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'Ben 10' Shows Its Retail Muscle

As a merchandising subject, it appears Cartoon Network's Ben 10 is aptly named.

The cartoon character — the first image launched by the network since it took licensing and merchandising back in-house from its former partner, Warner Bros. — has spawned a number of leading selling toys, including a top-10 placement for its namesake action figure.

The product line is based on the series about 10-year-old Ben Tennyson, who finds a mysterious device that leaves him able to turn into 10 alien superheroes, each with a special power. Tennyson needs these powers to battle the bad guy, Vilgax.

The Ben 10 toys have been on retailers' “what's hot” lists since July. A transforming “Omnitrix” toy has experienced 77% sell-through since its June launch, with retailers reupping their orders to keep the toys in stock, according to the network.

“As an action property, Ben found its audience very quickly and has been one of our top-rated shows since its launch in January,” said Christina Miller, Cartoon Networks Enterprises vice president of consumer products.

“It has really set the pace for our division, not only as a top-selling toy line, but by defining the kinds of quality products we want to put our name on,” she added.

Leading the products this holiday is the action figure, which has been named a top-10 seller by The NPD Group, a leading tracker of consumer and retail information.

The network has already brokered deals for new Ben 10-branded products for 2007. Warner Bros. Home Video will release the first season on DVD in the spring. A whole new spring toy line will be manufactured by Bandai; games, puzzles and DVD-based board games will debut from Pressman Toys; bedding and home goods will be produced by Jay Franco and Sons; caps will be created by Accessory Innovations; and American Marketing Enterprises will launch a line of sleepwear.

Negotiations remain underway for a fall interactive game, as well as backpacks and school supplies.