Shopping Centers Today International

MAR 2016

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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T H E C O M M O N A R E A 8 S C T / M A R C H 2 0 1 6 Remember FAO Schwarz's supersized keyboard as made famous in the movie Big? A Chinese mall in Jinan, Shandong Province, is one-upping the famous toy store and letting its shoppers call the tune with a musical staircase. The steps play musical notes as shoppers walk on them. ON A HIGH NOTE Star Wars drove sales at toy stores this holiday season The Star Wars brand helped take toy retailers into the black last holiday season, as action fig- ures and model space ships flew off shelves. The return of this popular film franchise helped drive U.S. toy sales up by 6.7 percent year on year in 2015, to $19.4 billion, according to research firm NPD Group. "The toy industry had an incredible year and, as is typically the case, there isn't one reason — there were a number of factors coming together to grow the industry nearly 7 percent in 2015," said Juli Lennett, a U.S. toy industry analyst at NPD Group, in a press release. Content was key in 2015, Lennett says. The Star Wars, Avengers, Jurassic World and Minions movies were top contributors to the growth. Star Wars man- aged to become the No. 1 property for the year, with over $700 million in sales; it also brought in more sales and contributed more growth than those other three movies combined. With last Christmas falling on a Friday, con- sumers enjoyed one extra day to shop in the week, compared with 2014, says Lennett. As a result, the week of Christmas 2015 was up by 25 percent year on year, and this growth was greater than all the other weeks in the fourth quarter combined. Those six days also accounted for 8 percent of all U.S. toy sales for the year; this is the second-most- important week of the year for the toy industry, according to NPD. The week before Christmas is the top-selling week of the year, accounting for 8.5 percent of toy sales this year.

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