I have not had a lot of time to write this week as I have been here at the Spielwarenmesse toy show in Germany since Tuesday. In that time I have covered a lot of milage on the exhibition floor. Although my feet tell me that I have covered what feels like a hundred miles I have only seen a small portion of the companies exhibiting here.
I am certainly not alone. There are more than 73,000 buyers in attendance getting an opportunity to visit 2900 booths and look at over one million unique toys. Of that million, they are estimating that about 100,000 are new for this year. Certainly a strong indication that the toy and play business is healthy and creative.
It is always great to see so many friends and familiar faces from around the world. After talking to many people my sense is that the mood here is more positive than exuberant. Business is good but people have Toys "R" Us on their mind. They wonder what the future is for the retailer and fear the worst.
I spoke at the Toy Business Forum along with Reyne Rice, CEO of Toy Trends and Charles Riotto, CEO of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association. There was standing room only for all of the speakers indicating how hungry people are for knowledge. It continues to make me wonder why we get such small turnouts for the seminars at the New York Toy Fair.
The United States is well represented. The Toy Association was in strength at the opening night party and I was very pleased to see Patti Becker of Becker Associates, Mary Couzin of the Chicago Game Group and ASTRA President Kimberly Mosley at the Women In Toys dinner last night.
Its a great experience and I hope all of you get a chance to experience it as well.