Inside these posts: Toys

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McDonald’s grimaces at Happy Meal lawsuit

A lawsuit that seeks to stop McDonald’s from selling Happy Meals should be dismissed because parents can always prohibit their children from consuming the food, the hamburger giant said in a court filing on Monday.

The lawsuit claims McDonald’s unfairly uses toys to lure children into its restaurants. The plaintiff, Monet Parham — a Sacramento, Calif. mother of two — claims the company’s advertising violates California consumer protection laws. Get the full story »

American Girl cuts jobs in Wis., Calif.

American Girl is cutting staff. Eleven jobs were eliminated Tuesday in Wisconsin, 13 in Los Angeles, and more positions could end this summer, spokeswoman Julie Parks said. There were no layoffs in Chicago, the company said. Get the full story »

Japanese company to proceed with takeover of toy maker RC2

Thomas & Friends trains at a factory in China, Sept. 28, 2007. (Michael Lassman/Chicago Tribune )

Oak Brook toy company RC2 Corp. said Monday that the 30-day period during which it could solicit alternative buyout proposals has ended.

Last month, Japanese rival Tomy Co. agreed to purchase the maker of the Chuggington and Thomas & Friends line toy products in an all-cash deal valued at about $640 million. Get the full story »

Crayola’s ill-fated colored bubbles anger parents

A child with green and orange fingers from Crayola Colored Bubbles. (Tribune photo)

It took nearly two decades of toil and trouble before scientists at toy giant Crayola successfully brewed up the secret formula that lets kids blow bubbles in vivid colors. The bottles went on sale in February, at $10 for a pack of three. Shoppers have snapped up several hundred thousand packages.

But now some angry parents may burst Crayola’s bubble. The problem: when the bubbles pop (or the solutions splash), they leave a neon-bright — and, parents complain, often permanent — mess. Despite the large type on the front of the bottles that says “Washable.” Get the full story »

Politicians kill the traditional Easy-Bake Oven

Hasbro's latest version of the Easy Bake Oven. (Hasbro)

Collateral damage in the war on energy waste is none other than the classic children’s toy Easy-Bake Oven, introduced in 1963 and an inductee in the National Toy Hall of Fame.

Millions of young chefs have used the toy to make tasty baked treats. It was made possible by the oven’s heating element, a common 100-watt incandescent light bulb. Get the full story »

FBI issues alert for Barbie doll with video camera

The FBI says it recently issued an alert about a popular Barbie doll with a hidden video camera that could be used to produce child pornography, but stressed that the toy has not been linked with any reported crimes.

FBI spokesman Steve Dupre said Tuesday the alert last month was meant only for law enforcement agencies to advise them not to overlook Mattel’s “Barbie Video Girl” during any searches. The alert was sent out by the bureau’s Sacramento office. Get the full story »

Injuries from toys rising, product safety agency reports

Bloomberg News | The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that injuries involving toys rose 7.6 percent last year, requiring more than 180,000 emergency room visits for kids younger than 15.

Wal-Mart tweaks holiday toy strategy

Wal-Mart shoppers wait in line on Dec. 21, 2009, at one of the retailer's stores in Ocoee, Fla., for Zhu Zhu toys. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT)

After last Christmas, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. turned to its customers to find out how it could improve toy shopping this holiday season.

Moms told the nation’s largest retailer not to push Christmas toys until after Halloween passed and to give them more, not just $10 specials.

That was a price Wal-Mart promoted early and big in 2008 and 2009 in toys, books and DVDs, starting price wars in early October the last two years. Get the full story »

San Francisco a step closer to kids’ meal toy ban

A recommended San Francisco ban on kids' meal toys, which would affect primarily McDonald's. (AP)

San Francisco’s planning commission has recommended a full vote on a partial ban on toy sales with children’s meals at fast food restaurants. The proposed legislation would make it illegal for toys to be given alongside kids’ meals that didn’t meet certain criteria.

The city’s board will take a full vote that could result in legislation in a few weeks. As the biggest player in this space, Oak Brook-based McDonald’s is at the center of this storm. Get the full story »

Fisher-Price recalling nearly 11 million toys

One of several models of tricycles being recalled. (Fisher-Price)

By Bloomberg News

Mattel Inc.’s Fisher-Price subsidiary is recalling almost 11 million toys, including tricycles, after reports of children being cut or choking, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said today.

The recall is the largest for toys since Congress passed a law two years ago beefing up the product-safety regulator’s powers. Mattel and Fisher-Price were fined $2.3 million in June 2009 for toys violating federal lead-paint laws, at the time the largest civil fine in CPSC history. Get the full story »

Wal-Mart pledges to be price leader for toys

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is optimistic about demand for toys this holiday season and will stay “absolutely committed” to win on price in the segment, the world’s largest retailer told Reuters.

“In toys this year, we will be just as competitive on price as we have always been,” Laura Phillips, Wal-Mart’s vice president of toys said in an interview. Get the full story »

Sears to open 85 toy shops ahead of holidays

U.S. retailer Sears Holdings Corp. plans to launch 85 toy shops in select U.S. markets next month as it looks for a bigger bite of the holiday sales pie, a senior executive said.

The move from the operator of Sears department stores and the Kmart discount chain comes as competition heats up in the toy retail arena ahead of the biggest selling season of the year. Get the full story »

Toys ‘R’ Us to open 600 U.S. stores for holidays

U.S. retailer Toys R Us, which has filed for an initial public offering, said it plans to open about 600 temporary stores in malls and shopping centers nationwide, doubling the number of store locations for the holiday season.

The world’s largest dedicated toy retailer, which currently has 587 full-size Toys“R”Us stores in the United States, said the Toys“R”Us Express store openings will create about 10,000 jobs. Get the full story »

‘Food police’ go after Happy Meals toys

A Washington-based consumer advocacy group threatened to sue  McDonald’s Tuesday, charging that the fast food chain “unfairly and deceptively” markets toys to children through its Happy Meals.

“McDonald’s marketing has the effect of conscripting America’s children into an unpaid drone army of word-of-mouth marketers, causing them to nag their parents to bring them to McDonald’s,” Stephen Gardner of the Center for Science in the Public Interest wrote to the heads of the chain in a letter announcing the lawsuit.
Get the full story »