Hasbro's Sales Explode As NERF Rifles Capture Boy's Fancies

Hasbro's NERF Ball -- the polyurethane foam sphere that could be tossed around the living room without threatening mom's Hummel figurines, Chris Prentice amusingly writes -- has gone steroidal. The "goofy, plastic NERF launchers that lobbed foam balls and arrows" in the 1990s have been upgraded to the new N-Strike Stampede ECS blaster, which resembles a Special Forces assault rifle and has replaceable clips that each hold 18 foam darts.

The N-Strike line was introduced in 2004 to capitalize on consumer interest in Transformers and G.I. Joe fantasy toy lines. Hasbro officials say that NERF's sales have grown at a 30% compounded annual rate for the past four years and Jim Silver, editor-in-chief of TimetoPlayMag.com, estimates that the unit's sales have gone from $40 million to $150 million over the past five years.

"It's taking what they're seeing in movies and what they love and letting them have an active, fun, play experience with it," says Jonathan Berkowitz, NERF's global brand director. "We've become a lot more of an action sports brand for kids, for tweens and teens."

Read the whole story at Bloomberg BusinessWeek »
Tags: kids 6-11, retail
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