No Longer The Aisle of Lost Toys

No Longer The Aisle of Lost Toys

January 8, 2021

What’s old is new again!  Toy makers have enjoyed strong sales as nostalgic parents remember their own childhood favorites and purchase them for their kids.

By October 2020, sales had climbed 18% year-over-year, driven by classics like Barbie, Legos, Lincoln Logs, Lite-Brite, Hot Wheels, and a host of board games and puzzles.

In contrast to other market segments that have suffered in the pandemic, parents looking for open-ended play options that get their kids off their computers and smart phones are willing to spend on toys to keep them busy.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Washington Post article, Mattel forecasts holiday season growth as toy demand surges, by Abha Bhattarai, October 29, 2020; the CNBC article, Mattel forecasts holiday season growth as toy demand surges, by Reuters, October 22, 2020; the New York Magazine article, The Holiday Toys to Buy Before They Sell Out, According to Toy Experts, by Liza Corsillo, December 17, 2020; and the YouTube videos in the Continue reading

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Stay-At-Home Improvements Mean Appliance Shortages

Stay-At-Home Improvements Mean Appliance Shortages

December 16, 2020

A surge in home improvement projects and new home construction has created a strong demand for appliances from refrigerators to washing machines. As a result, manufacturers, retailers, shippers, and raw materials suppliers are struggling to keep up with the strong demand.

Amid item shortages, retailers like Lowe’s are shifting from in-store showrooms to direct-to-customer deliveries.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Business Insider article, Kitchen appliances and washing machines are in short supply as families stuck inside turn to home-improvement projects, by Graham Rapier, October 23, 2020; the Consumer Reports article, How to Get a Deal During the Appliance Shortage, by Tobie Stanger, December 10, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Corbis/Superstock

Discussion Questions:

1. How does the surge in demand of appliances affect inventory management for manufacturers such as Whirlpool?

Guidance: Appliance manufacturers maintain a low level of inventory to begin with. The level of inventory has remained low despite high production, resulting in order backlog and item shortages.

2.  How does the surge in demand of appliances affect its supply chain?

Guidance Continue reading

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The Rebirth of Ice Cream Deliveries

The Rebirth of Ice Cream Deliveries

In the early 1900s, salespeople delivered Wall’s ice cream on tricycles. Today, the concept is resurrected.

Thomas Wall started selling ice cream as a seasonal product designed to offset slumping sausage sales during the summer. Lever Brothers bought Wall’s company; it later merged with Maragarine Unie to become Unilever, a multinational corporation now known as the “king of ice cream.”  Sold in 63 countries, its ice cream brand portfolio now accounts for 19% of the global market. In 2020, as the pandemic lingered on and people spent more time at home, the company brought back the old concept of delivering ice cream on wheels, but this time directly to consumers’ homes. The company constantly innovates. Nevertheless, uncertainty about future lockdowns in 2021 makes the next big idea a little elusive.


Video Spotlight: How a Viennetta Is Made


This post is based on the CNN article, This Company Conquered the Ice Cream Market. Home Delivery Is the Final Frontier, by H. Ziadi, November 14, 2020, and the YouTube video, How a Viennetta Is Made, by d100965, November 17, 2013. Image source: M. Unal Ozmen / Shutterstock.

Discussion Questions:

1. Describe the evolution of ice Continue reading

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