Bandai - SE60
Bandai comes to Toy Fair with another strong line-up including buoyant boys’ property Ben 10 and perennial favourite Power Rangers, now in its 16th year, as well new lines in girls and pre-school.
Power Rangers Jungle Fury is the latest incarnation of the boys favourite, taking over from Operation Overdrive. The series is already airing on TV in the UK.
The range launched in January and will be spread across the full year, with marketing support also planned.
The popular 12.5cm Sound Fury figures feature all of the Power Rangers – Tiger, Shark, Jaguar, Elephant, and Bat – and come equipped with a shock sensor sound feature, which activates the sounds effects as they are played with. Jungle Fury Cheetah Ranger and Evil Space Aliens are also available. In March the Savage Spin Rangers will arrive, with an arm spinning feature activated by the dial on the back of the Ranger. The faster it spins, the more the Ranger lights up. The 12.5cm Animalized figures come with battle gear which configures into a weapon.
Moving up the range, the 30cm Mega Action Figures feature three interchangeable helmet plates – Ranger, Battlized and Training. Sounds and phrases are activated by a button and each comes with authentic weapons and the Fireball accessories can be combined to make a Super Tiger Weapon.
Micro Animal Zord sets include various animal Zords which can be combined to create a vehicle or Megazord. The Strike Rider Animal cycles include three modes of play – cycle mode, attack mode and bite mode. Each is equipped with a missile-firing action and every vehicle comes with a fully poseable action figure. The Thunder Roar Animal vehicles transform from vehicle mode to Zord mode. Each has a missile-firing option and a Power Rangers figure.
The traditional role-play range includes the wrist-held Morpher, the Wolf Ranger Morpher, as well as the Solar Morpher clip-on headset, which features three interchangeable Ranger shields – Red Tiger, Blue Jaguar and Yellow Cheetah.
Tiger Battle Claws are also new and feature motion-activated sound effects. Completing the role-play range are the Jungle Tonfah Staff with Shock Sensor and sounds and the Claw Cannon Air Blaster, which is released in March.
The top of the range figures are the Transforming Beast Master Megazord which features five animal Zords, which can be combined to make the Beast Master Megazord. The Jungle Pride Megazord combines the Tiger, Jaguar and Cheetah Fury Zords. The Zord tails can be attached to make a spinning weapon for the Megazord.
Lastly, the Deluxe Jungle Master Megazord is the top of the range item and can throw a Swinging Thunder punch and use its spinning arms to move across any flat surface.
Ben 10 Alien Force is the next chapter in the Ben 10 story and moves the plot on five years, with Ben able to transform himself into a new bunch of aliens as he searches for his missing grandfather. Some 26 episodes of the new show will be shown on Cartoon Network from February.
New lines include the Alien Creation figure sets. Each set contains two 6.5cm figures, an alien key and a recipe card. Aliens can be mixed and matched to create new creatures. Also available are 10cm figures which come with a card and a transparent mini-figure. The Deluxe Alien Collection each comes with an individual feature (such as Brain Storm’s mouldable brain). The 15cm DNA Alien Figures each have a unique battle feature: Planetary Powder can be added to Swampfire to make him ooze goo; Chromastone is transparent, with a liquid arm; Humungous has flexing muscles and a jaw opening action.
The 20cm Alien Action Figures are two toys in one. The Humungosaur transforms into a DNA missile launcher, while Jet Ray can be launched like a glider. There’s also a range of stretch aliens including Swampfire, Waybig and Humungosaur. Alien vehicles are also available, as is Kevin Levin’s Action Cruiser, which features DNA alien capsules filled with Planetary Powder.
Hero item is the Alien Creation Chamber, which can be used with the 6.5cm figures to create new alien combinations with a twist of chamber dial. New Omnitrix items include the Omnitrix Projector, which projects the selected alien onto a surface, and the Ultimate Omnitrix which can be used in conjunction with the transparent figures from the 10cm figure range to create a light-up transforming effect.
In the standard Ben 10 range, the Deluxe Omnitrix becomes available from May.
The newest Tamagotchi version is Music Star, which sees the electronic pets nurtured to become pop-stars. They can choose their instruments, attend auditions, perform and even marry other band members.
The launch will be backed with a new online environment, eye-catching fresh packaging and each Tamagotchi comes with a plectrum-style chain charm.
Star Friends are a range of new 36cm function dolls with realistic features and virtual pet-type interaction. They are available with a complete range of accessories including a stroller, bed and additional outfits. The virtual pet that comes with each doll can be used to help sooth or entertain.
Key for tweens are a new range of mini-dolls and play-sets which open to reveal different themes. The dolls’ bodies and outfits can be mixed and matched. Each doll comes with a key used to unlock the different themed playsets. The line includes Adventure World dolls and Princess World, plus Small Adventure World and Small Princess World sets.
Lastly, Harumika is a new girls fashion concept which allows girls to create fashion design on special mannequins, out of any type of fabric. Each set contains two mannequins and a variety of fabrics and accessories including stickers, flowers and ribbons. The range launches in May.
Flair - SC20
Toy Fair 2009 will see Flair step up to the mark with its new creative play ranges reinforcing the company’s position in the sector, whilst heritage brands and new concepts, including a collection of feature dolls, should open up further horizons.
One new product in the world of girls’ creative play is Wammy. This is the patented, tactile new toy from Japan that allows a girl to make whatever she wants using multi-coloured common-shaped pieces. Each soft, pliable piece can be flexed and connected in a variety of ways to create anything from small, cute models of animals to huge themed scenes. There are many sized kits to collect, from themed packs of 18 pieces to a bumper 200-piece set. Each set contains pastel-coloured Wammy pieces, plus detailed instructions showing project ideas to get a girl started, but once she has the Wammy habit a girl’s imagination will be the only limit. Wammy will be supported by a massive TV campaign plus covermounts, point of sale materials and in-store demo DVD.
Disney licensed creative play sets featuring Hannah Montana, High School Musical and Disney Princess are also high on the agenda with a completely new range. Each set has been designed to incorporate key features from each licence, such as the Fairytale Beadazzles, a kit that takes its inspiration from sun-catchers to create a bejewelled tiara, wand and looking glass.
