Mattel (Nasdaq:MAT) is bringing a new, premium shopping experience to Thomas & Friends™ fans nationwide in a cross-company collaboration that began rolling out this month. Leveraging various strengths from within the Mattel portfolio, the new experience – anchored by the Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway product line - will further enhance the immersive world of Thomas & Friends via the first ever Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway direct-to-consumer catalogue,
e-commerce website (launching Aug. 2014), and partnerships with 20 independent specialty retail stores, which will serve as Official Thomas & Friends Specialty Stations in the U.S.
“The Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway initiative represents a new business model for Fisher-Price and an opportunity to tell our brand story to a new audience,” says Geoff Walker, Executive Vice President Fisher-Price Global Brands. “The initiative is designed to bring new consumers into the brand and provide them with a truly premium experience.”
Thomas & Friends will also introduce a limited-release wooden engine*, Logan – a Shunter who works at the coal plant. Logan will only be available in the U.S. through the new catalogue, e-commerce website, and Official Specialty Stations and will be the first of a series of limited-release engines to be introduced by this new program annually.
With more than 50 new and exclusive Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway products available, from custom train sets to personalized engines and story books, fans across the country can fully immerse themselves in the Thomas & Friends world. Thomas aficionados will be able to expand their collections with Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway toys tied to 11 new story books and exclusive items such as pajamas, bedding and more.
The new Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway strategy harnesses Fisher-Price’s expertise in toy design and manufacturing, American Girl’s full-service direct-to-consumer model and HIT Entertainment’s strength in storytelling. Recapturing Thomas’ roots in specialty retail, the cross-divisional team shares product development and marketing responsibilities to drive increased sales across the entire Thomas &Friends franchise, generating both new direct-to-consumer sales, as well as a halo over mainline product.