Helping everyone sell more
17 ber 20 m e v o N 2 7 No. Vol. 3
Independently audited ABC circulation of 5,121 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017
TnP Nella the Princess Knight cover.indd 1
CONTENTS Regular 5 Leader – with Mirella Anstey 6
News – the latest toy industry headlines
8 Coffee Break with Suzie Howes of Rainbow Designs
17 ber 20 m e v o N 2 7 No. Vol. 3
TEAM TnP Group Editor Mirella Anstey firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor Mairead Wilmot email@example.com
Writer Rhys Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org
10 Media Charts – the latest kids’ TV viewing figures and toy TV advertising spend 11 Media News – the multimedia rundown 12 Movie News – the latest from the big screen 14 Retail News – the latest from across the retail landscape 20 Toy Talk – retailers let us know what is selling well 26 What’s New – new products you need to get your hands on 44 TnP Ambassadors – our tiny testers put products from Toy State through their paces 56 Watch Out For… – a round-up of toys you really don’t want to be without
59 Spotlight on… Paul Lamond – one new product, all the USPs explained 62 Step Back in Time – a slice of toy history from the industry’s longest running magazine 63 Don’t Miss – unmissable products for all buyers and retailers
Group Advertisement Manager Ryan Horwood email@example.com
Publisher Mark Naish firstname.lastname@example.org
Production Director Paul Naish email@example.com
Design and Production Marian McNamara firstname.lastname@example.org
Features 28 Plush – they are cute and cuddly and a huge category! 46 First quarter ranges – we take a look at what’s new for 2018
9 Best of British! A look at british design at Toy Fair 2018 13 C over Story – Vivid give us the big news on Nella the Princess Knight 16 R etail Interview – Claire Bevan, retail operations manager at the Natural History Museum talks toys 42 Perfect Storm… Bandai’s new range is set to make waves! 58 Big Apple Business - The Toy Association’s president and CEO Steve Pasierb talks us through NYC Toy Fair 2018 60 2020 – can’t open the Indesign document!
Managing Director Malcolm Naish email@example.com
Circulation Manager Robert Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org
Columnists 22 The Independent and Secret Supplier – How can suppliers deal with Independents better? Our men in-the-know slug it out 24 Retail Opinion – why category killing retail is declasse 25 Media Analysis – Generation Media’s Alex Taylor-Smith looks at advertising around big family movies on the box
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At the heart of retail
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Helping everyone sell more
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he clocks have gone back and the dark nights are closing in, and before long the TV will be a flurry of sleigh bells, Santa, and this year’s must-have toys, as the Christmas ads return. It’s always an exciting time of year, and although for most it spells a period of winding down, putting up your feet and spending time with family, for the toy industry it’s battlestations. It’s less about gathering around the fire for chestnuts, and more gathering around the EPoS to take the day’s earnings and see which toys are working and which need a little extra love. Speaking of which we’ll be making our annual pilgrimage to St. Mary’s Church in Marylebone for DreamToys this month to discover which toys the experts at the TRA believe will make it big this festive season. Rest assured, we’ll let you know which toys will be making headlines as soon as we do. And we’re only just back from BLE! Yes, it may seem like a lifetime ago, but it really was only a few weeks. As ever it was a great chance to learn which brands and licenses will be receiving the biggest backing, and learning about the opportunities ahead. Off the top of my head, Jurassic World, PAW Patrol, Miffy, Nella the Princess Knight, Roald Dahl, JoJo Siwa, Ben 10 and, of course, that evergreen Peppa Pig were all hot topics of conversation. Some proven brands, some making a comeback and some fresh faces there, but all with a lot of buzz surrounding them. Speaking of Nella, this month Vivid lifted the curtain on it’s highly anticipated master toy range in our cover story, on page 25. I think I’ve seen every episode by now over on Nick Jr., as my three boys absolutely love the show. They aren’t bothered at all that the main star is a girl, and they absolutely love her get up and go attitude. It’s really refreshing to see, and I know my house will look like a medieval armory when this toy range rolls out next January. Bandai have also given us a look at a rising star,
DreamToys takes place this month
Zak Storm. Created by ZAG Studios, the geniuses behind Miraculous, this action-packed series has it all — and Bandai’s accompanying toy range looks set to match it. Don’t ask me how the technology works, exactly, but suffice it to say it’s impressive. The toys connect with the app and TV show to unlock a ton of extra play value — it’s the kind of technology I know my boys will get immediately, and get a real kick out of too. Head over to page 42 for a better explanation! Bandai’s Zak Storm figure Somehow along the way 2017 has happened, and next month is, incredibly, our December issue! Our final issue of the year is always a great reason to look back at and reminisce about the year just gone. But it’s also a chance to look ahead at the opportunities, products and retail plans the future holds. So make sure you get in touch to let us know how your year has been — wherever you fit into the vibrant world of toys. That also means London Toy Fair is on the horizon, and we caught up with some homegrown talent to learn why the UK’s premier toy trade event is such an important part of their year. Head to page 9 for that. And if the Big Apple is more your thing, we also heard from Steve Pasierv, president and CEO of the US Toy Assocation, on page 58 who told us how the industry body will be helping toy companies flourish in the States in the coming year.
Make sure you get in touch to let us know how your year has been — wherever you fit into the vibrant world of toys
Vivid’s Nella the Princess Knight Sparkle Sword US Toy Association CEO Steve Pasierb
Toy Fair sells out The 2018 edition of Toy Fair has sold out. All exhibition space was snapped up almost fourth months prior to doors opening at London’s Olympia on 23 January 2018. “It is an exciting time for toy innovation,” said Majen Immink, Director of Fairs and Special Events, BTHA. “With Toy Fair selling out this early, it shows that there is huge demand in the toy industry at the moment. I am looking forward to seeing the products set to be launched in January.” The BTHA has also unveiled Toy Fair Heroes, a new feature to highlight exceptional toys across the categories. Only toys that are innovative, exciting and break the mould will be considered for this exclusive showcase. The top 25 toys at Toy Fair will be selected by toy experts and the BTHA, and winners in each category will be announced on the opening morning of the show.
Sambro opens southern base Sambro is capping off 2017 with the opening of a brand new premises in High Wycombe. Sambro South signals another key milestone for the Manchester-based business in what Sambro MD Tom Duffy calls the company’s “best year yet”. Sambro South signifies not only our intent to make a huge impact on the toy industry but it’s also indicative of how rapidly we are achieving this goal,” he adds. “We are really looking forward driving the business and I am confident with the brilliant team we have that next year could be our best yet.”
A Meccano Liver Bird is the crowning glory of a recently opened Mersey-side shopping centre. Spin Master unveiled the world’s largest statue of Liverpool’s iconic Liver Bird, crafted from fabricated Meccano pieces, as Liverpool Shopping Park’s first retailers, including Smyths Toys Superstores, opened their doors. The monument is 11 metres tall. Spin Master UK PR Manager Jo Thompson says: “We are absolutely thrilled to play such a monumental and fitting role in this fantastic new retail venture. Meccano and its founder Frank Hornby have an enormous history of contribution to the city and community particularly around Edge Lane and having this history preserved until time immemorial with the Liver Bird sculpture marks the next exciting chapter.
Elmo joined the Sambro team for the opening of the new showroom
Trend spotting Kristin Morency Goldman of the US Toy Association explores the global trend for skill-building educational playthings Toys that sharpen kids’ minds and inspire them to explore the world around them are trending globally, as parents become more focused on helping their children learn and develop through play. “A growing number of parents are reaching for toys that teach coding, math, science, literacy, and more,” says Adrienne Appell, trend expert at the US Toy Association. “Older kids are reaping the rewards from toys that combine classroom subjects with play. 6
Older kids are reaping the rewards from toys that combine classroom subjects with play
And educational toys for infants and toddlers are on the rise, which makes a lot of sense given that kids’ brains develop faster between birth and age three than at any other point in their lives.” The following STREAM (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Arts, and Maths) toys were spotted at the 114th North American International Toy Fair in February 2017. These are just a few examples of the many toys on the market that will positively impact learning and development: LEGO Boost is a dynamic coding toy which turns regular LEGO bricks
Ballooning sales Character Options has reported massive opening sales for its Oonies range, which launched in August. The unique creative property from Moose mesmerises kids with inﬂatable mini balloons that magically stick together, allowing them to create fun characters, cool games and set their ownchallenges. Mark Hunt, Marketing Manager at Character Options, said: “Oonies offer kids a completely new play pattern; it’s like no other toy. It has captivated the core audience and that has been fundamental to its success. Sales prior to our marketing campaign were impressive, but now we are advertising it has really taken off.” Oonies starred in a dedicated video by top YouTuber Tiana and her channel Toys AndMe, which has amassed over 2.5 million views to date. Extended TV activity will continue to support the range throughout AW.
