kroger Co., which he said does a good business with the company's aquarium motion lamps.
Pokémon is anticipated to be a hot entertainment property this year with the launch of “Pokémon Black Version” and “Pokémon White Version” video games for the Nintendo DS and the new TV animation series, “Pokémon: Black & White.”
Chad Ranck, director of business development for Excell Marketing, Des Moines, Iowa, said he expects the “Pokémon Black & White” trading card game, launching in April, to be a top seller for supermarkets. Excell, a distributor and category manager for the gaming and trading card sector, does business with Kroger, Giant Eagle, Fred Meyer and Shopko.
Tying into the eco-friendly theme, I.D. Gear, Franklin, Tenn., featured a new display of insulated lunch bags, stainless steel bottles and mugs for back-to-school. The line is said to be free of bisphenol A and phthalates. The company sells its products to H-E-B.