Star Wars may propel U.S. toy industry to best year since '99: NPD

Mon Jul 25, 2016 2:53pm EDT
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By Subrat Patnaik

(Reuters) - The Force is with the U.S. toy industry this year.

Demand for Star Wars merchandise is set to propel toy sales growth to a 17 year-high, according to industry research firm The NPD Group.

Toy sales rose 7.5 percent in the first half of 2016, pointing to the fastest growth since 1999, the NPD said.

Star Wars toys, the majority of which are produced by Hasbro Inc, was the biggest contributor to the sales growth, with dollar sales for Star Wars toys nearly tripling through June.

"Star Wars is already at $300 million for the year," U.S. toys industry analyst Juli Lennett wrote in the report.

Toy sales typically shoot up in the year-end holiday season.

This year's sales have been fueled by collectibles, inspired by the rebooted classic Star Wars franchise and a slew of Marvel's superhero films.

Content is increasingly helping drive toy growth as kids get immersed in their favorite characters from the numerous sources such as movies, Netflix or YouTube, Lennett said.   Continued...

Star Wars toys are seen at Toys "R" Us Times Square store during the early opening of the Black Friday sales in the Manhattan borough of New York, November 26, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly