]>Nesting instinct could spark toy sales Toy sales may surge in 2002 as the war on terrorism prompts families to spend more time at home on entertaining and distracting their children from world events.It will be a welcome change. Toy sales for 2000 ended weaker than 1999 and the outcome for 2001 is still uncertain, given the country's malaise and soft economy. As overall sales fell, the retail volume of licensed goods dipped to 35% of total receipts from about 40% a year ago. Hardest hit were character licenses, which crowded the market - none burning brightly.Opportunity awaits. There's Bob the Builder and a renewed Barney (HIT Entertainment), Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius and SpongeBob SquarePants (Nickelodeon), a Hasbro action figure line for Medabots (Nelvana), plus lots of other robots from a host of sources. And there's also Harry Potter (Warner Bros. Consumer Products). While the book-based goods faltered at retail, the movie-based stuff should fare better. From Lego are 11 HP skus, eight of them designed to be built together. Lego also is developing a licensing program for its own property Bionicle, launching watches (by QPS), pens (CDM), and a board game (Warren Industries). More is on the way.Lego is producing a line for Galidor, Defenders of the Outer Dimension from CineGroupe (Toronto), which named Lego master toy and software licensee.Classic licenses could return stronger than ever as parents seek out familiar, non-violent characters in these times of uncertainty. Fisher-Price is looking for a strong performance from Sesame Street, Barney and Pooh as well as continued momentum from its Rescue Heroes line, says Neil Friedman, president, Fisher-Price Brands.Baby Genius, the kids music brand, is committed to growth via licensing, says Larry Balaban, senior VP, production & marketing, Genius Products. Currently Baby Genius has a roster of six licensees, including Jakks Pacific (music toys). Newly signed are Planet Toys (assorted toys), Baby Boom (assorted toys), Catton Apparel Group (apparel), J. Wasson (diaper bags), Nyce Kids (infant care accessories), and American Marketing Enterprises (sleepwear).
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