Toy giant Hasbro is extending its infant PlaySkool brand into babycare products, pitting itself against packaged goods giants Procter & Gamble and Unilever, which dominate the sector.
It is understood that the new PlaySkool babycare range will be launched in the UK later this year or in early 2007, but as yet there are no details of products or potential licensing partners.
Hasbro Properties Group, the company’s intellectual property division, has announced a deal with US retail pharmacy chain CVS that sees the exclusive launch of baby products based on the PlaySkool brand.
The tie-up was revealed at this week’s New York Licensing Show.
Hasbro declined to give details of the launch, but says products could include dummies, wipes and nappies. There is no indication of how long the CVS deal will last.
PlaySkool is one of Hasbro’s fastest-growing divisions, with traditional toys at the core of its offer.
Observers say the babycare extension is a logical move for Hasbro as it seeks new revenue streams.
The Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association says licensing revenue reached $5.85bn (&£3.17bn) in 2005, a 0.7% increase on the previous year. Entertainment-based properties led the way with sales topping $2.56bn (&£1.4bn), up 2.5%. Products tied to Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants licence generated $1.5bn (&£810m) in retail sales globally in 2004.
â¢ In a separate move, Hasbro has rolled out an updated version of the Monopoly board to reflect changes in London’s property market. The Old Kent Road and Whitechapel, the game’s cheapest properties at &£60, have been replaced by Bishopsgate and Brick Lane at prices of &£600,000.