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6 NEWS Retailers hoping for Easter surge

Chains and indies preparing for first big test of market, although it could still all come down to the weather… by Lewis Tyler

TOY RETAILERS are looking to take full advantage of the Easter holidays, aiming to attract kids and parents in-store with a raft of planned events and activities. The Easter holidays have traditionally been used as a barometer for how well the industry has started the year. However, in recent years, the two-week school holiday has had everything from snow to glorious sunshine. Ian Edmunds, operations director

at Toymaster, told ToyNews: “Last year we had a very good second quarter and that was because the weather was good. If you can sell a few larger ticket outdoor items, then that makes a big difference.” For some, just having kids around

makes a big difference. James Colclough, owner of MeltonToys in Melton Mowbry, said: “Am I expecting a sales boost over Easter? Yes, definitely. Kids have a two-week holiday and there are two bank

where kids can test their skills with the Hasbro blasters. For The Entertainer, the two-week holiday provides the ideal opportunity to attract children in-store. Buying director Stuart Grant said:

“We have a planned activity twice a day in every single store and we have a fixed programme so we can drive traffic to the store through Twitter, Facebook and email campaigns.” Although Grant admits that the Easter break represents two of the three biggest financial weeks of the first six months of the year (with the other one being the February half- term), it’s not all about sales. “For us it’s more of a long time

The Entertainer has enjoyed previous success with activities over the Easter period...

holidays, so we do see a significant rise over Easter.” Many retailers are expecting a boost among collectable lines. Colclough concurred: “We see the most movement in collectables and

also Easter treats. The £5.99 Playmobil eggs are going well for us and we always sell out of those.” To ensure footfall, MeltonToys has

a packed schedule of activities, such as the ‘Nerf Challenge’ a competition

strategy. It’s more important than just that one day, it’s the fact that the Saturday after they might want to come back to the toy shop,” he said. Lisa Dyson, co-owner of

PresentPlanners in Skipton agreed: “We try and come up with some activities so we have got Easter holiday workshops – they’ve been very popular in the past.”

… as suppliers remain cautiously optimistic

SUPPLIERS ARE looking for the first big sales spike of 2012 during the upcoming Easter holidays. A straw poll of manufacturers by

ToyNews found most were cautiously optimistic of uplifts in sales. “Easter is always an interesting benchmark for the industry and provides an early indication of consumer trends and spending patterns, as well a highlighting which items will be popular,” said Jenny Watson, Mattel’s director of marketing. “We have a number of strong marketing programmes launching during this period including our Fisher-Price Favourites programme and a content driven digital campaign for Monster High.” Adrian Whyles, general manager of University Games UK added: “Easter remains important and I’m certain we will see notable uplifts.”

APRIL 2012

FROM LEFT: Mattel’s Watson, LeapFrog’s Dekker and Vivid’s Weber are all feeling confident heading into the Easter period...

Vivid and LeapFrog are two firms which have enjoyed a strong start to 2012. NPD data for February shows Vivid is up 28 per cent YOY. “February half term was already a very buoyant period, where we saw good sales uplifts,” said Emma Weber, the firm’s marketing and licensing director. “We’ve got strong plans in place across promotions, TV advertising and social

media to fully engage with parents and kids over Easter.”

Meanwhile, Robert Dekker,

LeapFrog’s senior marketing director, said: “LeapFrog had a great start to the year so we are feeling very confident going into Easter. We’ve launched our Easter Reading Campaign which is designed to boost and inspire the love of reading in children.”

Re:creation is another firm which

has exceeded its plan for Q1 and director Seth Bishop says that Easter represents a good lift for its Razor business in particular. InspirationWorks will also be running some TV over Easter, but UK director and general manager, David Martin, admits that July and August will be more critical for the firm.

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