The U.S. jewelry industry is requesting that several states overturn laws that limit the toxic metal cadmium in children's jewelry and adopt new voluntary guidelines that were passed last week by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International, which sets voluntary limits for a range of products. The industry says the stricter rules in many states may create chaos for manufacturers and importers.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports more people than ever are expected to celebrate Halloween this year. According to NRF's 2011 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted by BIGresearch, seven in 10 Americans (68.6 percent) plan to partake in traditional activities, up from 63.8 percent last Halloween and the most in NRF's nine-year survey history. Revelers are expected to spend more on decorations, candy and costumes too, equating to an expected $72.31 each on average.
Kohl's Department Stores officially opened 30 new stores in 20 states last week. The company reports at least 4,000 new jobs were created. In the last year, Kohl's has also renovated about 100 existing stores, up 18 percent from 2010. Additional features include new customer service areas, updated checkout stations, and upgraded fitting rooms and e-commerce kiosks.
Pampers' redesigned three-way fit Cruisers will feature some familiar characters from kid favorite Sesame Street. The updated design has a softer, quilted back sheet and the absorbent area lasts 20 percent longer. To generate buzz around the launch, Pampers will run a sweepstakes on Facebook, boasting prizes from Delta Children's Products, Playskool, Random House and even tickets to Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA.
The Disney Store, one of the most popular destinations for children's Halloween costumes, unveiled its offerings for this year, including the recently welcomed Rapunzel. All 10 princess costumes will be available, along with their coordinating accessories. A Jessie costume (Toy Story) will also hit shelves for girls, while boys can pick from Captain America, Jack Sparrow, Spider-Man, Woody and Buzz Lightyear.
The Douglas Company signed an agreement with Scholastic Media to produce Clifford The Big Red Dog plush toys. Debuting at the 2012 winter shows, the new line will take aim at specialty toy and gift stores in the U.S. and Canada.
At the close of a festive Earnie Awards--the childrenswear industry's annual recognition ceremony for excellence--Isaac E. Ash, President and CEO of United Legwear Co, announced that he will donate 100,000 pairs of children's socks to Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.), to be distributed over the next 18 months.
At the ABC Kids Expo, taking place in Louisville, KY, All Baby and Child (ABC) and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) announced that they are exploring a strategic partnership to unify the two organizations to better support the industry, create more valuable programming and improve communication between manufacturers, retailers and consumers. A task force, led by Kelly Marioti, board member of both organizations, has been established to lead the transition.
Early forecasts for the upcoming holiday shopping season predict a 3 percent increase in sales, just below last year's 4.1 percent rise. Still, the uptick is above the 2.6 percent average gain over the last 10 years. According to research firm ShopperTrak, consumers are expected to research and compare product prices beforehand, as well as shop primarily for bargains and make fewer trips to stores overall.
Toys "R" Us announced plans to hire more than 40,000 employees to staff its U.S. stores and distribution centers this holiday season. The company has hired 35,000 to 45,000 seasonal staff members in previous years. Each year, there are opportunities for high performing seasonal employees to extend their roles and possibly be hired full-time. Ten percent of the Toys "R" Us 2010 holiday workforce are currently employed by the toy giant.