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WARNING: Most of the information I am about to give is strictly anecdotal. Furthermore it may be colored by my opinion/wishful thinking that buying into JAKK was not the dumbest idea I ever had in my entire life.

* There are very few JAKK products at Kay-Bee Toys. This is good, since Kay-Bee is largely a clearing house for toys that nobody else could sell. One exception is that Kay-Bee does carry a good selection of current video games, where JAKK is well represented with its best-selling line of WWF games among others.

* There is a HUGE cultural difference between the WWF and the WCW. Remember when you were a kid and you really wanted a GI Joe doll but your parents bought you an Action Jackson instead because it was cheaper? It's the same concept. WWF stuff brings a twinkle to the eyes and a glow to the face of today's children. By contrast, the WCW is just there. The WCW stuff is often substituted unknowingly by parents who think all wrestling stuff is the same. But it's not. We're not talking Coke vs Pepsi here. It's Coke vs RC Cola.

* The WCW toy liscence is owned by Toy Biz, which is affiliated with Marvel Comics. Marvel is in deep financial doo-doo and was on the verge of bankruptcy before the X-Men movie pulled their fat out of the fire. Earlier this year, most WCW toys were heavily clearanced. Wall Street, who, like your parents, are unclear about the significant difference between the WWF and WCW, assumed this meant big trouble for JAKK, and this ignorance was largely responsible for JAKK shares tumbling from 21 to 7 over the course of a few weeks last summer. Last summer, if you walked into Kay-Bee you would have seen rows of Toy Biz WCW figures marked 3 for $5. Wall Street's assumption was that the WWF products would soon follow suit. Didn't happen.

* Toy Biz is making very few new WCW products, and the few they are making have WCW in really little tiny letters on their package, probably so kids will buy it by mistake thinking it's a WWF product. They'll never get away with it though since every 11 year old kid knows which toys are cool and which are for losers.

* A visit to my local Wal-Mart and Toys R Us reveals that the JAKK WWF products are A) Numerous, B) Expensive and C) Selling at a fast clip. Seriously. They've got this line of 5" talking WWF action figures that Wal-Mart can't keep in stock for $14 a crack. Considering what you can get at Wal-Mart for $14, I think this is pretty amazing. Sitting right next to the nearly empty pegs in my local WMT sat rows of Hasbro-made Jurassic Park dinosaurs. It didn't look like they sold one. At Toys R Us I saw a huge variety of JAKK WWF toys including $30 playsets. All of this seemed to be selling at a fast clip.

* The Pentech products at Walmart seemed similarly fast selling and expensive. The Pentech product I saw was mostly the cool gel pens and some gel pen activity sets. You got either 4 gel pens for $6 or they threw in some stickers and paper and called it an "activity case" for $8. I remember when JAKK stock took a mini-dump because they were going to have to pay $1.60 a share for Pentech stock instead of $1.50. Big deal. They stole that stock either way.

* JAKK seems to have a lock on the licensed activity set market. An "activity set" is a collection of pens, stickers, paper and other such items all packaged together into a large, hard-to-shoplift package that is very popular with today's kids. The other Activity Sets in Toys R Us were totally generic except for a Winnie The Pooh made by Mattel. JAKK has Power Puff Girls and The Grinch that Stole Christmas cases that I saw. Again, it looked like these were selling very well, and they were priced higher with less stuff than the generic versions. Presumably, this is in part what they are doing with Harry Potter as well.

* A quick glance through a 192 page long guide to Harry Potter collectibles yielded a single reference on page 82 that Flying Colors, a subsidiary of Jakks Pacific was going to come out with Harry Potter activity sets and crafts. Again, this is not going to save the stockholders. It's just an example of how scrappy Jakks is when it comes to picking up licenses.

* The Charlie's Angels dolls are a big hit. The guy at Toys R Us tells me that they sell out pretty quickly, especially Lucy Liu. They are really well made, and appear to be the first in a series of G.I.R.L. Force dolls. Presumably, any other fighting female that comes along can join the G.I.R.L. Force (like, let's say financially troubled Toy Biz drops its license to make Xena dolls...) A visit to eBay indicates the Charlie's Angels dolls are pretty hot, with many calling them "Charlie's Angels Barbies" in their description. Fine with me if they want to confuse JAKK product with Mattel, especially since MAT doesn't seem to have any hot dolls this year.

* Also at Toys R Us I ran across a JAKK line of Disney's Little Mermaid II dolls! You could have knocked me over with a feather. I thought MAT had Disney's toy lisence to itself, but I guess they forgot to lock in the Disney direct-to-video toys. I told you JAKK was scrappy. Who knows? This could put JAKK in contention to one day yank the whole Disney lisence from MAT.

* The Road Champs seem to be selling all right, but the market might be a bit saturated. Anyway, they did make a pile off that line, and used the money to significantly expand the business.

* I have no idea whether JAKK's razor scooter is out or coming out but the scooter market seems pretty saturated so I wouldn't pin my hopes on them dominating it either way.

* JAKK's Elle dolls are of tremendous quality. Doesn't mean they'll take off, but it's good to know they can make a product that's just as good as Barbie.

* Goooze seemed to be holding its own at Wal-Mart and Toys R Us, though I don't think either store is going to sell out in a mad rush.

* JAKK's video games are selling well. They'll sell even faster once SONY cranks out enough Playstation IIs to meet demand.