Ria joins SJRAssociates SJr-Associates’ Steve richardson is proud to welcome his daughter ria to the company. ria joins the company, which distributes Treﬂ and Dolu in the UK, ahead of the busy Christmas period.
into robots and teaches kids ages seven and older how to code. Kids bring their LEGO creations to life by adding movement, sound, and personality via an easy-to-use appbased coding tool. Learning Resources’ Puzzle Globe teaches kids geography through tactile play. Each puzzle piece is a continent that fits into a hole on the globe, making it easy for little ones to place. Fans can build their own R2-D2 droid with the Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit from littleBits. Using littleBits’ electronic blocks and a free Droid Inventor app, kids can teach the R2 Unit new tricks, such as Drive
Mode, Self-Nav, or Force Mode, or listen to one of 20 authentic R2 Unit sounds from the films. Kids can customise their droid, and the app also includes challenges to promote kids’ creativity. Digital meets physical with FisherPrice’s Think & Learn Teach ’n Tag Movi, which gets pre-schoolers moving and helps them develop gross motor and listening skills. The robot friend includes three different
University Games acquires Paul Lamond Games University games Corporation has acquired paul Lamond games. The US-based buyer, which trades as University games in the UK, plans to run the two firms as separate entities to expand its footprint. “I am delighted that we will be part of University games and this is a great transition for the company,” said richard Wells, Managing Director of paul Lamond games. “University games is a great fit for us and has a similar business model in the US to the paul Lamond way of doing things here in the UK.”
Fair play! Play Fair will return for the second year this month. Open to families, fans and media, the joint venture between the US Toy Association and LeftField Media has nearly doubled in size for 2017. The event is presented by Spin Master and Toys “R” Us, and expects to welcome more than 20,000 families and fans with hands-on exhibits and demonstrations, aweinspiring displays, talent appearances, dozens of toy and entertainment brands, and never-before-seen exclusives.
modes of play and six interactive games. M.A.X. from Spin Master is an expansion of the popular Meccano line, dubbed “the most interactive Meccano robot to date.” It combines artificial intelligence with customisable programming to create a one-of-a-kind robot companion for older kids. It includes infrared navigation, games, customisable apps, and much more.
want to be among the ﬁrst to see the hottest new toys and games from north american manufacturers? be sure to visit the 115th north american International Toy fair, taking place february 17 to 20 in new York City. Visit www.ToyfairnY.com for more information.
COFFEE BREAK Suzie Howes, Head of Licensing and Marketing at Rainbow Designs, reveals some of the hottest products coming in 2018, supporting retailers and more! Tell us a little about what is new for the ﬁnal quarter of 2017 and what we can look forward to in 2018? It has been an incredible year of products for us and this quarter has been no exception with the very successful launch of our inaugural Disney range, the Classic Winnie-thePooh 100 Acre Wood Collection. The range brings to life Disney’s much loved and iconic characters in a whimsical new nursery collection of high-quality plush toys. We have any abundance of intriguing new product lines to look forward to in 2018 as well. We will be kicking off the year with yet another very exciting, but distinctly different, Disney collection known as Disney Baby. A fantastic colourful collection of character-led developmental toys starring Disney’s most iconic characters: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Tigger, Dumbo and Winnie-the-Pooh. Rainbow Designs is a leader in licensed plush – tell us about some of the standout relationships and products? We are The Home of Classic Characters and our success is founded on the long term, nurtured relationships with some of the great, timeless brands. These high-calibre brands, such as Peter Rabbit, Paddington, Guess How Much I Love You and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, have proved themselves in the children’s category time and time again. However, it is also about the fostering of new relationships to enhance our portfolio, with strong new and iconic brands such as Disney. How does Rainbow Designs help retailers sell more? Delivering strong licenses that retailers can rely upon, along with packing that contains clear product feature messaging. We also help our retailers by offering in-store merchandising solutions, POS where appropriate and for our independents retailers, smaller pack sizes where we can. And lastly, what sets Rainbow Designs apart from your competitors? At Rainbow we always strive to be Best in Baby. Using our wealth of experience and expertise in the baby market this allows us to produce high quality, innovative and contemporary products.
NEWS HTI team expands HTI has welcomed a number of new key individuals to its growing UK Sales team. John Carlaw joins as Senior National Account Manager after spending the last three and a half years at Tesco as one of the Senior Buying Mangers on Toys for the UK and Central Europe. Clare Finley has returned to the team as National Account Manager after previous roles at Worlds Apart and The Design Company. Meanhwile, Andrea Lenehan has secured her new role as Senior National Account Manager, after doing “an outstanding job” in developing her account base within the National Account TeamFurther additions to the product team include Danielle Gorner, Hannah Booth and Lily Chadwick.
Posh Paws welcomes Laura Posh Paws International has welcomed Laura Bull to the team to provide maternity cover for Group Brand Director Lauren Shipman. Although Lauren’s baby isn’t due until next February, Lauren has already taken up her new post to ensure a smooth transition. Formerly Marketing Manager at Schleich, Lauren will oversee Posh Paws’ major campaigns for 2018, as well as devising and implementing marketing strategies across the company’s ranges. David Martin, MD, Posh Paws, said Laura will be “invaluable in light of the huge marketing plans we have going ahead in 2018”.
TOY FAIR TALK Best of British London Toy Fair welcomes exhibitors and visitors from around the world, but it’s also a showcase of the very best homegrown talent. TnP found out why the UK’s premier toy trade event is so important to British companies big and small
Stephanie Davies, Marketing Executive, David Westnedge Ltd We formed the company in 1979 in South East London. Since then we have expanded and now sell a complete range of all types of playing cards, traditional games such as backgammon, and family fun. At the same time we distribute the Piatnik range of jigsaw puzzles.
Nicki Gumbrell, Sales Director, Gibsons Gibsons have been entertaining generations with their games and jigsaws since 1919 and are proud to offer a wide range of puzzles, games and gifts for the whole family. We have attended Toy Fair from the very beginning in 1954. Toy Fair is always the first chance for us to showcase our newest products and this year we will have our brand new Rubik’s cube puzzle and our new quick-play game, Pixit.
The Toy Fair is an important springboard for us and is an excellent way of marketing our entire range to the UK and overseas market. It enables us to see existing customers and make new contacts.
Nick Saunders, Sales and Marketing Director, Brainstorm Ltd Toy Fair is such an important trade event for the UK and Irish toy market and our attendance is never in question. There is a great buzz at the show and we greatly welcome the opportunity to meet with our customers. The meetings are both productive and fun.
Graeme Fraser-Bell, CE O, Accentuate Games Ltd “Toy Fair is our most im po of the year. The interna rtant show tio the fair is attractive to us nal scope of are UK-based and the va, but as we of our revenue is genera st majority the fact that it’s UK cent ted in the UK compelling reason for ou ric is the most r investment. 10
Majen Immink, Director of Fairs and Special Events, BTHA
“British design has always been in high demand from the international toy industry. The British toy industry is incredibly innovative and designdriven, with 19 per cent of all European trademarks of toys and games coming from the UK. There were around 63,400 brand new toy lines introduced into the UK in 2016 alone, with many of these being showcased for the first time at the London Toy Fair. Events like Toy Fair have a key role to play in helping companies to succeed, and we always strive to create the best platform for companies to promote these new products with clients from the UK and abroad.”
Jeremy Bond, Director, MyMuro Muro started off as a simple activity board I built for my nephew almost three years ago, and have been slowly developing ever since into the modular, educational activity wall we have today. In May 2017 we raised £35,000 on Kickstarter and have recently won a WeWork Creator Award. I’ve attended the last two Toy Fairs as a delegate, and have found it a great place to get inspired and network. This year we’re going to be having our full launch there so it’s certainly a significant date for us.