Brand new for Flair this year is a range of feature dolls that has already sold well in Italy, France and Spain. The Cicciobello Love & Care doll is unlike most others on the market as it’s a boy doll with a nurturing play pattern. The doll is fully interactive and responds to tender loving care. When he cries his cheeks glow and it’s time to take his temperature with the ear thermometer. The play pattern is random and the girl has to decide whether he is hungry or thirsty, or if he is unwell. By testing whether it’s his bottle of juice, milk or medicine needed, or maybe an injection that is required, she will find a way to make him well again and help him settle down to a restful sleep.
Flair’s Sylvanian Families will continue to be a huge part of the company’s portfolio with new themes and play-sets for spring and autumn 2009. Early in the year the Village Square, with its Applewood Department Store, will be introduced together with a retro-styled Caravan, perfect for towing behind the very popular Family Car. Then, for autumn, a new mode of transport in the form of the Sylvanian Families Pleasure Boat will be added together with further Village Square play-sets and a new mid-price family home called Babblebrook Manor.
For boys, the Gormiti collection will continue to grow. Series 2 has just been launched with a new range of collectable 3D figures and play-sets including the rock shaped Cavern of Roscamar play-set, home to the People of the Earth, featuring moving platforms, hiding places and a working catapult.
For spring, there’s the Lords of the Tribes 5 Figure Box Set which makes the perfect gift for the Gormiti collector, while Gormiti Magic Eggs have exclusive figures from Series 2 buried deep within them.
Also, Magnetic 12cm Figures and the fully poseable 22cm Light and Sound Figures will add a new dimension to the brand.
Continual development will see an entirely new collection arrive for autumn when the Gormiti Atomic range is launched with more collectable 3D figures and play-sets. This series comes with special features such as glow in the dark, colour changing and transparent properties. Also supporting the range will be a new outdoor toy in the form of a Gormiti lightweight scooter and, entering the electronics market, a mini Gormiti LCD game at pocket money prices. Gormiti will be supported throughout the year by heavyweight TV advertising and continual PR including covermounts, advertorials and consumer competitions.
Last, but not least, is a new boys’ concept that will satisfy those with a need for speed. GX Racers is a new brand of track cars. Designed around the power of the gyro, these 1:64 scale cars have patented techonology, achieving extreme speed and performing stunts.
Interchangeable, stylised speed and stunt gyros will drive collectability. New play-sets, focusing on speed or stunts, at different price-points will be available from autumn, all of which will have solid TV support.
Hasbro - SN19
For boys, the three big blockbusters of the year are the long awaited live action GI Joe movie; the second Transformers film – Revenge of the Fallen; and Wolverine, a prequel to the popular X-Men trilogy. Each film will be supported with a wide selection of figures, vehicles and role-play toys, such as the Wolverine Battle Claw that includes retractable claws and sound effects, and an all new Transformers voice changer helmet.
Next year will see the continued support for the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series that will continue to be shown on Sky Movies into 2009, and then transfers to the Cartoon Network in February. Fans of the series can get their hands on more of their favourite characters and vehicles, including the Turbo Tank hero product.
There will also be new figures from the Build a Droid and Legends ranges, as well as an six-inch remote controlled R2D2 that includes a 360-degree spinning head.
The girls range will have two strong reinventions – Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony. Strawberry Shortcake returns with a totally new look and the range will include strawberry scented figures, play-sets and mini plushes.
My Little Pony will also be getting an update and the introduction of a new range, the Newborn Cuties, that are a smaller version of the popular Newborn range. The main figures are set to have more distinctive figures, with slimmer frames, larger eyes and more defined feet.
The pre-school sector sees the return of the Care Bears.
Available from autumn, the key focus are the plushes, with six core characters that will include light-up bellies. The Big Hug Bear is set for release for the end of the year with other characters due in 2010.
In games, Hasbro will be bringing out new variations of some all-time favourites – Connect 4, Battleship, Trivial Pursuit and Cranium. The new Connect 4 includes a ‘pop-out’ option in the bottom so players can either start with a full grid and pop-out checkers to win, or pop-out opponent’s checkers. Battleship Reinvention introduces a hexagonal battlefield as a vertical design brings the game to a different level. With the latest version of Trivial Pursuit, player’s moves are judged by the difficulty level of their questions, so if they answer a level six question they move six spaces. Cranium, which was acquired by Hasbro in 2008, returns with new questions and two additional games – family and junior.
Collectables will also be big for Hasbro in 2009 with 300 additional animals being added to the Littlest Pet Shop range, including the new Deco Pets that can be personalised with gems, stickers and glitters. The major collectables range for boys will be the Super Hero Squad Marvel Universe figures and Star Wars Galactic Heroes.
Character Options – SN50
Character Options will launch a host of new products at Toy Fair, across both existing and new licences and brands.
The major launch for 2009 is the highly detailed HM Forces range, which covers all three of the armed forces in both figures and vehicles. This will be supported by Character’s most comprehensive marketing launch to date.
The Scooby Doo range has been refreshed and the collectible range of Mystery Mates is being launched. The range consists of 24 figures sold in packs of two, with a good and a bad guy in each. There are also additional new vehicles to go with the figures, along with the Mystery Mansion.
Dork Hunters from Outer Space is based on the popular GMTV series. The range consists of all seven main characters as five-inch action figures, with accessories, stink blasters and scratch and sniff stickers.
The range also includes Eddie’s Car and a Dork Detector. Terminator Salvation is one of the biggest film licences for the next year. The Playmates range includes 3¾ inch, six-inch and ten-inch figures, role-play items, the Deluxe T600 Fist and a Terminator Voice Changer Mask.
Disney plays a major part in the girls’ range with a new Hannah Montana series of audio and electronic lines including guitars, keyboards and microphone and stand sets. The High School Musical range includes the activity products of Hop-It Skip-It and Hoola hoop alongside a range of audio electronic and fashion items.
The Disney Princess line-up includes a great range of Mini Princesses and play-sets. There is also a range of Snow White toys including a styling head and a new Wedding carriage.
Also launching is the new Let’s Cook brand. Building from the award-winning Cupcake Maker, there will be a new Cake Bakery and Sweet range. Additionally there is the healthy Fruit Factory for making smoothies, shakes and lollies. Joining the pre-school portfolio is the new Postman Pat SDS range. This has been developed around the new Special Delivery Service series. The new range includes figures, vehicles and building play-sets. The vehicles include a Special Delivery van and a helicopter. In plush there is a range of eight-inch figures and a 12-inch Pilot Pat Talking Plush.