* As I understand it, JAKK has an entirely different business model than MAT or HAS. JAKK makes its product to order and ships direct from the factory to the retailer. This means they get more for their product on the wholesale level, and the retailers get more of a profit margin. By contrast, HAS and MAT both make a tremendous amount of product in advance which if it doesn't sell, sits in warehouses or gets liquidated through someone like Kay-Bee. As a result, you see very little JAKK product on clearance relative to HAS or MAT product. It looks like my local Toys R Us is going through some of the new lines like the Elle dolls one case at a time, but they are willing to try it out because of the good profit margins. I know some retailers who are pretty upset because HAS has been trying to raise wholesale prices and cut into the retailer's profit margin. This might make a few pennies today but have devastating effects tomorrow. If you got a 12% markup from Hasbro product or 33% markup from Jakks Pacific product, which would you rather have in your store?

* It looks like JAKK got a tremendous bargain when it picked up Flying Colors and Pentech. Both of these give it a much broader market than simply selling WWF stuff. Due to JAKK's current position with high current assets, low debt and low stock price, it is both a potential takeover candidate and a potential buyer of other companies. Note to HAS and MAT: BUY JAKK NOW BEFORE THEY BUY YOU.
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Ejan,
I have to disagree with you about Kay-Bee. Here (Alabama), Kaybee competes directly with toyrus. They sell name brand, current release toys and video games. They do not sell liquidated lines and they are not a clearing house. In fact, if they are we are in a bunch of trouble because they have a ton of BXS, MXS, gooze, road champs, and 2000 wwf in stock. I sure hope that stuff doesn't fall into the category of "clearance."
Nevertheless, the CA dolls do seem to be selling whenever they come into a store and the kb manager tells me that the MXS stuff is selling like crazy. Along with flix trix, we have a front of the store display. Also, this kb is in a mall and there is a gooze stand-alone display actually outside the store right at the entrance. High exposure for these products. Let's hope we are doing better than many of the other retailers this Christmas.

Keith
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OK I'll admit I'm a bit confused by Kay-Bee Toys. It used to be strictly an inside-the-mall retail toy store, and some still are. Lately, though I've been running across Kay-Bees that are the toy store equivalent of MacFrugal's, with 1-5 year old clearance toys taking up half their shelf space. I've seen these in regular malls and outlet malls in Arizona and California.

So I guess the rule of thumb is: If your local Kay-Bee is a "regular" store then lots of JAKK product is good for JAKK shareholders. If your local Kay-Bee is a discount dumping ground, then lots of JAKK product is bad. You'll be able to recognize the discount material because the price is written in red ink with the old black ink price being crossed out.

A few months back, I went to one of the discount dumping ground Kay-Bee stores and they had hundreds and hundreds of Toy Biz WCW figures discounted as low as 3 for $5. I only saw one JAKK item in the whole load, which made me conclude that either JAKK had been spared from the deep discounting or the JAKK product that had been discounted sold much better than the Toy Biz stuff.

Kay-Bee has always been famous among doll and action figure collectors for having product out for deep discount that never hit the shelves for regular price. To this day, most of the rare 1988 Galoob Star Trek Next Generation Figures that I see in the package (Tasha Yar, Antican, Selay, Q, Ferengi) have $1.99 Kay-Bee discount stickers on them. I've even seen 1980's Robotech and Star Wars items emerge on Kay-Bee's shelves more than 10 years after they stopped production.

It used to be that Kay-Bee had maybe one rack or one table of discount stuff per store but lately there have been stores where it seems the whole stock is on clearance. Again this is probably just a local phenomenon.

I'm glad to hear that the "normal" retail Kay-Bees are well-stocked with Jakks Pacific merchandise. Let us know if it changes. Thanks!
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Not to harp on the Kay-Bee/KB toys issue, but they are still owned my Consolidated Stores - a liquidation "retailer." Lately there has been discussion of Consolidated either selling KB, spinning them off or something.

Regardless...

Anyone know when JAKK is supposed to release earnings? December? January? (hopefully Jan - to include holiday sales)

Thanks in advance
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The last time JAKK announced earnings was 10/25/2000 so I assume their 4Q earnings will be announced sometime around 1/25/2001 (ish). I believe their fiscal year is "normal", with 1Q being Jan-Mar, 2Q being April-June, etc.

I found the following profile of CNS on Stockselector.com:

Consolidated Stores Corporation is a value retailer focused on closeout merchandise and
toys seeking to provide the budget conscious consumer with a broad range of quality,
name-brand products at exceptional values. The company is one of the nation's largest
closeout retailers and largest mall based toy retailers. The company operates retail
closeout stores, primarily under the names Odd Lots, Big Lots, Mac Frugal's Bargains
Close-outs, and Pic `N' Save and retail toy and closeout toy stores primarily under the
names KB Toys, KB Toy Works, and KB Toy Outlet.

Apparantly, there are 3 types of KB Toy stores, hence the confusion.
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Anyone know when JAKK is supposed to release earnings?

The earnings reports will include the full year, so
usually there is a longer delay for Q4 results...expect earnings around 3rd week of February.
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>Anyone know when JAKK is supposed to release earnings? >December? January? (hopefully Jan - to include holiday >sales)

As known by now, they had an investor conference call
on Jan 16th to give figures for Q4 and FY2000. Since
it is mid-Feb and I had not seen anything on SEC
filings, I called Investor Relations today to find
out when the 10-K and Annual Report was going to be
filed. The person I spoke with said to expect both
around March 30th.
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It is Wednesday(March 7,2001). That is a full 2 days from now.
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