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The modern-day traditionalists


obar was set up as a family business in 1973, with the aim of supplying innovative toys to a changing market. 40 years later, Tobar is still delivering pocket money products, traditional toys, gifts, gadgets and

games to UK retailers. The Tobar brand has been developed over the

years, and is now well-recognised by customers worldwide and within the UK. The company’s core ranges have been added to by internationally recognised brand names on a distribution basis such as Robo Fish, 50 Fifty, Maisto, Bburago and Syma.

A catalogue of success The company has just released information on the diverse ranges of products included in its 2014 catalogue, which offers customers access to categories such as Pocket Money, Classic, Gadgets, and Games and Puzzles. Paul Holland said: “Pocket Money is one of our biggest core ranges, and is structured to give customers and their consumers exciting, attractive and diverse items at tremendous value. Games and Puzzles has received a massive overhaul this year with our new traditional-style packaging. Classic is another prime category for us, and we have always prided ourselves on being a modern-day traditional toy specialist. Although Classic is a stand-alone category, we have applied the retro look to many of our other ranges; from the packaging to the products, we have created a consistent and timeless feel throughout the catalogue.” One of the most popular products the company has taken on within its distribution lines is Robo Fish, and it has proved a strong performer thus

far. Paul said: “With the backing of significant TV advertising, Robo Fish has been catapulted into becoming one of the top-selling toys of the year; it won an Independent Toy Award and featured in Hamleys Christmas Top Toys list.” Tobar signed the deal with Zuru to become the UK and Ireland’s sole distributer for Robo Fish at the tail end of 2012, and unveiled the product at 2013’s BTHA Toy Fair. Following a successful launch in Australia in July 2012, over 3m Robo Fish were sold worldwide across markets including New Zealand, Asia, USA, Europe and Russia. Tobar stocks everything Robo Fish-related, from individually packed units and playsets to batteries and, to support in-store sales, counter and floor displays equipped with TV screens running new Robo Fish adverts. Paul confirmed that Robo Fish will be TV advertised throughout the final quarter of 2013. And the year has also provided success at the fairs, especially Autumn Fair, which was, according to Paul, the company’s most successful to date, due in no small part to the amount of new products on show. He said: “2013’s show saw our customers enjoying the benefits of all our categories, in particular our wooden pocket money ranges and our traditional toys were impressing the crowds. But it’s been an overwhelmingly positive year for us, and our range has grown by over 300 new products including Space Race, Princess Castle and Duck Shoot. Maisto and Bburago too have seen fantastic growth with the brand’s new Formula 1 Red Bull ranges and up-to-date radio control range.”

Putting on a show The Tobar team clearly puts a lot of effort into its trade show appearances, and I wanted to know what we can expect to see at next year’s shows. Paul told me that “more than 100 new releases will be introduced under the Tobar brand at London Toy Fair, Spring


2013 has proved a strong year for Tobar with over 300 new products launched, including the popular Robo Fish. Toy World caught up with Paul Holland, Tobar’s head of wholesale, to review the company’s year and find out what launches are in the pipeline. Tom Roberts reports.

Fair and Nuremburg”, adding that Robo Fish will see some new additions to enhance the brand. Maisto, Bburago and Syma will also be revealing new releases from January 2014 onwards. Paul

revealed that 50 Fifty has seen an increase in sales since the launch earlier this year of popular products Yozo and Glow Fairy, the recent introduction of the top-selling Syma helicopter brand into its range is another notable highlight. The run up to Christmas itself has been a busy period for Tobar with the introduction of 150 new products from Maisto, Bburago, Syma and 50 Fifty. The company is bullish about the Christmas trading period and Paul commented that Q4 looks set to increase sales “well beyond expectations. The excitement created at Autumn Fair and Maison & Objet in France proves that our product range is right on all levels for all of our customers.” Finally, I asked Paul what a perfect 2014 for

Tobar would look like, he said: “Throughout the year, simply generating more innovation and excitement for our customers.” A straightforward goal, and one that Tobar is in a good position to fulfil.

Paul Holland head of wholesale

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