A Great Time for Child's Play
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Amid talk of earnings reports and corporate departures, some big news may have slipped through the cracks. Or should I say BIG news? It seems that Kids Only, a division of JAKKS Pacific (NASDAQ: JAKK) is bringing back the iconic Big Wheel in 9", 11" and 16" versions to let kids of various ages enjoy the "King of the Sidewalk" just as their parents did. The new Big Wheels are expected to hit retailers in the fall of 2012.
The nostalgia effect could go a long way in building up demand for the new Big Wheels, especially given the way that the toy is often reflected on as a major symbol of childhood. Parents and grandparents who remember the joy of taking their Big Wheel down the sidewalk and moving under their own power while still too young for a bike. Other companies such as the soon-to-launch PeoplExpress airline are aiming for nostalgia to help carry their products and services in the modern economy, so the strategy could work well for Kids Only and JAKKS Pacific.
The new Big Wheel isn't the only thing that JAKKS Pacific and its divisions have going for them, of course; JAKKS recently debuted a boy-oriented toy line based on the animated series Monsuno to much fanfare at the American International Toy Fair. The new toy line is slated to include battling action figures that spin and transform, accessories such as motorized launchers and a variety of playsets.
The Big Wheel announcement and the Monsuno debut come only a week before JAKKS Pacific is scheduled to release its 4th quarter and end-of-year reports for 2011; those reports are supposed to be released before the opening of the trading day on February 21st. The timing may not be a coincidence since JAKKS Pacific's stock prices took a hard fall in mid December and have been trying to recover ever since. While facing competition from companies such as Hasbro Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) and Mattel Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) on the shelves of the toy department, the mix of classic nostalgia and a strong toy line based on a new animated property could be the one-two punch that JAKKS needs to inspire investor confidence and push share prices closer to the level they were at before the fall.
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