Media masterclass The BTHA has released its annual Ask the Media video for Toy Fair 2018, outlining all the important PR opportunities available to Toy Fair exhibitors through the organisers, as well as interviews with journalists and bloggers on their expectations for the show. The journalists taking part this year are the BBC’s Steffan Powell, The Sun’s Jane Hamilton and award-winning parenting blogger Franca Desjadins. The video is presented by the BTHA’s PR Manager Rebecca Deeming, who says: “Our goal with ‘Ask the Media’ is to ensure exhibitors have all the information they need to make the most of their time at Toy Fair. Watch the video online and learn about what makes a good story, how to snag coverage, and how to avoid common PR mistakes.
Galloping onto YouTube Hasbro is premiering the first episode of its brand new My Little Pony: Equestria Girls series on YouTube. Hitting the streaming site on 17 November, fans can expect more than 45 new, fun and exciting episodes from the series, with a new episode rolling out each Friday following the premiere. In addition to the new TV series, Hasbro is releasing a brand new line of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls fashion dolls, available to purchase in the UK from January 2018.
You’re hired! The toy industry temporarily welcomed the contestants on this year’s The Apprentice recently, as Lord Alan Sugar tasked the teams with selling toy robots. WowWee’s Coder MiP and Alpha Animation and Toys’ Drone Force were the stars of the challenge, with contestants pitching the toys to independent retailers – including The Entertainer founder Gary Grant. “The selected team impressed me with their enthusiasm and questioning of the product features,” said Lauren DeLord, Senior Marketing Manager for Jazwares, the UK Distributor for WowWee. “Coder MiP is a fantastic product that is fun and also helps kids develop their coding skills!” Alpha’s UK Country Manager Mark Hyndman said: “We were so excited to have the opportunity to pitch our innovative Drone Collection to the teams on such an iconic show. The fact that one of the teams ended up pitching it to key retailers was just amazing.” 10
Prints charming The newsstands will soon be bursting with new kids magazines, following a number of recent launches. Signature has teamed with Epoch making toys for the launch of We Love Sylvanian Families, a one-off magazine to coincide with the toy company’s Christmas marketing campaign. Panini also recently launched Ben 10 magazine, a new four-weekly magazine aimed at four to eight year olds based on the hit Cartoon Network TV series. Meanwhile Egmont Publishing launched a new magazine dedicated to all things Descendants, the Disney Channel Original Movie.
Oddbods’ Emmy nod One Animation’s hit animated series Oddbods is in the running for a gong at this year’s International Emmy Kids Awards. The dialogue-free show currently airs in more than 100 countries on free-to-air, paid-for channels and SVOD. One Animation CEO Sashim Parmanand says: “We are incredibly honoured to receive this Emmy nomination.”
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Rise of fall
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All Children Sept 16 vs Sept 17 Sep-16
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elcome to the Media Report for September the first month of the autumn. For the first time we are reporting viewing levels for all Children, all Boys and all Girls. We have seen dramatic drops in viewing levels for some time for the various sub groups, so we have decided to look at the above and try and find out which of these groups are causing the shortfalls in viewing. When we look at all children we see there is a decline in viewing to the tune of 9.7 per cent, with the largest fall in viewing from Tiny Pop, 48.1 per cent, followed by Disney, 30 per cent. On a positive note Pop, Nick Junior, Nickelodeon and Channel 5 are all doing well. TOP 10 RE Our feelings are if the ERS A rest of the autumn months SPENDAN follow suit it is going to UP BY SIVE S be a tough autumn. IMPRE CENT Looking at the viewing R E 50 P levels for the girls, we see that overall the market is down by 7.4 per cent. Again we see the biggest drop in viewing coming from Tiny Pop, down by 57.3 per cent, followed by CiTVB, down by 53.9 per cent. We see that Pop is strong for this group and is market leader, followed by Nick Junior and Nickelodeon. A slightly different picture for the Boys overall. They are down by 12.6 per cent, with the biggest decline in viewing coming from Nicktoons, down by 43.1 per cent, followed by Disney Junior, down by 40.1 per cent. The reported expenditure for the top 10 spenders are up by an impressive 50 per cent and the total market is up by 54.4 per cent. When we look at the brand count, which is the number of products on television, there are 45 more products in September 2017 than 2016. In the next report we will return to looking at both Girls and Boys 4-9 years and Housewives with Children Pre-school.
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Boys 4-9 TVRs Sept 16 vs Sept 17 Sep-17
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Girls 4-9 TVRs Sept 16 vs Sept 17 Sep-16
Sept 2016 Toy Company TV Expenditure
Sept 2017 Toy Company TV Expenditure
Mookie Toys Mga Ent Vtech Electronics Ltd Character Options Ltd Imc Toys Uk Ltd Flair Leisure Prod Ltd Spin Master Toys Ltd Mattel Uk Ltd John Adams Leisure Ltd Hasbro (Uk) Ltd
364,524 602,187 609,353 725,535 756,551 856,948 859,186 927,053 1,301,054 1,876,892
Zapf Creations Uk Drumond Park Ltd Playmobil Uk Ltd Vtech Electronics Ltd Flair Leisure Prod Ltd Mattel Uk Ltd Character Options Ltd Spin Master Toys Ltd John Adams Leisure Ltd Hasbro (Uk) Ltd
632,812 641,013 644,349 1,089,904 1,217,383 1,290,361 1,408,496 1,540,839 1,770,201 3,058,460
For more information on viewing levels please contact Mike Penfold. email@example.com Tel: 01494 763178. All graphs and information supplied by Global Media Services
Trolls date rolls closer Universal Pictures is bringing Trolls 2 to cinemas earlier than previously scheduled. The sequel to the 2016 animated hit Trolls will now hit cinemas on Valentine’s Day, 14 February 2020, two months earlier than the previously slated 10 April
2020 release date. Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, who was behind the movie’s breakout single Can’t Stop the Feeling, will both reprise their roles voicing Poppy and Branch.
Monster smash New The Last Jedi trailer lands A new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi touched down last month. Airing on US sports network ESPN, the teaser gave fans their first extended look at the next movie in the galaxyspanning saga. The trailer touched on all the major characters that made it out of 2015’s The Force Awakens unscathed, with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega as heroes Rey and Finn, antagonist Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver, and Mark Hamill’s triumphant return as Luke Skywalker. A new poster was also shared on social media, racking up hundreds of thousands of likes and shares, as pre-sale tickets that went live after the trailer all snapped up. Star Wars: The Last Jedi forces its way into cinemas 15 December, 2017.
A holiday-themed snapshot gives fans their first glimpse of Hotel Transylvania 3, the forthcoming entry in Sony Pictures Animation’s hit CGI series. The monster movie, this time set around a surprise cruise for Dracula, Frank, Wayne the werewolf and the rest of the ‘Drac Pack’, features an all star cast, including Adam Sandler, Mel Brooks, Steve Buschemi, Selena Gomez and more. It’s set to haunt UK cinemas from 27 July 2018.
Barbie’s big-screen splash Barbie fans were treated to a new feature-length adventure with the October release of Barbie Dolphin Magic in cinemas nationwide. The new entertainment theme is supported by a fantastic product range, so little ones can recreate the magic at home. Key products that will feature on TV include lead doll Barbie Dolphin Magic Snorkel Fun Friends and a fun new vehicle Barbie Dolphin Magic Boat. Wendy Hill, Brand Activation Director Mattel UK said: “The theatrical roll-out is part of an exciting new content strategy for Barbie that sees the brand engage with even more children, with over 1300 minutes of content in 2018, which is three times more than in 2017.”
