Not much discussion of this interview from a few days ago but I found it quite informative and interesting.
(1) Lionel's 2017 sales outdid any year in the last 10. In a good way . Frees them up to try some new things (see below) with some of the profits.
(2) Lionel has "6-7 factories" in China and a couple of facilities in the USA.
(3) Lionel's "ready to play" sets are a big part of their sales, and this holiday season these sets will be at Target and Costco. (Some of you turn your nose up at these, but at less than 100 bucks they represent great play value for kids and families. Many cannot or do not wish to start in the 150-200 buck range of Lionel's O gauge sets or 400 bucks for an MTH set.)
(4) The mall store experiment is a mile or so from Lionel's offices with 17 million visitors a year. Store will be in a high traffic area near the foodcourt. It won't be a traditional train store but rather a hands-on entertainment center with sales capability. An experiment that might lead to expansion or to ditching the idea, depending on success. The annual warehouse sale has been a great success and was also derided initially.
(5) Lionel has a full-time staff in China with QA/QC functions.
(6) Lionel will continue to target a variety of markets (Ready to Play, Lionchief, Lionchief Plus, Legacy, for examples). Technology development remains a key investment, hence Bluetooth in everything, and more things to come. Kids and young adults want technology. Some older adults do too .