National Retail Association reveals 2017 finalists

The National Retail Association (NRA) has revealed the names of the top 2017 finalists for the National Retail Awards. The event, held on September 27 in Sydney at Doltone House, recognises retail businesses and individuals across Australia and online that have demonstrated outstanding achievement and have made a significant contribution to the industry. EB Games is making the biggest waves in the toy and hobby space, with nominations in both Speciality Retailer of the Year and Customer Experience Champion categories. NRA CEO Dominique Lamb says the awards are a fantastic example of the innovation, dedication and growth of Australia’s retail industry. Check out the full list here.

Uniqlo gets stitched up with Marvel

Japanese-founded clothing brand Uniqlo is teaming up with Marvel and inviting the public to design t-shirts based on the characters from its comic universe. The initiative follows Unqilo's previous Nintendo design competition, which had more than 16,000 submissions globally and was awarded in May. Entries for the Marvel competition close on 31 August, and the chosen designs will be printed on t-shirts and sold in Uniqlo stores from Summer 2018. On top of being printed, the grand prize and runner-up winners will be invited to a Marvel office tour in New York as well as a Marvel hosted event for the premier of Avengers: Infinity War.

Disney enters the streaming space

Disney will launch its own online streaming service, hosting movies, TV shows, sport and entertainment. The move was announced as the company reported its Q3 results, which saw Consumer Products & Interactive Media revenues decrease five per cent to $1.1 billion, while segment operating income grew 12 per cent to $362 million. The streaming service will broadcast content from Disney's own ESPN-branded sports service. The launch will also mean the end of the production company's distribution deal with Netflix.

Race car driver unveils fidget spin-off

Former race car driver Jason Patison has developed a Fidget spin-off and is currently using fundraising platform Kickstarter to get financial backing for the product. Unlike its predecessor, the fidget spinner 'Busy Builders' are interlocking fidget pieces that allow you to collect and build a custom fidget toy or spinner. Busy Builders use nine different pieces to make up a full cube, and come in seven different colours. Busy Builders will be on American shelves from late September. It is not yet confirmed whether the products will come to Australia.

Netflix buys comics publisher Millarworld

Netflix has acquired comic book and graphic novel publisher Millarworld. It is the first acquisition by Netflix, the 20-year-old streaming-video pioneer that is building a library of original series and films in a bid to hook new customers around the world. Millarworld was founded by Mark Millar, the man behind a host of iconic characters and series, including Kick-Ass and Kingsman, both of which are not part of the deal. Millar is also the creative force behind some of Marvel’s best story arcs, including The Ultimates and Old Man Logan.

Hasbro gives green light to Transformers animations

Hasbro has confirmed a new animated Transformers series is in the pipeline, to be produced by Dublin-based studio Boulder Media. According to Transformers fan site TFW2005, an initial film will restart the franchise with an exploration of the Transformers’ origins, and will be followed by one animated movie released per year. In a Q&A session following the announcement, Hasbro said the animated films would follow the same live-action themes as the Michael Bay series.

Star Trek: Discovery picks up swathe of licensing partners

CBS Consumer Products has unveiled a new roster of partners for its latest Star Trek: Discovery series, including Danilo and Pyramid. Danilo will be launching calendars, while Pyramid will be rolling out a line of posters, prints and collectables in the UK. In addition, global deals include books from Simon & Schuster, IDW comics, souvenir magazines from Titan Entertainment, Disruptor Beam mobile games, Rubies costumes and Eaglemoss collectable ships. Elsewhere in Europe, Cotton Division will debut apparel and accessories in France, while here in Australia Impact Rock will launch posters and prints.

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