Strong start for US toy business

Super categories help industry see positive sales growth for first half of 2007.
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Retail sales in the US toy industry increased by almost three per cent for the first half of 2007, generating over $8 billion for the January to June period, according to NPD Group.

The figure compares to $7.8 billion generated during the same period in 2006.

The strong performance of seven 'super categories' has been attributed to the rise. Vehicles saw the most growth - increasing by 17 per cent - with Infant/Pre-school, Youth Electronics, Plush, Arts & Crafts, Building Sets and Games/Puzzles showing respective dollar sales increases of four per cent, eight per cent, nine per cent, six per cent, four per cent and three per cent over year-to-date 2006.

Combined, these seven categories comprised over $4.5 billion in retail sales.

Of the 11 super categories, only three saw sales declines, with one experiencing flat sales over YTD 2006. Action Figures & Accessories and Outdoor Sports & Toys both saw decreases of four per cent. Doll sales were flat, reversing last year's negative trend when sales for the first half of 2006 declined four per cent versus first half 2005 sales.

"It's obvious that the new product innovations we've been seeing in the toy industry have had a positive impact on overall toy industry sales," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst for the NPD Group. "Based on NPD's research, parents believe toys are more interesting and stimulating than ever. Taking this into account, along with strong sales during the first half of the year, the industry is heading into the all-important back half of the year in a very strong position."



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