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Companies That Will Stand Out at the 2013 Toy Fair

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The 111th annual Toy Fair Week is underway in New York, as scheduled, even as residents dig out from under the massive snowstorm that hit the Northeast over the weekend.

Toy executives from around the world are gathered in New York City for this annual premiere of new toys for buyers, sellers, public, and press alike.

At the opening ceremony Saturday, the overall award for “Toy of the Year,” according to the sponsoring Toy Industry Association, went to LEGO Friends produced by the privately held Lego Group. The inaugural “People’s Choice” award was won by LeapPad2 from LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: LF).

The four day Toy Fair is expected to draw nearly 20,000 retailers, wholesalers, importers, buying groups and trade guests to scope out the toy offerings of more than 1,000 companies – 239 of which are exhibiting at Toy Fair for the very first time.

Reuters reported that according to market research company NPD Group, in 2012 toymakers bet big on toys that connected to an iPad, iPhone and iPod. Instead, shoppers spent their money on building sets, arts-and-crafts items, dolls, and preschool toys.

As a result, toymakers have focused more on reviving traditional toys, many of which will be on display at the fair.

Toys and toy stocks to watch include Mattel (NASDAQ: MAT) subsidiary, Fisher-Price which is releasing redesigned Little People for the anticipated classic toy market.

Among other oldies expected to make a comeback this year, Spirograph, a geometric drawing toy now made by Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) and a special 30th anniversary edition of Cabbage Patch Kids dressed in party-theme fashions by Jakks Pacific, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAKK).

TIA says their own toy trend experts have scoured the show floor and discovered some additional major toy trends for 2013 including DIY toys inspired by reality TV shows; tech toys that integrate real and virtual worlds; traditional board games and toys that are compact, portable, multi-functioning and appeal to busy families.

Meanwhile, Canadian company, Mega Brands and Mattel are launching their brand-new Mega Bloks Hot Wheels™ collection this week. Toy insiders will get a full preview of the highly anticipated construction line hitting stores this summer.

The Mega/Mattel Mega Bloks Hot Wheels construction category follows the partnership’s successful launch of the Mega Bloks Barbie line during the 2012 holiday season.

Despite the industry’s current obsession with classic toys, traditional board games, and construction sets, don’t forget that last year’s People’s Choice Award winner was electronic game maker, Leapfrog’s Leappad2. On February 6, the company reported that net sales grew 28 percent in 2012 with net income up 334 percent. The stock is up 31 percent over the past year.

Posted-In: hasbro jakks pacific LeapfrogEarnings Long Ideas News Events Trading Ideas Best of Benzinga

 

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