Mega Brands - SJ59
MagNext is the firm’s lead product for this year. Must-have additions to this multi award-winning range include new System Assortments Tube, Deluxe, Ultimate and Tricks assortments with free ideas booklets boasting a range of build ideas. The System Ultimate Vehicle set sees the introduction of ‘Jack’, the new MagNext figure.
For girls, MagNext Creations delivers new themes, play patterns, colours and graphics, including new sets such as the Core, Tube, Deluxe and Ultimate, offering girly build ideas, plus special parts to allow for decorative finishing touches.
MagNexts’ iPark is a magnetic amusement park. New to the range is the Furious Wheel, which is a magnetic Ferris wheel with a number of lighting effects. The iCoaster features 20 extreme build options, new stunts, a light effect magnetic elevator and MP3 compatibility.
Battle Strikers is the very first battling top that does not require a string or ripcord to rip into battling action. Using the power of magnetic attraction, the ‘Turbo Launcher’ (controller) will let kids battle it out, mixing and matching the four ‘modes’ of battle with the 16 individual designs. Streetz is the first construction system to feature Mega’s new Touch Command technology, bringing micro-sized vehicles to life through the power of a child’s hand.
Realistic urban street scenes packed full of stunts and tricks can be built up using the Streetz Stunt Series. Additional stunt combinations and dramatic tricks can be created with the Streetz Advanced Series, Marvel Stunt Studios and Police Chase sets.
There are also new additions to the core Mega Bloks range. The Scoop and Dump Truck, 2-in-1 Rescue Fire Station and 2-in-1 Learn to Recycle Truck are sturdy freewheeling trucks that provide open-ended role-play fun.
The Fire and Recycle trucks easily convert into a fire station or recycle centre for added play value. Perfect for small hands with big imaginations is the new 3-in-1 Build-a-Town Table. Including 20 blocks, building plates, decorated wall-plates, a car and fun figure for imaginative building and fun play, it can also be folded away for easy storage and transporting.
New licences will also be announced for 2009, including In the Night Garden, Wonder Pets and Yo Gabba Gabba.
Vivid Imaginations - SN37
The year begins with strong TV and movie boy-oriented licences. Monsters vs Aliens launches in April with an action figure toy line, while the Dinosaur King range will start shipping and TV-promoting in February.
Elsewhere for boys, 2009 sees more WWE figure series and play-sets with TV advertising. GX Racers is a new mini vehicle line that uses gyro technology to enable vehicles to do racing stunts. The range will be TV-advertised from August onwards.
Girls toys are key for 2009. Toys and electronic lines for tween series iCarly will launch in July with TV advertising. Vivid’s High School Musical tween electronics will expand to coincide
with the planned launch of the fourth movie in the autumn.
Vivid has two new contenders in the large doll market. PJ Sparkles, a hit back in the ‘80s, is re-launched with enhanced features, while Baby Sweet Touch is a feature doll also being TV-supported from September.
Lucky Bee-Bee is a new girls collectable range targeted at ages six to tweens. This year, the brand will be TV-promoted in spring and autumn, retailing at sub-£20. A full line of plush toys from the CBBC hit show The Owl will also be launched in spring.
Moving on, and Crayola will be supported by a record ten TV campaigns across the year. New introductions include Colour Me A Song, Crazy Croc, 3-in-1 Sticker Machine, Spinaroo Magic Colour and Glow Station.
Pre-school is now Vivid’s largest category thanks to Fifi & the Flowertots, Roary the Racing Car, Winnie The Pooh and i-Teddy. New for this summer is Timmy Time from Aardman Animations.
Fifi will enjoy six TV campaigns, while new for the Roary collection this year are 12 new lines with six TV-advertised items across the range. i-Teddy 2.0 will also launch with new high definition screen, greater memory, new styling and more embedded games.
My Pet Monster was a hit in the ‘90s with its boys pre-school plush positioning. In 1991 it retailed for £29.99 and this year Vivid will re-launch with additional talking feature plush for £24.99.
This year sees the introduction of a new TV-advertised dual blaster set. R-Doggee is a high-tech interactive, street rapping, joke telling pet dog targeted at boys aged four plus. Guitar Blast, available in July and TV-advertised from September, is a game-based high-tech guitar that teaches classic rock guitar riffs and scores their performance.
Re:Creation - SC59
Just before Christmas, it was announced that the company was going to handle Popco toy brands in the UK, Ireland and Europe through 2010, in a deal that will see the firm handling the toys for the next Harry Potter film.
No sooner had the dust settled on that news, Re:Creation was appointed as UK distribution partner for Sprig Toys, commencing with the Sprig Adventure Series.
Elsewhere, jOG is a Wii product where each character only moves when you do. The Nano Scooter is the smallest ever folding scooter. Razor is the leading global brand in wheeled action sports-based product and the brand’s RipStik product was named Toy of the Year in the US last year.
A national 14-week TV campaign running periodically from the end of July through to Christmas will target children aged eight to 14.
Skeleflex, the construction system that comes to life, will be the subject of a full-year national TV campaign running periodically from January to Christmas primarily aimed at boys aged four to nine.
Chop Socky Chooks is a range of merchandise based on the Cartoon Network show, while Zeebeez will have a full year national TV campaign. Disney Consumer Electronics represents a major opportunity for Re:Creation, while there is a new Stylophone variation in the shape of Beat Box and H2Go is a water powered remote control car.
Upper Deck - SM59
2009 will see Upper Deck not only launch a range of new products, but also launch into a range of new categories.
For the first time, the company will be showcasing a line of innovative pre-school products, starting with a moving puzzle called Scrolly. The totally self-contained puzzle for children aged three-plus years has seven different puzzles to create. Scrolly will launch Europe-wide from March featuring Disney licences.
Upper Deck will then extend its pre-school range with Kikaboo, a twist on a classic memory game featuring cards and a 3D element of figurines.
There’s also a new creative play product from Upper Deck called Spongi and a sound-based toy called Crazy Soundz.
In addition to pre-school, it will also be showing its first ever range of toys, including the latest toy lines for Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds. Other Upper Deck products tipped to be hot for 2009 include the Dinosaur King Trading Card Game, based on the top rated TV series of the same name, and the brand new Huntik Trading Card Game based on the new TV series Huntik Secrets & Seekers, which has been running on Jetix from January.