Block buster Warner Bros. landed its second successful hit LEGO movie of the year in October. Following up February’s The LEGO Batman Movie, The LEGO Ninjago Movie rounded out a one-two punch for the studio’s toy-inspired franchise, opening at the top of the box office. Based on LEGO’s ninja-themed brand, the film topped £3.6m in its opening weekend, kicking the critically acclaimed Blade Runner 2049 from number one. 12
Knight to remember Vivid is leading the charge in empowering pre-schoolers with its new Nella the Princess Knight master toy range. From figures to role-play, TnP found out more about the highly-anticipated launch
n empowering role model for young girls and boys, animated series Nella the Princess Knight has become and instant favourite with pre-schoolers. And now the action is leaving the screen and entering the lives of fans in a new master toy range from Vivid. Vivid has partnered with Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products to bring Nella and her unicorn bestie Trinket to life in an extensive toy range. From dolls and plush, to figures, playsets and role-play toys, kids will be able to recreate their favourite moments from the show — or create their own stories — at home or on the go, when the range launches in January 2018. The animated series follows Nella, an unconventional eight year old who possesses the traditional, royal qualities of a princess, like compassion and grace,
while also embodying the courage and determination of a brave knight. Nella is always there to embark on daring quests to save the kingdom should trouble arise through her unique ability to transform from traditional princess into Nella the Princess Knight. Vivid Brand Manager Catherine Scott tells us more about the toy range: “The Adventure Collection figure sets contain a highly decorated 3.5in scale figure, a friend or accessory, and a badge or hairclip for the girl, so they can act out stories with Nella and her friends. We were keen to ensure each item in the range is ready to play, which is why we chose to make our opening price point more than just single figure packs.” Alongside the figures is the unique Style Me sets, which include an articulated Princess or Knight Nella doll and come with cute accessories and a concealed comb for fans to style Nella’s hair. “We loved the idea of hiding the comb in Nella’s tiara and shield, to add a little Nella magic,” says Catherine. In plush, the Cuddle Plush line features an assortment of highly detailed Princess Nella and Knight
CATHERINE SAYS… “Nella is an inspiring and empowering role model to young girls, and we are working hard to ensure our toys encapsulate those values, as well as the excitement of her adventures.”
Fact! Nella the Princess Knight was Nick Jr.’s top show when it launched in May Source: BARB, All Homes, Nick Jr, Kids 4-15, May 2017
Nella soft toys, along with a plush version of her trusty unicorn Trinket. Continuing the hair play theme, the soft-bodied Talk & Sing Nella has ‘real’ hair for added play value. With high-action heroics at the centre of the show, role-play is a particular focus for Vivid, as Catherine explains: “We’re really excited about the opportunity Nella presents for action role play, which is very relevant to her character, and unique for girl-skewed pre-school properties,” she says. A set that incudes Nella’s iconic Knightly Heart pendant, which is the key to her transformation from princess to knight in the animation, changes colour and lights up when pressed, with phrases and sounds from the show. And Nella’s Sparkle Sword is also part of the range, and something the Vivid team is “particularly proud of” according to Catherine. The Sparkle Sword comes with a tiara, which can be worn, but can also be used to unlock more play features on the Sparkle Sword. When clicked into the hilt of the sword, it magically unlocks more phrases and motion-activated sound effects. “We believe it will be a pivotal product, and it has been a feature of many selfie’s of Vivid’s Princess Knights in the office during the development!” Vivid’s Nella the Princess Knight master toy range will launch in January 2018. Contact 01483 449944 or visit www.vividtoysandgames.co.uk for more information.
Top toys for boys
Christmas top 10 Harrods has unveiled its top 10 toys for Christmas 2017, with a mix of traditional and high-tech playthings. Stewart Mancey, Harrods’ Head of Toy Buying, said: “Of course, traditional cuddly plush gifts are still ﬁrmly on the list. However, technology is becoming a huge part of the way children play (and learn), so there are lots of mini-tech gifts for little ones to choose from his year.” Harrods’ Christmas picks are: • Cubetto, Primo • 2017 bear, Harrods x Steiff • Curious Cars, SAM Labs • Interactive Spider-Man, Sphero • Karl Lagerfeld Choupette cat (limited edition), Steiff • Boost Creative Toolbox, LEGO • Cozmo robot, Anki • Laser X, Character Options • SoundMoovz, Character Options • Nasa Apollo Saturn V, LEGO
Asda names new CEO Asda’s President and CEO, Sean Clarke, is to step down from his post at the end of the year. He leaves after just 18 months in the role, and will be replaced by Deputy Chief Executive and CCO Roger Burnley, picture, left. Walmart International CEO Dave Cheesewright said the move was planned: “Roger was purposefully brought back to Asda to partner with Sean ahead of the transition to Roger taking up the position of CEO.” During his tenure, Sean helped steer the Walmart-owned grocer to its first quarter of profit in three years, posting 1.8 per cent growth this August.
The gift experts at retailer Menkind have put together their ultimate guide of toys for boys of all ages. Whether it’s for little ones, fathers, brother or nephews, these are the 12 products Menkind see topping the wish lists this December: ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Motion Control Drone Wall Climbing Spider Bright Bugz Evolution SoundMoovz Laser X Stormtrooper Decanter Selfie Drone Hyperdrone Racing Kit Vizor Gamer Slush Puppie Machine Feisty Pets Kawasaki Hover Board
Quids in! While most retailers are no longer accepting the old, round pound coins, your old money is more than welcome at the The entertainer, which is accepting the classic golden nugget until 31 December 2017. The entertainer’s Katie Gritt said: “We wanted to extend the time period for accepting old pound coins to help communities in the run up to Christmas when every penny counts! The cut off point for spending the old pound coins in our stores is 31 December, meaning there is plenty of time to dig them out and make use of them.” -
Eason expands Toymaster member eason, which joined the buying group in 2015, has opened a new branch. The latest store to join eason’s ﬂeet of locations around Ireland will open its doors in ennis, Co. Clare. To get in touch with the new store, contact Alan Carty on 00353 65 6897901.
OnBuy lists two millionth line
Strong first half Nisa Retail has seen total sales grow 12.4 per cent during the 26 weeks to 1 October, compared with the same period in 2016. Sales were driven by strong growth in member expansion and recruitment, with 409 new stores during the period compared to last year. The positive result comes as the board announces Arnu Misra as interim CEO to replace outgoing CEO Nick Read, who announced his departure in September this year. Nisa Chairman Peter Hartley said: “I am pleased to report strong trading in the first six months of the year… We are delighted to have Arnu as interim CEO; he has a wealth of retail experience and is ideally placed to lead Nisa as we seek to optimise the service, benefits and opportunities we can bring our members.”
British online marketplace OnBuy. com has listed its two millionth product, reaching another major milestone in its rapid growth since launching less than a year ago. Since going live last November, the site now sees traffic surpassing 300 users a month. OnBuy MD Cas Paton (pictured) said: “To reach two million live products is a real milestone for us.”
Demonstrating success Epoch making toys demonstrated why its arts and crafts brand Aquabeads is so popular with an in-store campaign across 40 Smyths stores in the UK and ROI. The Creative Keepers demo days took place over the recent half term, and saw a high attendance that translated into sales. Designed to introduce consumers to Aquabeads, the events allowed children to make their own creations and then take them home. The demo days form part of a larger marketing strategy which includes pre-Christmas TV advertising, PR, and heightened social media activity before the key Christmas selling period.
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Toys T N Playthings
NATurAl HiSTory MuSEuM
The best is history Claire, tell us about your career and journey to your role at the Natural History Museum.
Claire Bevan retail operations Manager at the Natural History Museum talks educational toys, balancing fun and authenticity, and making retail part of the experience at one of the most popular visitor attractions in the uK
We’re always looking out for trends to jump on them if we can make them relevant to the museum and science
I started here last August and came from Waterstones. They were a really great organisation to work for. The high street is evolving and the customers wanted something different in a shop, somewhere that’s part of the community; somewhere they can drop in and spend some time. Waterstones were great at getting onto that and making their shops relevant to the communities. The Natural History Museum has lots of the same kinds of messages. It’s much more than just trying to sell something.
How is working for a museum charity different to mainstream retailing?
For me it’s about ensuring that, when you’re undertaking commercial activities, your products and ranges are embedded into the museum’s ethos, inspired by the museum and that your staff know where those products come from when they’re in your shop. We’re here to inspire children, adults, everyone; to help them learn about science and the natural world. And whatever they’ve taken away from the museum, retail needs to be part of that experience. Having shops within such an inspirational place is something that’s very different.
