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RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD


Here LEGO again


The New Year is filled with fresh chances, toy lines and one film causing quite a stir. Robert Hutchins asks how Christmas 2013 went, what trends to look for and what The LEGO Moviemeans for 2014


Brian Simpson, Manager, ToyTown “I am incredibly excited about


Transformers 4and The LEGO Movie. That’s not to say that most brands don’t excite me, but 2014 is definitely going to be a year for big movies. I am also excited about the release of Tamagotchi. I have seen the product and it looks brilliant. Teksta is the most sought after £60 line I have come across. We were selling this from the moment it hit shelves in September last year. “We are trading really


well and are on track to show our fifth consecutive year of solid growth. Things are not easy, margins are constantly being pushed down by suppliers, but we are able to find a good balance and make it work for a small business of our size.


“I am not a fan of the


current trend of online shopping. It hits all the right buttons for ease, but the High Street can’t survive with this growth of sedentary shoppers. Sooner or later, everything will become a Starbucks.”


94 January/February


Ian Edmunds, Operations Manager, ToyMaster “I am really


looking forward to The LEGO Moviethis year. It’s going to be a big one. I think the best seller for the first part of this year is going to be LEGO, LEGO and probably LEGO. For the rest of the year, god knows. “I see 2014 as being a bit


more positive than last year. The Irish market seems to have woken up. I’m not saying it’s going to be the best year ever, but certainly better than last. We saw it in the summer of 2013, there is money there, people just need


persuading to part with it. “Q4 of 2013 compared to 2012 was flat. And flat is not good enough. We are still missing that hero product. People are talking about Rainbow Loom, but crazes are hard to predict and as we know, impossible to manufacture. “Continuous promotions


are really affecting the independent retailer. Mobile phone shopping is just a move from using tablets and laptops. Retailers really have to


embrace this. At least if they get them in the shop they get the chance to talk to them. You have to embrace this new show- rooming culture.”


Stuart Grant, Buying Director, The Entertainer “We have got a great line-up of


movies this year. We have Spider-man, The LEGO Movie, Captain America Two, Transformers, and we have Turtlesat the back end, so I think that’s going to be the opportunity for this year. “For the rest of the year, Minecraftis doing very well and Transformers is looking as strong as ever. “The industry has


actually seen a two per cent decline two years in a row. I still think there is potential to grow the business, but we are being squeezed by other industries like consumer electronics and the app stores. If you’re prepared to work hard, can compete with the market place and be light on your feet I think there is scope to succeed as The Entertainer has in the last four to five years.


“Q4 2013, compared to 2012 was really good. We are trading very well in the tough market. For us it’s going to be a positive year. We are missing a chase product right now. I think because of that it probably is suppressing the industry, it’s not driving footfall. There are some good things, but nothing we’re all chasing around for.”


Helen Gourley, Owner, ToyHub “The biggest range as far as


we are concerned for the first half of this year will be LEGO. The release of The LEGO Moviein February is set to send demand soaring. We are also particularly delighted with the Toymaster Brick Box exclusive as it’s exactly what parents are looking for at the moment. That said, we will also be looking


closely at margin this year, making sure we trade profitably even if turnover is reduced. “Last October was poor,


but November surpassed all expectations. People seemed to have left things a little bit later last year. Christmas came late. “The stand out product


for us is by far the Zelfs; that craze just keeps going and the products are priced just right or people’s budgets. Minecrafthas also been very well received – a lot of parents are relieved that they can finally purchase something reasonably priced for their Minecraftobsessed kids. “People are shifting to


mobile shopping, that much is clear. Fortunately we relaunched our website and are coping fine with this. We are now noticing local parents utilising our online shopping and collect at store service.”


RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD


Turn to page 59 to find out who’s part of our Retail Advisory Board. If you’re a toy retailer who’s interested in joining, please email dominic.sacco@intentmedia.co.uk


www.toynews-online.biz


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