The Huntik Trading Card Game will be launched in March 2009, featuring a Starter and Booster set containing a Learn to Play DVD and Huntik episode in every Starter Deck. Further sets will then launch in summer and autumn 2009.
Lego - SC60
Lego’s core ranges for 2009 are City, Bionicle, Star Wars and the all-new Power Miners, all supported with ‘big bang’ marketing.
Power Miners is a conflict-orientated fantasy play-theme for boys aged seven to nine.
The range is based on miners who find a map leading to a portal taking them deep into earth, where they realise the crystals they are mining are crystal rock monsters. Vehicles, rock monsters and combination models make up the range, including the Stone Chopper, Mine Mech, Granite Grinder, Claw Digger, Crystal Sweeper and Thunder Driller.
A new construction theme launched for City last month and, in March, a Farm theme will be added with Police and Rescue remaining core.
In construction, building on the success of its power items, the firm will launch the Dozer.
Also launched last month were the Crane and Construction Site play-set. Other new SKUs include mini-figure collections and a Loader and Dumper. The Farm playset arrives in March, supported by TV. Other products include a Horse Trailer and Harvester.
Bionicle returns with a refreshed style, new storylines, a DVD release and a new location. In September, Universal will release the DVD Bionicle: Where Legends Are Made.
Some 13 SKUs launched in January including Agori, Glatorian, Fero and Skirmax. Ten more will hit shelves before the DVD in August with further TV activity.
To mark Lego and Star Wars moving into their tenth anniversary year together, six new SKUs were unveiled in January, including the Clone Walker Battle Pack and the Republic Attack Shuttle. A further six items will arrive in August.
DKL - SC29
DKL is the UK distributor of Corolle Dolls, Wonderworld Wooden Toys, Hama Beads, Viking Plastic Toys and Uniset and has plenty to show.
Corolle offers a range of premium quality dolls for babies through to pre-teens. Originating from France, they are steeped in French tradition and come with an array of fashions and accessories. This year Corolle has expanded its collection with new dolls for every age range.
New to Babicorolle for infants from birth-plus are both small and large rag dolls. There are also additions to the Mon Premier Range of dolls for 18 months-plus.
New Calin Dolls, Calin Cheerful Lavender, a re-vamped Calin Darling and more are also planned. Tidoo Dolls will see new packaging that will emphasise the bathing benefit. They too have new dolls such as Tidoo Graceful and Tidoo Bright. New to the Les Classiques range is the Marie Doll, 42cm interactive doll that speaks six languages.
Wonderworld and softwood toys also has plenty of new products launching this year. The success achieved with the Eco House and Eco Games has led to additions of further Eco products such as the Eco Town Game. The new two storey Modern House has all rooms equipped with modern-looking furniture and a set of three family dolls.
A favourite on display at the DKL stand will be Hama beads. The product continues to offer the largest range of bead craft kits, including generic and top Disney licences.
Hama has a large range of accessories, various assortments of coloured beads, pegboards and design booklets.
They are totally safe and can be played with either individually or with a group of friends.
New to the large gift sets are Disney Cars and Woodland Friends. Also available now are the new Lacing sets. These add a new dimension to Hama. A new pack dispenser is due in 2009, plus a raft of special offers.
Wall-E and Disney Princess are just two of the new licences that Uniset’s flagship range, Magic Stickers, will be heralding at Toy Fair.
Magic Stickers are travel sets aimed at keeping children on the move entertained. Each Magic Stickers set comprises a pictorial background on to which transferable stickers are placed to create a scene that can be simply changed by peeling the stickers off and moving elsewhere.
Uniset currently has licences for popular television and film characters including Thomas The Tank Engine, Barbie, Spider-man, My Little Pony and those under the umbrellas of Disney and Warner Brothers.
DKL accepts that its responsibility is to not only distribute these great brands, but also to offer customers comprehensive marketing and sales support, and to maintain a good level of brand awareness. To this end, their products can be seen regularly featured in high profile consumer marketing campaigns.
Also, Hama will be on television over Easter.
Golden Bear - SG10
Golden Bear launches its brand new In the Night Garden nursery collection this year. The company has been awarded the nursery licence for the phenomenally successful pre-school brand and its new range will be targeted at babies aged from six to 18-months old.
The collection will include a combination of fabric and plastic products, all based on characters such as Iggle Piggle and Daisy, as well as the imaginative graphics from the programme.
The nursery items comprise of travel toys, teethers and activity toys and include the Upsy Daisy and Iggle Piggle Tinkle Chimes, Tombliboos Twist and Play Toys and an In the Night Garden Travel Mobile.
The introduction of the My 1st JCB range in 2008 went very well for Golden Bear.
For 2009 the collection will be extended to include more lines of various construction vehicles, including Mini JCB Pull Backs based on the existing characters Joey JCB, Larry Loadall, Doug Dumptruck and Rex Roller. New character vehicles will also be launched including Freddie Fast track, Elvis Excavator and a Talking Max – the fastest diesel car in the world.
The successful Peppa Pig range will be extended to include new wooden products. Based on Peppa and her family, the wooden range will reflect story themes from the animation such as Grandpa Pig’s Boat and his train. All items will enhance a child’s development skills.
The Thomas and Friends range will continue to be available throughout 2009, and the range includes the new character Victor. The Talking Thomas & Friends range remains in the top pre-school licensed vehicles.
Golden Bear will also launch a diverse collection of Shaun the Sheep gifts at Toy Fair which will complement the existing toy range. The collection will feature a range of Shaun Plush with message t shirts, aprons, ear and hand muff, CD and mobile phone holders, mouse mats and car accessories. The appeal of this Aardman character extends to tween, teens and adults alike and the 2009 ranges will reflect this, with products aimed at the wider audience to maximise sales
In addition, the Charlie and Lola collection will be extended to include new plush items, as well as the introduction of Sizzles the Dog.
Esdevium - SN36
Pokémon continues to be key for Esdevium, with a new release of decks and boosters every four months, hitting a range of price points from pocket money to gift prices.
Meanwhile, joining the evergreen in the trading card game category this year is Chaotic.
The game is based upon a TV series of the same name and allows users to link online using the code found on each card, enabling them to play the game for free with other collectors across the world.
Elsewhere, Esdevium is also a main distributor of a diverse range of collectibles, which grows annually and includes Upper Deck, Topps, Wizards of the Coast, Match Attax and many more. In order to appeal to a wider range of retailers, many companies are also now looking to develop items specific to the toy trade, including collectors’ tins and games, which will enhance the offering of the products.
