It occurs to me that the essence of a blog such as this, and likely most of them, is commentary on changes observed. The toy industry, like all industries, is in flux. There is near constant change, though the pace of change is always changing.
Large retailers such as Walmart and Target continue to shed vendors, preferring to work with larger companies that have a known product with known performance. Instead of dedicating four feet of shelf space for Hot Wheels and another foot of miscellaneous small vehicles that may not sell as well and may have to be closed out and marked down, why not make your life as a buyer simpler and just add one foot of retail to Hot Wheels, with a guaranteed 25% margin, and eliminate all the others?
This makes things easier for the retailer and harder for the smaller toy companies. However, it is becoming easier for these small companies to sell to other, non-Big-Box retail venues. More and more we are seeing book stores, auto parts stores, and other channels of distribution carrying toys. One of the companies we work with lists Kohl's as a major customer. I didn’t even know Kohl's sold toys. I'd never even been in a Kohl's until I heard this.
Crisis and change is merely opportunity riding the dangerous wind. Like riding a bull, enduring current times may be rough, but there are opportunities for those who can ride this bucking bull of change. I wish us all luck.