5 February 2004
NUREMBERG – To a fanfare from trumpet-playing women dressed as toy soldiers, the 55th Nuremberg Toy Fair opened its portals Thursday in hopes that 2004 will see a sector-wide revival.
The accent at this year’s fair, which attracts 74,000 retailers and wholesalers annually, is on high-tech toys such as interactive 3-D puzzles, computer-assisted slot-car sets for up to a dozen kids and digitally enhanced model rail layouts.
Some 2,700 exhibitors are on hand in what is billed as the second-largest toy fair after the New York show.
Highlights at the press preview included a 3-D puzzle globe by Germany’s Ravensburger which when assembled doubles as a soccer ball. Ravensburger revenues rose 1.2 percent to EUR 256.6 million in 2003, according to CEO Karsten Schmidt.
Maerklin, the model rail specialists, cited disappointing Christmas sales for revenues that failed to top EUR 170 million. CEO Paul Adams said the venerable Swiss company is pinning its 2004 hopes on new digitally enhanced HO and 1 gauge starter sets.
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) announced at the fair that exports to Germany were up again in 2003. For the first 11 months, exports rose 17 percent to USD 630 million, said HKTDC official Daniel Lam.
Subject: German news