Late in 2008, Esdevium signed a deal for the distribution of a children’s games company.
Rocket’s portfolio includes heritage board games including Blow Football, Mousie Mousie, Tell Me Quiz, Multipuzzle, Floundering and Car Capers with larger boxes such as Coppit, Misfits, The House That Jack Built and Flying Hats.
The final main string to Esdevium’s bow is the specialist game sector.
Axis Allies is introducing a 50th anniversary edition to celebrate the key milestone. World of Warcraft will introduce licensed versions including a Lord of the Rings game.
Catan, Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride also continue to sell steadily.
Jumbo Games - SC19
Jumbo Games will have many new developments at Toy Fair 2009.
The Wasgij brand, which has to date sold over 2.3 million units in the UK, undergoes a refresh. The packaging has been redesigned to strengthen the communication of the brand to the end consumer and new box sizes have also been developed for different distribution channels.
The Falcon Deluxe brand has also undergone a makeover with new pack colours, new images and additional piece counts. Furthermore, a new brand of decade puzzles is also being introduced bringing the best from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.
The children’s puzzle category has also been strengthened this year with new licensed properties including the new Mr Men Show and Fireman Sam (in his latest CGI format), plus properties with a proven and strong heritage such as the Teletubbies.
Jumbo will also be unveiling a range of new developments for its successful pre-school Peppa Pig range. New products include a story puzzle, a new, larger floor puzzle and many refreshes within the existing line. There is even a new electronic game within the range called Tumble & Spin. With music and sounds from the TV animation, children will be able to help Peppa Pig find all of her friends in this game of hide and seek.
There will also be new ranges of games to grow the line that features hit games such as the Disney Princess Magic Mirror game. The new introductions feature some of the most established kids and tweens properties including Peppa Pig, Mr Men, Power Rangers and Hannah Montana. There are also developments for Stratego, including an all-new version based on the high profile Clone Wars property.
Leapfrog - SJ37
In the learning toys category there’s a new range of products featuring the friendly dog character, Scout, first seen on ClickStart My First Computer. There’s an eponymous plush dog which can be programmed with personalised, downloadable educational content, for example, songs and games including a child’s name and favourite colours.
Also available will be an on-the-go phonics tablet, a PDA that introduces early maths, time-telling and letters and a writing product that teaches letter formation through gameplay.
In the reading category, where the launch of Tag was the big event for Christmas 2008, the new news is in the licences that will expand the product’s library of interactive books. The library will be more than double its 2008 size by the end of the year and will feature some of the best performing licences for boys and girls aged four to eight.
In the educational gaming category, Leapster2, the connected educational gaming handheld will be further enhanced with a range of additional online elements including more rewards (certificate, activities and game downloads) and five more software titles featuring licensed characters.
Meccano - SK29
Visitors to Toy Fair 2009 will see the first UK appearance of Meccano’s Spykee Navigator, the latest robot to grace the Spykee Robot family. This follows the successful launch of Spykee the Spy Robot.
The next item to be released from the seven-strong range is Spykee Mini Vox, a voice-controlled robot, which has eight voice orders including: movement, dance and attack. His inbuilt sound and light system activate as he whizzes about to voice commands on his speedy wheels. Mini Vox’s arms and legs can be positioned into different poses and he makes multicolour facial expressions. The Spykee range is suitable for seven years and over.
Also new to the UK market are Micro Kits, which make an ideal counter display product at the pocket money price of £3.99. Four metal models – a bi-plane, racer, helicopter and F1 car – are offered to retail as a 12-piece assortment together with a counter display unit. Suitable for eight-plus.
Also new is the Metal Robot Assortment, which offers sets to build small and large robots within the six-strong range. All pieces of the set are packed in a tin and the robots are easy to build and are suitable for children age eight and over.
Flexible metal and metallic paint feature in the Design Vehicle construction sets, suitable for boys aged eight and over. The new Design R/C Concept Car, which contains parts to build three vehicles, is set for release next year. The pack includes a remote control with all functions: forward, rear, left and right and is packaged in a flip-top box.
For children with a passion for the fast and furious, there is the Tuning R/C Carbon Style Car (£39.99), which uses a nuts and bolts construction system based upon new and innovative parts in flexible metal for children eight and over. The set comes with a full remote control system, parts to construct three models and colourful stickers to allow the child to customise their racing car.
Sue Barratt, country manager for Meccano Toys UK, said: “2009 is an exciting year for Meccano. The ranges are becoming more and more progressive, whist continuing to maintain our construction roots.
“Spykee has been a huge success this year – we look forward to the release of the other robots throughout next year. The new Micro and Robot kits are great introduction to Meccano and the careful price point selection offers great value to the customer and retailer too.”
RC2 - SJ43
The Mrs Goodbee house launched into ELC and independents last year and will roll out to all retailers this year. RC2 has added refreshments to the Family and Friends collection this month, with another to launch in May. Two new SKUs will be added to Special Moments in July.
The firm will add a new Happy Camper line to the Caring Corners brand in July, focusing on the Great Outdoors. The hero product for the range will be the Happy Camper itself – a camper van which opens up to unveil an intricate interior with 100 activities, sounds and words.
The rest of the Happy Camper range includes the Family and Friends assortment – a figure with an accessory, such as Nature Walk, which includes Dad and a dog. Fun Times Assortment will launch with two themes, Keep Nature Green and Picnic in Paradise, which include figures, animals and accessories.
The Happy Camper Special Moments assortment will feature two sets, including Caring for Critters and Backroads Biking.
The range was supported by 400 TVRs in 2008 and a similar campaign is set to run through 2009, with advertising planned for March and April and then again in Q4.
Thomas & Friends will see 22 new lines and six new characters this year. Highlights include a new carry case, a water tower figure-of-eight track and Wellsworth Station, complete with lights and sounds.
The cherry on the cake is Knapford Rail Express, featuring lights and sounds, a flip-up mail car and a Thomas figure. Knapford will be promoted with a 20-second advert in H2, with 600-650 TVRs planned.
The Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway series will see eight new and three relaunched characters and a ‘Happy Birthday’ Thomas Gift Pack.
At Easter, a new Thomas and Rosie 17-piece set will be launched with TV support. In the second half, the hero line will be the Thomas-saurus Rex Set with figure-of-eight track and a T-Rex tunnel. The set will be supported with 650 TVRs in Q4.
