Reporters Notebook

Supplier News—Muhammad Ali Enterprises has signed a deal with sports memorabilia company Upper Deck Authenticated to produce a line of Ali action figures and other merchandise based on the sports icon, with the first products due to hit stores this fall. The company also launched an online store at www.ali.com on Jan. 17—the former heavyweight champ’s 66th birthday—where Ali posters and memorabilia are sold.

The deals are the company’s latest in a wave of merchandising partnerships started last November when it teamed with American Greetings to develop a line of Ali greeting cards. Those cards debuted in stores in January and will be followed by a line of sound cards and talking Christmas tree ornaments due out in 2009.

Plastic Jungle, a Web site for gift-card services, is launching a service called PlasticVault to help retailers connect with gift-card holders and allow them to register and secure cards.

The service provides retailers with information on gift cardholders, including buying histories and gift card purchase patterns, to help increase gift card redemption and use. The service also provides a secure site for card owners to register and store cards while not in use.

“By providing the only dedicated third-party gift card registry, PlasticVault offers targeted marketing unlike anything else in the industry and combines that with innovative programs and partnerships,” said Plastic Jungle chief executive officer Tina Henson.

A Florida mother has devised a way to keep track of drinks that go missing or misplaced at children’s parties with the Drink Bandit. The system comes with color-coded bracelets that pull apart to create two bands, with one going on a child’s wrist and the other on his or her drink.

The Drink Bandit comes in packages of 10 stretchable bracelets that can be disposed of or washed and re-used.