How many shops are you buying for – including online presence? There’s the online shop at www.nhmshop.co.uk, and we also have three permanent shops: The Dino Store, dedicated to dinosaurs, which is opposite the dinosaur gallery; The Museum Shop, which is the main one just off the Hintze Hall and is aimed at everyone; and The Cranbourne Boutique, which offers more adultfocused ranges like highend jewellery, replicas and paintings. Then we’ve got special exhibition shops, meaning we have seven shops going into Christmas.
Who is your typical customer and what is their average spend?
What is your mix of product like?
We’re here to inspire children, adults, everyone
We get certain groups more than others: loads of school groups, lots of schoolchildren with a fiver to spend, lots of families. We get tourists and other visitors who are attracted by events. We also do Dawnosaurs, an event that’s aimed at autistic children or those with Asperger’s. It takes place early in the morning when it’s quiet. We also do Dino Snores, a sleepover event where children come at night. Average spend in the shops is around £12. We don’t track it by segment but it varies by store and product group. We have everything from the £2 eraser up to £100 jewellery or £200 Shackleton jacket.
Fact! Toys represent 35-40% of the NHM’s retail revenue
ACE up the sleeve Our bestsellers are mostly children’s product, especially dinosaur product. Our NHM branded lines do very well — we offer our own science products, like microscopes developed with our own scientists, and they do really well.
How important are toys to sales overall? Toys are very important. We are a family-orientated museum, so it’s a very important sector for us. It’s not just about the revenue, but also about the fact those ranges help deliver the core values of the museum. Toys have to be educational, fun and relevant to what is going on in the museum. Toys and games account for 35-40 per cent of our revenue. It gets bigger or smaller depending on what exhibitions we’re focusing on. When it’s dinosaurs, it’s kids, kids, kids, though we do have some great products for adults too, including cool lamps and eggcups. There are key spikes in sales: half terms in February and October and the summer holidays. Holidays in general are huge for us.
Do you have anything special planned for Museum Shop Sunday?
“It’s a really good idea. We’ve been involved with The Association for Cultural Enterprises (ACE) because they are a great organisation and it’s just really great to have an event which showcases the museums, their shops and what retail is trying to achieve for the institutions they’re in. There are some fantastic museum shops out there, including us of course. There are some amazing products which you can’t get anywhere else and I think the public love to support museums in that way because they really get something extra. “Essentially it’s going to be about discount activity that weekend, and we’ll be offering in the shop what we have online – something we don’t normally do in store. There will also be demos and learning activities as well for children. It’ll be familyorientated, fun drop-ins, so when people come in the shop they can just enjoy it – they don’t have to plan too much.” The Museum Shop Sunday initiative takes place 26 November at some of the uK’s leading museums, including the NHM, The British library and The imperial War Museum. 19
Natural History Museum
The number of visitors the Natural History Museum welcomes annually What categories work particularly well for you? Plush is the biggest category and the majority of that is dinosaurs lots and lots of cuddly dinosaurs. Our biggest selling item is our T-Rex in his jumper, and we do have a really popular Triceratops as well. They’re mainly priced around £12-15, depending on whether they have t-shirts. Our master toy licensee Wild Republic is our biggest supplier. They develop lots of our ranges with our buyers here and make them relevant to the natural world, making sure they’re accurate and get through the sign-off process!
Where do you source products? There are a number of key suppliers that the buyers work with to develop their own ranges. It’s important that products are accurate and scientifically accurate, and we work closely with suppliers who can deliver that for us. For instance, recently we launched the Museum Monopoly
Dinosaurs game, which is great, really fun but everything had to be checked by the scientists – every fact, all the illustrations, everything. It can be quite an involved process getting it all done.
Has the rise in prominence of STEM/ STEAM in the curriculum been good for toy sales? Because STEM is all about encouraging children to engage with science and develop an interest in the world, it’s something we were already really passionate about, and do well with.
Our bestsellers are mostly children’s product, especially dinosaur product
Has this shift made toys a more prominent part of your product mix? We already have really strong sales of those types of products because the visitors who come here are really inspired by science, dinosaurs or volcanoes.
Do non-science-themed toys work for you? For instance, did you jump on the fidget spinner craze? We’re always looking out for trends to jump on if we can make them relevant to the museum and science, but we don’t necessarily go for it just because it’s a craze. But if it has relevance to the natural world or the museum itself we’ll definitely go for it. We noticed that, when the Jurassic World film came out, it had a massive impact on our sales - you get that general public interest again in dinosaurs and excitement with children. We are the dinosaur museum, after all,
and we offered a range of Jurassic World merchandise. Children will then come in and ask for, say, a Spinosaurus and so the buyers will develop the plush alongside that. Dinosaurs become celebrities in Jurassic Park! However, we have to make them relevant and accurate. The Velociraptors who are featured in Jurassic Park are not accurate and the scientific research is very different. They are actually smaller than shown in the film and had feathers, so we try to illustrate that within the plush.
And how about online? Online we tend to sell more higher value stuff. In store it’s all about the pick-up lines that kids will play with at the time. Online it’s a more considered purchase. We’ll sell lots more of the games like Museum Dinosaur Guess Who, and our own Operation Dinosaurs game and Museum Monopoly Dinosaurs game. The products are unique, and no one else can offer our version of, say, the Monopoly set.
What’s next for you at the Natural History Museum? We’ve got Dippy on Tour next year, where our famous Diplodocus known as Dippy is going on tour around the UK and we have a product range to sit alongside that as well. Very exciting!
Wee are W are a U UK Kb based ased D Design esign & W Wholesale holesale ccompany ompany ssupplying upplying high quality soft toys of all shapes and sizes!
www.wilberrytoys.com TNP - The Puppet Company - Advert Template - New.indd 37
Tel: +44 (0) 1462 446040 10/12/2017 2:40:49 PM
Toy talk Retailers are important to us here at TnP. We love chatting to them each month to get industry insights into what is selling well and we ask some key questions...
TnP loves to hear your views. This month we chat with retailers around the country to see what’s selling well and surprises of the year so far...
JON AMPHLETT Toytastik, Chepstow, Monmouthshire What’s selling well for you currently? As we move into the festive period, the larger more traditional toys are starting to move off the shelves, such as the wooden train sets from BigJigs, along with SmartMax, Magformers, and Engino. We also love the Moover Prams and trucks and finally we mustn’t forget the move towards the metal ride-ons we sell from Great Gizmos and the scooters and balance bikes from Kiddimoto. Dinosaurs and Unicorns almost sell themselves (we train them well here in Wales!), with every child who enters our shop seeming to have a soft spot for one or both. With our customers also becoming more and more environmentally and ethically conscious in the products they choose Play Mais, Plan Toys, Petit Collage and Lanka Kade can meet their needs, which is reflected in the continued increase in sales of these brands for us in 2017. What’s been the biggest surprise of 2017 for you - either in terms of product sales or trading within the toy industry in general? Our quickest and possibly surprise seller this year has been the Plus Plus range from DKL Marketing, the 100-piece tubes, which offer great value for money and work well as a travel game or birthday party present. Are you all set for Christmas product-wise? Finally, what are your top tips for ‘seasonal must-haves’? While larger companies continue to push for smaller independent retailers to purchase online. I certainly think it’s important if not essential that we develop a personal rapport. Therefore, we tend to work with companies that we like and trust, and this very often comes down to scheduling regular meetings with company representatives or having telephone conversations with senior management/business owners. Working with key contacts within our supply chain we are confident with our whole product range, and what currently sits on our shelves and being played with in our demo areas are the best selection we can offer and provide the highest quality and value for money for our customers not just for Christmas but throughout the year. To this end, our top tips for Christmas, remain family games such as Giestes Blitz, Colour Brain, Ok Play from Big Potato Games and The Think Fun and Retro Range from Paul Lamond and West Design. It would also be remiss not to mention the magic of the Irish Fairy Door Company and the wonderful range of doors and accessories that are real hit this time of year.