The Wooden Railway range has also enjoyed a packaging redesign with window panels and ‘Great Value’ flashes. On the play-sets, images of the contents are exploded on the side of the box giving a clearer idea of what is included. Retailers will be supplied with yearbooks and in-store support, but the greatest benefit is likely to be the price, which remains static.
The evergreen Britains range appeals to children and adults alike. The latest line-up, launched last August, is Big Farm, a 1:16 scale plastic collection developed to hit a younger age bracket. Six products will be added to the range in 2009, including a John Deere 4WD tractor and a Chevrolet pick-up.
Cassidy Brothers - SC09
New for 2009 will be a number of Casdon Classic creations, including the Postman Pat Steering Wheel, which simulates driving the new Special Delivery Service van.
The wheel features Pat’s voice and realistic sound effects including a horn, revving engine, gear changes and braking. Flashing indicators and the catchy Special Delivery Service theme tune complete the interactive package.
The George Foreman Toy Grill is also being unveiled, a toy version of the famous grilling machine, which includes an imitation side hot plate and features realistic sizzling sounds and various pieces of play food. The real grills are known for draining fat from the food as it cooks and this functionality is simulated by the child pressing a large button and water dripping into the tray below.
Corinthian - SA30
Following a busy year with In My Pocket, Corinthian is now ready to canter into 2009 with the introduction of Pony In My Pocket and a host of new additions to the existing Puppy and Jungle ranges.
In My Pocket fans have been keen to see a horse theme included in the range of collectables, so the launch of Pony In My Pocket will no doubt prove to be popular. With a variety of figure packs starting at £3.99, and three new Pony themed playsets from £11.99, the young collectors are going to have plenty of choice at pocket money prices.
Puppy and Jungle In My Pocket are also undergoing a refresh in 2009, as Corinthian looks to add more play value to the collectables offering.
Following the success of the Dalmatian babies with colour changing nappies in the Pocketville Hospital playset, this feature is now being rolled out in the Mum & Babies packs so girls can see if their newborns are boys or girls.
In addition, there are now Super Furry double flocked Puppies and Jungle animals in selected blister types with ‘try me’ packaging, so children can feel how soft and fuzzy the figures are to touch.
Also new to the world of In My Pocket playsets is the Puppy Ski Lodge, Puppy Dreamhouse, Elephant Hut and Koala Hut, which all come with exclusive figures and start from just £11.99.
Corinthian will also be showcasing its latest confectionery lines at Toy Fair this year, alongside some new developments for its other key licences, including Disney and Ben 10.
Point Zero Games - GH84
The company’s first product is Army Of Zero – a card and dice game in which two players pit their team of warriors against each other.
Players use their judgement to pick the right character to use at the right time, and second-guess their opponent to choose when to attack and when to defend. The game is designed to be quick and easy to learn and play, encouraging children and their parents to play together.
The game’s unusual feature is that the deck of eighty-four character cards hides a series of puzzles. The person who submits the best solution before the closing date will win a cash prize.
The puzzles are aimed at older children and adults, making the product one that appeals to a wide range of consumers.
The game is supported by a community-based website, which works by encouraging players to become engaged with the game characters and to use their creativity to contribute to the background of the game.
EeZee Kricket - GH08
From Barbados, the Caribbean island that produced Sir Garfield Sobers, the greatest cricketer the world has arguably ever known, comes the international award-winning cricket trivia board game EeZee Kricket – the teaching, learning game.
An educational family game for age eight to adult, it comes with easy and more challenging questions, and players can add their own commentary as the game progresses.
Eezee Kricket captures all the nuances of the limited overs game in a handy, portable kit. Before the game begins, competing teams agree the number of overs. Bowling an over is simulated by throwing a dice six times, and as the batsman moves around the board depending on the throw of the dice, runs and extras are scored and a batsman may lose his wicket by landing on an “OUT’ (Bowl, Caught, LBW, etc) square. When this event occurs, the batsman is required to answer a cricket trivia question. If the batsman answers the question correctly the score is incremented by one. If the batsman fails to answer the trivia question he loses his wicket. Competing teams bowl overs on an alternate basis to maximize strategy and fun.
At the end of the agreed number of overs, the team with the highest score wins the game.
Spin Master - SG40
Spin Master has plenty on display this year including Bakugan, which will be a major range on show. The strategic move for the brand will be to focus on new SKUs which convert collectors into gamers while highlighting special attack features, strategy and skill.
The extended range will include large Deka Bakugan, card boosters, collectors cases and accessories. Bakugan will be supported with a major marketing campaign and a new series of the cartoon is scheduled for spring on Cartoon Network.
Moon Sand more than doubled its market share in 2008, making it the number four biggest property in arts and crafts (according to NPD data, Oct YTD).
The 2009 range will include new play-sets aimed at girls and boys and will have an increased TV campaign supporting three SKUs, which will kick off in spring with TV support for Cement City and Ponies, followed by Amusement Park in Autumn.
Following from Spin Master’s success as the fastest growing supplier in arts and crafts, it will also be launching Bendaroos and Paperoni into the category.
Bendaroos is aimed at boys and girls aged five to nine years. These are flexible sticks available in rainbow, neon or glow in the dark, and adhere to paper, windows and walls, but lift away for play and hold their shape. Bendaroos offer open-ended play at a range of price points and will be backed by TV, PR and a sampling campaign.
Paperoni is a paper creation activity which lets kids design, build, display and even wear their own 2D and 3D paper creations without heating, gluing or mess. The range will be supported by TV and print advertising, PR and an in-store merchandising programme.
Air Hogs continues to develop its core range of flying toys and R/C vehicles with a 25 per cent growth in consumer sales (NPD Oct YTD) is number two in the R/C vehicle market. Air Hogs celebrates ten years in Flying Toys this year and has achieved its success by constantly launching product backed by its consumer helpline. Zero Gravity
Micro continues into 2009 with a selection of new decals and frequencies. TV adverts return to our screens at Easter.
Yo Gabba Gabba makes its national UK launch of characters, vehicles and Groovin’ Guitar in spring. The main feature of the range are interactive music and dance toys which not only appeal to kids, but have established a cult following with DJs (Scott Mills – Radio 1), celebrities (Jack Black) and adults alike. The range will be extended in the autumn with the addition of a number of entry priced puzzles, card games and the ultimate TV advertised Dancing Brobee to support the character show on Nick Jnr.
