GUND to Make Pretty Ugly Plush

GUND has partnered with Pretty Ugly LLC to produce plush characters based on the UGLYDOLL brand, which was launched in January 2001 as a line that balances cuteness with observed unattractiveness. The plush dolls will be available this summer to current and new retail customers worldwide. GUND President Bruce Raiffe is excited at the opportunity. "Cute, funny and huggable, UGLYDOLL characters are a perfect addition to the GUND portfolio of soft toy brands that delight consumers around the world," he said.

Big Box Shoppers Believe Their Feedback Doesn’t Matter

A Consumer Insights Panel survey has found that only two in five big box consumers believe that retailers value their input. The results of the report, conducted by customer experience management solution provider Empathica Inc. and released on Thursday, found that 85 percent of the 6,500 consumers surveyed have provided some form of feedback to big box retailers, but only 46 percent believe the stores used it.

Strollers Recalled by Kolcraft

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in cooperation with Chicago-based Kolcraft Enterprises Inc. has announced a voluntary recall of the Kolcraft Contours Options three- and four-wheeled strollers. The recall affects about 36,000 units in the U.S. and 270 in Canada. Kolcraft and the CPSC have received five reports of injuries involving the hinge mechanism, including reports of three children whose fingertips were amputated and two adults whose fingers were either smashed or lacerated.

Sanrio Expands Licensing Team

Sanrio is expanding their licensing team by bringing Laure Takaragawa on board for hard lines. Linh Forse is promoted to co-direct the division and handle soft lines. More management changes are expected to come in the next few weeks.

Sponsored Video

Sears Canada will launch a new baby-focused area in 55 stores. The area, which will be located near the Kids Room section, is set to offer new and expecting parents nursery, travel, activity, feeding and gifting items for baby. The Canadian retailer debuted the new area at an event in its Toronto Eaton Centre store with mommy bloggers in attendance.

Madagascar Secures Several Licensees

Bananas, toys, video games and apparel are just a few of the licensed products that will be released based on the film Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, which debuted in theaters last Friday. Dole introduced 100 million bananas with stickers that include a QR code to guide customers to the mobile game Madagascar: Join the Circus. DreamWorks Animation head of national promotions and marketing services, Susan Spencer, is excited at the unique opportunity Dole created to market the 3D film.

The Berenstain Bears Turn 50!

As everyone's favorite bear family celebrates a big milestone, Nelvana Enterprises is speaking to potential retail and licensing partners to create more Berenstain Bears' products. The first book, The Big Honey Hunt, was published in 1962 and since then more than 300 books based on the characters have been written, as well as a 40 episode television series. Random House plans on re-issuing an anniversary edition of The Big Honey Hunt this year as well as a binded book featuring six titles. HarperCollins, who also publishes books on the Berenstain Bears, will release 19 new books.

Pippi Longstocking Moves on to CopCorp

Plus Licens & Design has hired CopCorp Licensing as the U.S. and Canada agent for Pippi Longstocking Live-Action. The company has already made several deals in creating products that feature the beloved, pig-tailed character, including posters, postcards, greeting cards throughout Europe and apparel in Zara stores worldwide, and is currently working on deals for puzzles, games and bedding. Pippi Longstocking first made her mark in books in the year 1945, and then entered the television and film scene beginning in 1969 starring Inger Nilsson.

Babar the Elephant Celebrates 80th Anniversary with New Toy Line

New York-based Yottoy Productions came to an agreement with Nelvana Enterprises and The Clifford Ross Company to sign as a new licensing partner for Babar the Elephant. The company will create several soft toys based off of the much-loved elephant, first appearing in books in 1931, which will launch beginning this fall and into next year.

Gymboree Plans 105 New Stores in 2012

San Francisco-based childrens retailer Gymboree has announced plans to open 105 locations in 2012, 80 of which will be offshoots of its Crazy 8 chain. The news comes as the company reported a net income of $4.2 million for the quarter ended April 28, compared with a loss of $10.4 million in the same period last year. Sales rose 10.2 percent to $297.8 million and same-store sales edged up 1 percent.