LINDSAY MEYER-NICHOLAS Toyville, Bristol The Toyville team are celebrating their first birthday after opening in Bedminster, Bristol last October What’s selling well for you currently? Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty has been incredibly popular for us for both boys and girl and interestingly covering a massive age range too, from ages five through to 13! It’s just been flying out. We got a tip off from the retailer interview in your magazine, decided to give it a try and it’s just sold really well. Lottie Dolls have also been selling really well. What has been the biggest surprise of 2017? Well actually, the popularity of Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty has been a bit of a surprise. We’ve had it in for two months and it’s just taken off really quickly and has completely exceeded our expectations. We are also quite surprised how some of the days have gone this month. We were randomly really busy last Tuesday for no particular reason! What are you tipping as a must-have for the seasonal period? I think Brio Rail is likely to be a winner as always as it was for us last year, and so we are ramping up on our range in preparation for that to be popular once again. We’ll be stocking up with that, and also board games are always a popular choice at Christmas time, particularly Esdevium’s Dobble at the moment.
KAREN DORN TheForgottenToyShop.co.uk Putting customer service and quality product first, Karen built The Forgotten Toy Shop up from a market stall in 2009 to a popular website and stockist for local boutiques What’s selling well for you currently? For me the main item I stock that is selling really well is the Personalised Wooden Train Names. They are a great gift for children of all ages. What has been the biggest surprise of 2017 - in terms of product, sales or the trading in the toy industry in general? I feel that a lot of people are really tightening their belts and finding the cheapest shopping deals that are around, which means going to places such as Amazon or the supermarkets, who can really slash prices on products. Are you all set for Christmas order-wise, and what are you tipping as a must-have for the seasonal period? I am a little behind with being ready for Christmas stock. I hope that I can have a good selection for my customers.
MARK MITCHELL Crocodile Toys, Cirencester, Gloucestershire Established for over 30 years, Crocodile has a local reputation for helpful, cheery staff and quality toys What’s selling well for you currently? For us, it’s all about two areas: good quality wooden toys from people like Indigo Jamm and John Crane, and then the other area that is very much growing is family games, particularly from Big Potato. There is a whole series, but Colour Brain stands out the most for us also. Our crafts line as well as Orchard Games is always strong for us too. What has been the biggest surprise of 2017? The lack of stability within the industry, in that you used to be able to predict at a start of the year what would be a base minimum for weekday and then also for the weekend, but now there is such fluctuation and it varies, there is no real baseline. Are you all set for Christmas order-wise? What are you tipping as a must-have for the seasonal period? We are very selective here, and to be honest I am still searching for four to six new products a week, while simultaneously stripping out four to six products a week. It’s an ever increasing challenge!
NATALIE MURPHY Tullabeg Toys, Dunstable, Bedfordshire “All the top toys delivered in a flash” is Tullabeg’s promise to local customers What’s selling well for you currently? Character Options is very strong with both Laser X and Oonies. MGA has some great product, so for them L.O.L Surprise! Dolls, First Flyers and First Drones, and Flair always does well for us. Jo Jo Siwa is also doing very well. What›s been the biggest surprise of 2017 for? Bush Baby World and Paint Station, both from Golden Bear, have turned out to be excellent sellers for us. Are you all set for Christmas product-wise? Well we have plenty of stock of key lines so we hope so! We try to phase our orders quite early on in the year based on what we know will be strong to ensure we have good Christmas stock — but it’s never an exact science!
Trouble ahead The Independent takes time out of the Christmas rush to highlight a few key areas he feels that, through a bit of win-win negotiating with suppliers, might actually help the toy trade at large
feel the principle of good business between retailer and supplier supporting each other is changing for the worse. I can’t help but have a good rant at this considering we are currently heading full steam into the season of madness and price slashing. This puts everyone who needs to make a living in toys under the microscope for retailing toys
Best sellers: VOLUME: 1) L.O.L Dolls – MGAE 2) LEGO Ninjago Minifigures – LEGO 3) L.O.L Sister Dolls – MGAE VALUE: 1) L.O.L Dolls – MGAE 2) L.O.L Sister Dolls – MGAE 3) JoJo Siwa Singing Doll GP Flair
at their SRPs. I am going to be purely selfish here and purposefully not focus on the toy trade in general, but detail out a few realities of what I face in my business as an independent toy retailer, and key areas where I look to make some money, which I believe I am entitled to do. Movie launches: Grocers and majors will do feature end caps and cause endless hassle as they simply try to highlight value. A couple of fairly recent examples are the Minions movie product - which put a huge amount of indies in trouble as some had bought into this range on an FOB basis (thankfully not us though) - Cars 3 and Avengers. Crazes: We did really well
I saw a butcher’s with fidget spinners earlier this year for goodness sake!
out of looms and fidget spinners, but you could buy these anywhere, and I mean anywhere. I saw a butcher’s with fidget spinners earlier this year for goodness sake! My issue here is not with the supplier, this is not within their control, but surely Trading Standards could have done far more to stop so many non-CE-marked products getting into the country and being sold by every shop and market stall? Christmas: Need I say anymore? In the run up to our most important time of year, the majors decide to battle each other, slash prices and see who can give away the most profit — only to start again in January and demand more margin from the supplier! Collectables: This is a tricky one, as it can’t be helped that larger retailers are in the position to make big decisions, like paying more per item to have stock air freighted in for larger orders. But the fundamental issue is that as an independent
THE SECRET SUPPLIER
The sorry truth of ‘good business’ Is the onus really on suppliers, or is it time The Independent took a different tack this Christmas? suppliers to help overcome the problems associated with the trading strategy of customers who now account for over 50 per cent of all toy volume. We suppliers invest heavily in product development and expensive licenses to create new toys supported by major marketing investment in the hope they deliver the numbers built into the business plan. So naturally,
He is absolutely right on crazes. They should be the bread and butter of the toy trade
t is that time of the year again when, predictably, The Independent looks to the suppliers to resolve the inevitable price battle between retailers with respect to the ‘chosen few’ top toys for Christmas. It is surprising that The Independent looks to his
we suppliers want our toys to be among the top toys for Christmas, even if we know that competitive retail pressure will naturally reduce retailer margins. But strangely enough, The Independent looks to suppliers to sort out the conflict that exists between major retailers as they battle for market share. It is right that The Independent should be purely selfish in his ambition to make decent profit after all his hard and professional work, but is he heading in the right direction? For example, he expects to
retailer, I am regularly out of stock of key lines, with lots on back order, and every time I go to visit one of my larger competitors they always seem to have stock. Promotions: As an independent retailer, I get offered a few promotions to give good value across my stores. But, if I could be so bold to suggest, if larger retailers with their larger orders and more clout would demand more and get more, it doesn’t bode well for us smaller guys who need to compete with threefor-two offers, or 20 per cent discounts, while still working with the supplier to make money
together. Media: This requires no further explanation. I was queried by the Secret Supplier a couple of years ago about putting too much emphasis on the price cutting of the DreamToys, but this has never been the case for my business. I only use it to highlight that the toys people look for, and search for, simply stand out and make me look like I am ripping my customers off based on the degree of price slashing that goes on with these 12 toys each year. Earlier this year it was highlighted to me that customers have zero loyalty nowadays, and
The fundamental issue is that as an independent retailer, I am regularly out of stock of key lines
make money from movie releases (don’t we all!) but it takes a huge amount of luck to pick the box office winners, and managing the inventory issues is a logistical nightmare. Success comes from a very analytical assessment of movie potential. But he is absolutely right on crazes. They should be the bread and butter of the toy trade and they require developing a very keen sense of understanding for what makes crazes work. Unless we have the market-leading skills of Martin Grossman, then many suppliers and
Naturally we suppliers want our toys to be among the top toys for Christmas
retailers will simply be followers, which accounts for the huge spread of distribution and suppliers. And, Mr Independent, Trading Standards officers are victims of local council austerity, sadly. In the case of collectables, if they are successful then they will be in short supply, although most companies make huge efforts to allocate stock fairly despite how it might look in The Independent’s competitors’ stores. Perhaps now is the time for The Independent to look at alternative product strategies, because if he is going to try and compete with the majors then he will get badly bruised. In the disruptive market that we all trade in, fresh ideas and news strategies can prevail, but there is no value in
will simply purchase what they want from whoever has it at the lowest price. I can only agree with this but would suggest the only way to stop this is to stick to our guns and keep prices where they should be, giving everyone a fair share at their own market without beating each other up. Somehow I doubt this will ever change, and I am not in a position to change my entire strategy in the hope I find a way to make money. That simply isn’t realistic.
complaining every year that the bestselling toys deliver the worst margins! We know that, you know that, so now is the time to trade differently.