Tech Deck will see a selection of new skateparks launched during the year along with continually updated graphics across the boards. A new range for extreme sports fans will be Flick Trix – miniature, authentic replicas of BMX bikes with working parts for ‘riding’ and performing jumps, spins and cool tricks.
Wicked Vision - SG49
Known for launching new products into the UK toy, sports and gadget markets, Wicked Vision is debuting its 2009 range at this year’s Toy Fair with an all-new stand on show.
First up is Rangs Magic, a range of accurate and versatile sports boomerangs. One of the biggest selling range of boomerangs in the world and manufactured in the UK, they are even exported back to Australia.
The Wicked range of sports toys will also be on show. The line-up features eye-catching packaging and creative designs and has a number of new products for 2009. The Funkix series, the first intelligent, high-tech footbags based on the Hacky Sack (an international craze during the ‘80s), will also be on display.
Additionally, the firm has acquired the UK distribution of two new lines. Goplay is a magnetic travel games range, offering classic games updated with a contemporary twist, including Snakes and Ladders, Car Racing, Bingo, and Football. The firm will also be distributing Duncan Yoyos in 2009.
Feel Good Friends - GH30
With a small but unique range of Feel Good products for children aimed at building confidence and self esteem, the company’s main product is the board game Feel Good Faces, which recently won silver at the annual Good Toy Awards.
A family game that helps children to build positive beliefs and explore different feelings, Feel Good Faces is non-competitive so there are no losers just lots of sharing and caring.
Children act out different feelings, answer questions on what they are good at and why they are special and carry out tasks while turning the characters’ faces from sad to happy.
Feel Good Friends are four multi-cultural characters which feature in all Feel Good Friends products: Tiggy Tutu, Roly Rainbow, Pippin Pocket and Betty Brightstar. They each help children in a different way to feel good about themselves and their world.
Yes! Superbaby - GH79
Finalist at the Nursery World Awards and Winner of the Practical Pre-School Awards, Yes! SuperBaby is a UK toy company exhibiting for the first time at Toy Fair 2009.
Yes! SuperBaby’s Miracle Scarf and Band encourage little ones to discover their mobility and explore their senses, combining play with educational benefits to bring parent and child closer.
“We already export our innovative infant toys to nine countries, so it is time to start exhibiting at the London and Nuremberg Toy Fairs,” explained Susanne Chishti, director of Yes! SuperBaby. “Our products help the stimulation of baby’s senses and bonding between parent and baby.
“Letting your child play with the Yes! SuperBaby range creates a feeling of happiness and closeness. Special memories which all parents long for in these turbulent economic times.”
John Crane - SM09
John Crane is the UK distributor for PINTOY, GoGo Toys, TOLO, TOLO Baby and Branching Out.
Branching Out is the firm’s own brand collection and exploits its vast experience in wooden toys, high quality plastic and design. This year sees the introduction of over 50 new items to the Branching Out range, including pocket money toys, nursery toys, puzzles and small world play.
The Acorn Garage will appeal to all budding mechanics, with its three tiers, there is plenty of space for cars to be fixed then filled up with petrol from the pumps on-site and there is even a car wash so young motorists can get their cars returned to them in tip-top condition.
Alternatively, the Little Cottage harks back to countryside holidays, and with its pink roof and chocolate-box styling, it has an obvious appeal to young girls.
Finally, the Branching Out collection also caters for the tiniest of customers with a range of new mini push-alongs, Sliding Snails, which feature brightly coloured shells and smiley faces.
Just Pals - GH41
Little Pals will be exhibiting its range of garden tools to keep little hands busy.
The Garden Kit, which comes in bright pink and green or blue and green, contains a bucket, hand trowel, hand fork, two plant markers and a pair of groovy gloves, jam-packed into a fabric carry bag, so there is plenty of fun to be had helping out in the garden.
For those rainy, indoor days, kids can design their own rain mac and brolly. The kit contains a mac in pink and green or blue and green and four paint pens. You can visit Little Pals at Toy Fair in the Greenhouse Section, or take a look at www.justpals.co.uk for the complete range.
MARTIN YAFFE/BORN TO PLAY – SE40
Born to Play is set to arrive at Toy Fair ‘09 with a host of new licences and products representing its biggest portfolio to date.
A new range of LazyTown spring/summer and autumn/winter products will be showcased following the firm’s appointment as master toy licensee. The spring/summer collection will boast a range of play items aimed at getting children outdoors and active. Scooters, skateboards, play balls and skate sets will all be on display in Sportacus blue and Stephanie pink colourways, inspired by the show’s 50/50 gender split.
Sportacus and Stephanie will have to watch out for Pinky and Perky bursting on to Born to Play’s stand. The first products under the new master toy licence will be unveiled at Toy Fair, inspired by the themes in the CBBC show.
Born to Play will continue to develop its Friction Vehicle range for Bob the Builder in 2009, with the introduction of a new baby vehicle making its debut appearance in the new CGI series. A new addition to the Snap Trax range is the Bob Vehicle and Crane Play Set, which can be connected to other sets in the range.
Growth for Fireman Sam continued throughout 2008 with the Activity Fire Station – and 2009 will see the launch of new outdoor play items, vehicles and furniture. The new CGI programming, which launched on DVD last year and will broadcast from February, has inspired new products including Wind-Up Floating Neptune.
2009 is set to be an exciting year for Born to Play and Little Princess. The royal rogue and the narrator of the show, Julian Clary, stole the show last year; once again Little Princess will be one of the key licences. The spring/summer range will feature a Greenhouse Play House, lunchware and play balls, with new plush and pram sets planned for launch in autumn/winter 2009.
Wheeled toys under Born to Play’s new Wonder Pets licence will launch in autumn/winter 2009. Scooters, trikes and skates will form part of the range, which will feature Linny the Guinea Pig, Turtle Tuck and Ming Ming Duckling. To support the Wonder Pets consumer product release plan, Nick Jr will be scheduling heavyweight TV coverage and online activity.
Born to Play will also be unveiling new additions to its Fisher-Price outdoor play and wheeled toy ranges. The spring/summer 2009 wheeled range consists of trikes and scooters and further products will roll out throughout the year.
The first outdoor products, the Farm Play-Set and Teeter Totter Tractor Rocker, have been carefully developed by Born to Play and Fisher-Price’s specialist design teams. Both are manufactured at MYI’s UK factory.
