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Beanie Baby shortage

beanie babies

March 22, 1997
Web posted at: 4:42 p.m. EST (2142 GMT)

From Correspondent Ceci Rodgers

CHICAGO (CNN) -- The got-to-have-it toy for this year's Easter basket has never been advertised on TV. It's not even available at Toys R Us.

Meet Hippity the Bunny, Inch the Worm and Wrinkles the Dog. These lovable creatures are among the 77 Beanie Babies taking the country by storm. Yet just in time for Easter weekend, the Beanie Babies are disappearing from the stores.

In fact, bread-and-butter customers like Goodie's of Highland Park, Illinois, can't even get through to the maker of Beanie Babies: Ty Inc.

"We're a little upset because we dealt with Ty for many, many years, and we feel that we really haven't been treated like loyal customers," said Goodie's owner Louise Lapping.

A year ago, the store was selling hundreds of Beanies. Now they're thinking of dropping the line altogether.

It's the same across the country as specialty retailers say shipments of Beanies are a month behind and calls to company sales representatives go unanswered.

"They can't stop answering the phone -- that's a really bad move," said Wendy Liebmann, president of WSL Strategic Retail. "Not only does it alienate their original customers who've been with them for a couple of years, but it will alienate the new guys who want to jump in on it."

A Ty company spokeswoman had no comment.

But it would seem that a push last year to expand Chinese production of the Beanies by ten-fold apparently wasn't enough to meet demand as the cuddly toys were launched nationwide.

As a result, retailers may be left holding the phone, listening to that ever-present busy signal.


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