Demise of the category killer Having everything is almost akin to having nothing in today’s retail climate, so could less really be more?
n September, Toys R Us entered Chapter 11 in the US. The move means that it has breathing space from the demands of its creditors and, possibly, time to get its house in order as it figures out how do deal with its $5bn debt mountain. But what does this mean for the UK offshoot of the US giant and what about the suppliers from whom the US parent is seeking protection? The UK is in fact unaffected by what is happening in the US, but that doesn’t mean that all is rosy. The slightly unpalatable truth is that Toys R Us may actually be a victim of the times we find ourselves in. Way back when, we were informed that the best thing to be in retail was a ‘category killer’. This turned out to mean a store that stocked everything the shopper might think of in a specific retail sector, and it had two key elements: it tended to be very big and it also featured promotions, deals and the sense that it might be cheaper than smaller outfits. Owing to the nature of the proposition, stores of this kind were almost always to be found on the edge of towns and cities, rather than in their centres. Category killers still exist. The difference today is that they are no longer physical, they are online. This is well known and canny terrestrial retailers have been taking steps to put distance between what you find online and the experience of walking into a store and ‘shopping’ in the traditional sense of the word. The problem for Toys R Us is that it really hasn’t moved with the times. There was a flagship Toys R Us on New York’s Times Square. It closed a couple of years ago, but with hindsight, the T-rex that was such a feature of the store could be seen perhaps as a prescient prediction of what was to come. It was a giant store, it had a lot of toys, it even had an in-store Ferris wheel. Trouble was, almost everything it offered was replicated online and the cost of operating in a central part of one of the world’s most expensive retail locations ultimately proved too much of a burden. So that’s the history lesson, but what does this all mean for today’s toyshop owner and those who supply them?
The first point perhaps is that an abundance of choice is really not what physical retail is about anymore. The web does this very well and you won’t be able to compete. The trick is to specialise, either through a niche offering that makes a store a destination, or by having an ability to stock this season’s must-haves. On the latter, it is worth noting how the toy shop sector managed to more or less miss the arrival of fidget spinners this year until they were pretty mainstream, so hoping only to stock the unmissable may prove a vain ambition. Being a specialist, rather than an outsize generalist, may be a good way forward therefore, but it probably still won’t be enough. As has been commented on from time to time in this column, a way has to be found to generate some toy shop ‘magic’, and this will normally involve product demonstrations and standout visual merchandising, neither of which can be achieved by online merchants — at least not yet. Small(er), by this rationale, is probably beautiful, which also means that costs are more likely to be contained and being a little more nimble as far as changing stockholding to meet shifting demands will also be a real possibility. If you are a supplier, however, things may be a little different. Toys R Us remains a big customer for some and the question has to be whether it would make sense to continue to supply a concern that is currently not obliged to pay its creditors, for the moment, in the US? That decision remains in the hands of the individuals concerned and doubtless there are those who will reckon that it is perfectly reasonable to keep on going as normal until events prove otherwise. The real question however is whether category killers have had their day in the face of organisations that offer anything at the click of a key. It’s a real dilemma for suppliers in particular and for those terrestrial retailers that find that their raison d’etre has more or less vanished. Nobody can stand Canute-like against the tide of shifting consumer habits and it is those who bend with the wind that will ultimately survive. Like the tiny mammals that survived the extinction of the dinosaurs, it is the smallest who will see their way through all of this.
An abundance of choice is really not what physical retail is about anymore
John Ryan is Stores Editor at Retail Week. He has worked for the magazine for more than a decade covering store design, visual merchandising and what makes things sell in-store. In a previous life he was a buyer.
Family favourites A
s we edge ever closer to the Christmas period, the number of family films that are broadcast increases on the likes of ITV2 and Channel 4, with favourites such as Despicable Me, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and the Harry Potter franchise attracting family audiences on those dark weekend evenings. Film spots are increasing in popularity Source: Google Trends, 2017. UK Search Term: Minion Toys within the toys and games market, with a key benefit being the additional coverage points mix, this positive correlation goes some way to to traditional TV campaigns these spots offer, suggest that advertising on these free-to-air has a as well as the chance to attract families siting down to positive effect to consumers going online. watch together. Traditionally for a toy advertiser, costs to When looking at the norm for TV investments deploy a heavyweight campaign on the adult channels, outside of the traditional kids commercial outside of kids’ commercial TV, is beyond the budget channels, we can see there has been a 6 per cent level. However, demand on kids’ commercial airtime increase YoY of brands using the likes of ITV2 and is encouraging advertisers and agencies to invest in Channel 4. This percentage will no doubt increase alternative means. These spots, if strategically placed, as we review the effect of Q4, and will also include can certainly aid in building awareness with a family investments from advertisers targeting mum audience. As allocations to these placements are likely directly on the adult channels. For example, in to be reflective of only a small per cent of the overall previous years we have seen investments from marketing budget, it is important to be smart and choose University Games Googly Eyes in Futurama on Sky those spots that are related to the advertised product 1, Mattel’s Barbie Dolls only aired across adults in attempts to drive engagement and potential online channels in Nov-Dec, with spots in Dance Moms search. For example, a plush bear featured within Yogi on 5Star and The Big Bang Theory on E4, among Bear or a toy animal in Cats & Dogs 2. By taking this many other instances. approach, these relevant spots will benefit from further As we look to Q4 and beyond, it is important stand out within the ad-break, which features in most to add an importance to these appointment to instances from other categories. view placements to the overall media mix. Of The family films effect is clearly evident when course, not every TV plan will have sufficient reviewing the latest Google Trends. Taking the example budget levels to afford placements on these of Despicable Me 2, which was broadcast on 15 October, channels that are less cost-effective than that of we can see that UK Google search for Despicable Me 2 kid’s commercial channels, which remain the most increased to a two-week high on the day the film was cost-effective means of reaching mass awareness broadcast (see graph below). among kids in the UK. This increase If you need assistance in search for the determining the film positively optimal marketing split correlates with for your 2018 brands, that of UK Google please do contact us on search of Minion the number below. toys (see graph, Source: BARB, top-right). October 2017 While this is only showing one element of the
Generation Media's Alex Taylor-Smith explores how to make the most of online search spikes for family movies aired on TV, and their respective toy tie-ins
Source: Google Trends, 2017. UK Search Term: Despicable Me 2
Generation Media is the UK and Ireland’s largest independent media buyer of toys and games advertising. Visit generationmedia.co.uk or call 0207 307 7900 to learn more.
what’s n Brand spanking new launches from top toy companies to help you sell more!
Playing with fire Playmobil
01268 548111 www.playmobil.co.uk The hotly anticipated Playmobil How To Train Your Dragon range is heating up at retail. Fan-favourite characters are brought to life in the new range, letting kids reenact their favourite scenes and create new ones, all from the comfort of their own homes. Dragon enthusiasts and young Vikings alike can care for their own pet dragon, with Toothless, Stormfly and Thunderclaw all part of the new range. Once their dragons are trained, dragon riders can head to the Island of Berk and see Drago’s Ship. Beloved teacher Gobber also has his own set with a catapult, as does Eret with his four-shot firing ballista.
Did you know... This is Playmobil’s second venture into entertainment brand licensing, following the release of its Ghostbusters range earlier this year.
Web design Spin Master 01628 535000 www.spinmaster.com Designed to provide hours of interactive fun, MeccaSpider combines construction and programming skills in a high-tech robotic spider. Meccano offers the latest in robotics for kids with this unique STEM toy that draws on concepts used in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to build and control the programmable robot spider. Children will enjoy the creative challenge of constructing and programming the spider alone or as a fun activity with a parent, and feel proud when the creepy crawly robot comes to life using built-in buttons or the free Meccano app on a mobile device. MeccaSpider’s interactive built-in games and modes are a great way to introduce kids to the fun and innovative world of robotics. Kids can interact with the creepy crawly creature in a variety of modes and games. The infrared remote controls the spider toy, which will sense movement, chase down enemies and spray venom in attack mode, actively patrol in guard mode, and move around on its own in autonomous mode, playing songs and sound effects. The programmable robot also comes with built-in games for hours of entertainment.
new Conﬁdence building enGino 0800 988 7065 www.engino.com
Qboidz is compatible with the Engino Toy Engino has System, meaning the introduced an system grows with kids. exciting addition to the world of construction toys with the launch of Qboidz. The Qboidz building system is designed for pre-school children, and is based on the latest STEM principles, enhancing creativity and imagination by combining the Engino snap-fit technology with traditional stacking connectivity. The new, patented design increases a child’s dexterity and perception of 3D space using brightly coloured, connecting bricks with rods that can be connected in multiple directions. Each Qboidz package allows multi-model creations from a variety of themes, including cars, animals, trains, figures, buildings and much more!
