Furby Buddies!

Furby gets buddies in product expansion
By William Borden (Yahoo report)

NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Chattering Furby, the hot-selling interactive toy, will get some new companions as Tiger Electronics plans to turn Furby into a leading brand like Barbie or Monopoly.

Tiger will offer smaller Furby Babies in pastel colors, a Furby electronic game, carrying cases and kites, as well as Furby Buddies beanbags.

Tiger Electronics is expecting the expanded product line to help it double sales of Furby merchandise to four million units this year from two million units last year, Lana Simon, director of public relations for Hasbro Inc.'s (AMEX:HAS - news) Tiger Electronics, said.

A shortage of the big-eared dolls during the holiday led to a secondary market for the toys, with street prices going several times the roughly $30 retail price.

``We're looking to make Furby a brand to be around for many years to come,'' Simon said. Hollywood talent agents Creative Artists Agency, which represents Tom Cruise, have even been signed to represent Furby for media appearances.

Furby has become an important toy to Hasbro, which easily beat Wall Street expectations on Thursday when it reported 1998 results.

Taking a play from Ty Inc.'s Beanie Babies, Tiger Electronics aims to turn the toys into collectibles by retiring last year's models and coming out with new ones with animal print patterns. Values of retired Beanie Babies far exceed the $6.00 retail price.

Furby sales have been fueled more by publicity surrounding the October launch than by advertising.

Tiger limited its television advertising for Furby before the holidays because of shortages, Simon said. Television advertising for the products is expected to resume this year.

Various Sources, Including MSN.com: All of your favorite Furbys are available in popular soft, bean bag plush called Furby Buddies. Talk to them, play with them, hug them and most of all... love them! Furby Buddies each have their own special name. Different colors and patterns. New additions will be added regularly, much like beanie babies. Collect them all!

This Furby accessorie available in May 1999, suggested retail is $9.99. Requires 4 'AA' batteries. First release will be February 19, 1999 at KayBee Toys, South Shore Plaza Braintree, MA 10:00 AM, people who come will be able to meet Furby live.

Roger Shiffman, Tiger Electronics President, said that there will be a Furby Buddie made for each color of Furby released including Special Editions! Keep an eye out for them!

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