I have not found many blogs about the toy industry on the web. Maybe this entry will prompt someone to e-mail me others. One of the few I have found and read quite often is Richard Gottlieb (http://www.playthings.com). I met him in Dallas this last October. We actually spent a bit of time talking about the toy industry and puzzle companies specifically. Because he talks to so many different people in the industry he has a very deep understanding of trends. He also asks really good questions.
This blog entry by Richard Gottlieb (http://www.playthings.com/blog/390000439/post/740038074.html) is one of those good questions. KB Toys was a toy store that I grew up visiting at Northbrook Court in Illinois. It was a great toy store full of unique items. And Northbrook Court was a great mall with interesting stores (it still is). It is hard to believe that someone will not figure out a way to sell toys in malls again someday. I do not think the problem is that malls will not support a toy store. I think the problem is KB no longer had the right mix of toys for the mall.
In Hong Kong, I visited a large mall that had a store dedicated entirely to puzzles. Most of the puzzles were from Japan. Japan has a very active puzzle market. A lot of the puzzle trends you see in the US are adapted from Japan. Maybe that is what malls in the US need. Stores dedicated to specific niches within the toy industry. Starting with puzzles! I will write more about the puzzle store in the future.