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Toy imports dip 9% in U.S. despite approaching holidays

BY Staff Writer

Newark, N.J. — A report released Friday by the Journal of Commerce/PIERS showed that U.S. toy imports dropped 9% year-over-year in September, as the country’s retailers apparently chose caution heading into the 2011 holiday season.

The drop in container volume, most of it from China, was the eighth straight for toys coming into the United States and a strong sign that the nation’s stores are concerned with figures showing waning consumer confidence and opting to keep inventories lean rather than face deep-discount sales.

The 60,616 twenty-foot-equivalent units arriving at ports in September, according to measurements by PIERS, marked a 7.6% year-to-date drop – or 30,430 fewer containers – from the same period last year.

"There is a strong inverse correlation between toys imports volume (in 20-ft. equivalent units) and toys import prices over the last seven years," said Mario O. Moreno, economist for the Journal of Commerce/PIERS. "When toys import prices increase, the tendency for demand is to decline … 74% of the time."

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Target starts Black Friday earlier, extends holiday hours

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS — Target is getting an early jump on Black Friday this year, announcing that it will open its stores at midnight on Nov. 25.

“The holidays bring hectic schedules and tight budgets, so extending store hours and offering lots of additional ways to save makes Target a great choice for affordable, one-stop holiday shopping,” said Tina Schiel, EVP stores for Target.

In addition to opening at midnight on Black Friday, Target said it is also extending store hours throughout the season. On Black Friday and the day after Christmas (Dec. 26), stores will be open until 11 p.m. On Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), stores will remain open until 7 or 8 p.m., depending on the location.

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Search is on for new faces of Macy’s Material Girl brand

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — MG Icon, the joint venture among Iconix Brand Group Inc., Madonna and Guy Oseary announced that that it is looking for the next stars of the national marketing campaign for Macy’s exclusive Material Girl brand.The "Lucky Stars" model search will launch on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at Macy’s Herald Square in New York and will culminate on Nov. 21 online at www.materialgirlcollection.com.

In addition to Macy’s Herald Square, casting calls will be heldat five of Macy’s flagship locations in Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

"We are excited to be able to engage and interact with our Material Girl consumers on such a personal level. The Material Girl brand is symbolic of every girl, every style, encouraging girls to be true to themselves. We all can’t wait to meet the contestants," commented Dari Marder, chief marketing officer, Iconix Brand Group. "The top contestants will have the opportunity to work with (Madonna’s daughter) Lola at the photo shoot, be photographed by a fashion photographer, appear in a national marketing campaign and hopefully create memories for a lifetime," Marder added.

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