Fisher-Price has launched the first-ever Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway catalog, e-commerce website and shops-in-shops.
The catalog, site and retail environments are all part of a new direct-to-consumer business model for the brand that emulates that of parent company's Mattel's American Girl brand.
Designed to offer a richer storytelling experience than ever before, the new line lets kids take on the role of engineer with personalized engines, storybook and track sets.
Premium shopping environments will open at 20 toy stores across the U.S., called Thomas & Friends Official Specialty Stations. In addition to Thomas & Friends product, the Specialty Stations will host events.
The launch also marks the debut of Logan, the first in a series of limited edition engines available exclusively through the catalog, Specialty Stations and e-commerce site. The Specialty Stations will host a special Welcome Logan event this summer.
"Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway originally launched through the specialty channel, giving the brand both heritage and equity as a premium franchise," says Geoff Walker, executive vice president, global brands, Fisher-Price. "That, along with the property's rich storytelling, presented Mattel with an opportunity to drive both direct-to-consumer product sales, as well as generate incremental mainline product sales by diversifying distribution."
For more on Mattel's new Thomas & Friends retail strategy, click here.