Outdoor play item such as Sand & Water Play Sets, roto moulded play centres, sports sets and inflatables feature heavily in Born to Play’s ‘09 product offering. In the Night Garden, Bob the Builder, Fisher Price, Lazy Town and Thomas & Friends products will all be on show.
In the boys’ area there will be a number of products available with the launch of new Power Rangers Jungle Fury wheeled toys and Ben 10 play balls. Meanwhile, girls will love the new colourways on the Dora the Explorer wheeled items.
Wow Toys - SF01
Now in its second decade, Wow will be celebrating by launching Best Buddies at Toy Fair. There are six figure and animal sets and each Best Buddy contains a character figure with its best friend. Each are ‘boy and girl’ themed and can be used with other toys from the range. The sets include a Medieval Knight and Green Dragon, Farmer and Muddy Pig, Girl and Cute Lamb, Fireman and Cat and Astronaut and Funny Alien. These toys are intended for mothers’ impulse buying, treats and birthday party bags. They come presented in a display tray pack with eighteen pieces, three of each version in each tray. The packaging comes with hooks for alternative display methods.
To further support the Wow toy range, the company is unveiling a new look to Police Chase Charlie, a friction powered police car with a push button, flip open roof featuring a policeman figure and police dog and Robin’s Medical Rescue, a fully working ambulance complete with stretcher, wheel chair, working x-ray, push button ramp, injured boy, mother and paramedic. Both are up-to date additions to the range that brings themes from real life to children aged from 18 months and upwards.
University Games - SE10
University Games introduces The Splatter Mat at this year’s Toy Fair. An activity mat for young children, the surface of the Splatter Mat is coated in a patented material called Flip Faze that instantly changes colour with heat. Warm hands and feet, warm water and sunlight will all do the trick. As it cools, it returns to its original colour so kids can watch it change over and over again. It aims to bring creative and active play to the home without the mess. The mat comes with Splatter Tools for drawing and seven foam Splatter Mat pieces that can be put together like a puzzle in a multitude of designs.
Also on show this year is Sort it Out, the game where you put things in order. Could you sort your favourite movie stars by their height? How about by the number of times they’ve been married? There are hundreds of topics included in this family game.
In Murder Mystery Mansion, players work in teams to solve a mystery using simple deductive reasoning. Who did it? How did they do it? Why did they do it? Where did they do it? With each guess, players move one step up on the 3D staircase, getting closer and closer to the mansion.
University Games is also extending its line of products based on the books by Eric Carle, the author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Ravensburger - SE29
Ravensburger will expand its childrens puzzle ranges for all key licences in spring 2009. The range offers jigsaw puzzles featuring the top ten toy licences, whilst the company’s strategy is to build on this success. The company’s licence portfolio now includes Bob the Builder, Charlie and Lola, Clone Wars, all Disney properties including High School Musical 3, plus Doctor Who, Dora the Explorer, Go Diego Go, Hello Kitty, In The Night Garden (wooden puzzles), Lazytown, Little Princess, Noddy, Numberjacks, Postman Pat and Thomas and Friends.
“Ravensburger continues to lead the way in the category of licensed puzzles,” says Tim Hall, managing director of Ravensburger. “And puzzles is a category that continues to deliver a very good profit level to all retailers who devote sufficient shelf space and keep in stock throughout the year.”
Elsewhere, the company’s adult puzzle sales are buoyant and it will introduce over 25 new titles in January to meet growing demand. Key items for spring/summer 2009 will include new High School Musical and Disney titles, specially commissioned nostalgic scenes, comic illustrations and Cat Conundrums – a concept designed to test both puzzling and brain skills. More titles will be launched for autumn/winter 2009.
Additionally, this year marks the 50th birthday of Memory and Ravensburger plans a year of celebrations to support the game. Spring will see the launch of online activity targeted at children to raise awareness of the game, and there will be a nationwide Memory competition and a major charity tie-in planned for later in the year. Ravensburger has worked to ensure the popularity of Memory endures by pairing character licences with the picture-matching game concept.
2009 is no exception and two new licences will be on display at Toy Fair: Star Wars Clone Wars – timed to coincide with the start of the Clone Wars TV series in spring – and Power Rangers Jungle Fury, the latest chapter in the Power Rangers franchise. In addition, Disney Fairies Memory is likely to be a big seller, following the release of the Disney Fairies film on DVD. The Disney Princess Memory is another popular choice, with young girls loving the heart-shaped cards.
Ravensburger is also licensee for Ice Age 3, as Tim Hall explains: “The Ice Age 3 licence is a growing phenomenon – the franchise grew with the second film – so we’re delighted to be able to offer a range of puzzles featuring the movie’s characters.
“All the products will be launched in plenty of time to benefit from the film’s pre-publicity in the summer so we’re confident they will be a big success.”
With Manny the woolly mammoth, Sid the sloth, Diego, the sabre-toothed tiger and, of course, Scrat, the range will include a 96-piece Puzzleball, a mammoth sized – and shaped – floor puzzle, a three-in-a-box puzzle set and an XXL 100-piece puzzle.
Richard Edward - SM39
At this year’s Toy Fair, Richard Edward will be launching GreenCards, the UK’s first-ever range of eco-friendly playing cards.
Richard Edward is the UK’s only remaining manufacturer of bespoke games cards, trading cards and playing cards. The GreenCards will be available to retailers through Richard Edward’s new retail division, RedWood Cards, which will also be unveiled at the Toy Fair.
With a suggested retail price of £3.99, GreenCards will give retailers a potential mark-up of around £2.44 per deck, whilst also enabling them to show customers they're concerned about the environment. Richard Edward will also be offering its ‘green card’ technology to toy and games brands that want to make their existing products more eco-friendly. The company already produces card-based products for a number of brands such as Winning Moves, DeAgostini and Hasbro.
Richard Edward will also be offering its bespoke card manufacturing services to major retail groups for the production of own-brand playing cards.
The new GreenCards are manufactured entirely in the UK using sustainable and recycled materials. They have a carbon footprint that is some 90 per cent lower than cards produced in the Far East. The GreenCards range is being launched in response to two key consumer trends: the increasing demand for products that are environmentally sound, and the return to traditional leisure activities – such as card games and puzzles – as the credit crunch continues to squeeze family budgets.
To read part 2 of the guide, click here.