Stacks of fun UniVersity GaMes 03334 050120 www.university-games.co.uk
Rave reviews Already receiving rave reviews, Staccups won a Blog On 2017 Award, and will be supported with TV advertising and a targeted PR and digital campaign across all channels, including inﬂuencer outreach.
University Games is taking competition up a level with the ultimate fast action party game, Staccups! Kids can challenge their hand-eye coordination in a frantic race against their opponent to stack all their cups as quickly as possible. Each of the brightly coloured shot-sized cups comes with a base colour and top colour. The challenge is to stack the cups on top of each other on the stacking station, matching the base colour of the cups to the top colour of a stacked cup.
The race is on! the hobby CoMpany 01908 605686 www.hobbyco.net This autumn, top slot manufacturer Carrera has pulled out all the stops to bring race fans the most exciting licenses and themes for its dynamic collection of sets in 1/32 and large 1/24 scale, in both traditional analogue and hi tech digital format. Leading the way, Night Contest sees Lewis Hamilton Sebastian Vettel going wheel to wheel in an epic title battle on a 7.3 metre track, recreating this year’s F1 championship. The officially licensed cars, including driver helmet design, is the ultimate in slot racing detail and performance, with the cars changing lanes in a duel to the finish line.
Did you know... As well as complete sets, Carrera offers a whole range of track extensions, digital components and accessories.
Soft touch Plush toys aren’t just staples of the toy industry, they’re also products that strike an emotional chord. Toys n Playthings spoke to some top plush suppliers to ﬁnd out why the cuddly corner of the market is always one retailers can rely on…
hen you look back on your childhood what is the ﬁrst toy you remember that springs to mind? For many of us it’s that special cuddly friend we used to take everywhere with us, that provided us with some of our earliest memories, and in fact it might well be one of the few childhood treasures you’ve kept – and little wonder when you consider just how much of an emotional pull plush toys have for the consumer. Cuddly toys, be they traditionally made teddy bears, farm or zoo animals or soft versions of today’s most popular children’s characters, are quite simply a staple of the market. But just because plush toys aren’t likely to be something we’ll ever see stagnating on shop shelves, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a wealth of creativity and inventive ideas running right through the
Plush is the staple of every family and also the toy of choice that’s taken everywhere with a child Lauren Shipman, Posh Paws
heart of this industry niche. “Plush toys are the life blood of our business and the foundation of our entire product range,” says Anthony Temple, MD, Rainbow Designs. “Coupled with renowned
classic characters, plush provides a winning combination for us. We describe plush as the 3D articulation of emotional connection. It promotes that special bond and friendship with the child, ultimately creating an afﬁnity with a character that can last a lifetime.” Lauren Shipman, Marketing and Brand Director at Posh Paws, says that plush is at the very core of the company’s business. “We’re delighted to be known by licensors and retail buyers alike for the
quality and detail of our plush,” she explains. “Plush is the staple of every family and also the toy of choice that’s taken everywhere with a child
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Molang Basic Plush Assortment
Talk and Sing Molang and Piu Piu
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And Lauren sees current trends, particularly the appetite for collectable plush will be important “throughout 2018,” she reveals. “I also predict that we’re going to see more innovation in plush design. At Posh Paws we’re currently working on some really cool stuff that we hope to reveal towards the middle of next year,” she adds. “I’d say that licensed plush continues to drive the core of this market – however there is and always will be a demand for generic product too. I think demand for generic plush toys will build over the next year as consumers buy into the latest social trends, as happened with unicorns this year.”
from pre-school to holidays and of course to bed. “It’s also quite often the toy that we won’t let go of even as adults – even if it does live in the loft! We keep this vital toy category fresh by securing the hottest and on-trend licenses around from Disney and Universal to Cartoon Network and now Battersea.” And it seems the whole plush sector is enjoying a buoyant period. “Plush toys always hold a special place in children’s hearts.” Says Nicola Jenkins, Head of Marketing UK, Tomy. “Based on NPD EPoS data, the plush category is up by seven per cent this year to date and driven by both traditional and featured plush toys.”
Trends and timeless appeal Perhaps part of the unique importance of plush toys is the fact that this is a category that combines traditional appeal with the ability to capture the magic of current trends
and popular characters. “To keep the plush category appealing to children (or Plush toys adults!) it’s key to have plushes from hot properties always hold a or licenses, such as Kazoops, special place in Molang, and plushes with children’s hearts special features,” says Nicola. “There are some classic Nicola Jenkins, Tomy evergreen plushes in the market, such as TY, but trends are relevant to the category too. Hatchimals drew my attention this year. I predict 2018 to be an even stronger year for the plush category with continuous growth. Tomy has developed an exciting Molang range including mini collectables and feature plushes. I am looking forward to seeing Molang on the UK retailer’s shelves – it’s already a phenomenal success in France.” And Rainbow’s Anthony agrees: “Trends are important in all aspects of the toy business, and when it comes to plush these are led by fashion and fabric trends.”
While plush toys have obvious appeal right from birth, you might think that there’s an upper age limit when it comes to these kind of products – but people buying soft toys as gifts opens it up to a whole new audience. “It really depends from brand to brand, but of course plush always starts from birth with baby toys and preschool toys dominating the market,” Lauren Shipman says. “Plush can go right up to adults though.”
Cuddly movers and shakers So what have been the best-sellers when it comes to this squeezable sector of the toy market over recent months? “Pikachu Feature plush!” says Nicola. “It’s bright yellow, you can’t miss it on the shelf or in the Christmas catalogues!” “At Rainbow we are fortunate to have a number of top sellers,” Anthony reveals. “These include our timeless brands such as Peter Rabbit, Paddington, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Guess How Much I Love You.” And what about hot toy tips in those all-important ﬁnal months of the year? “For us it’s the new Star Wars Last Jedi Porg,” Lauren reveals. “We’re seeing a huge amount of social interest and presales for our plush Porg before the ﬁlm has even hit screens!”
THE Disney Plush Collectable for 2018! Kids wIll buIld theIr #DIsneysquad wIth all new characters releasIng throughout the year r
CONTACT US : Posh Paws International LTD, Basildon, SS14 3BX, UK. Tel : +44(0) 1268 567317 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Hugs all round! Hasbro 020 8569 1234 www.hasbro.com This year has seen the launch of Hanazuki, Hasbro’s first ever animated digital series available on YouTube, and the arrival of My Little Pony: The Movie in cinemas. With them comes Hasbro’s newest range of cute and cuddly plush toys, which kids can play along with as they imagine being part of their favourite scenes. Additionally, the furReal brand’s offering for 2017 includes a playful tiger, chatty dog and adorable polar bear, all with poseable legs making them perfect for hugging. The Hemka are goofy sidekicks to the moonflower Hanazuki, and join her throughout thrilling adventures. Each Hemka plush represents a particular mood, expressed by their colour, as well as in their expressive, adorable faces. All of the plush figures can be attached to a backpack or around the wrist and make fantastic collectables. Little Dreamer is the mysterious, sleeping moon creature that delivers a magical treasure for Hanazuki
and her moon garden each day. The Little Dreamer plush figure comes in a variety of hoodie pyjamas for different days of the week, from multicoloured treasure-pattern hoodie pyjamas, a purple hoodie, pyjamas complete with purple cape, a green and black punk hoodie with a skull pattern and bright green felt mohawk, strawberry-themed pyjamas, peacock-themed pyjamas and a stunt-man themed hoodie! Both the Hemka plush figures and the Little Dreamer plush figures come with codes located on the back which can be scanned using a smartdevice’s camera to unlock more fun in the Hanazuki app! Inspired by My Little Pony: The Movie, the plush toys are soft and cuddly, with Pinkie Pie, Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Princess Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash
to choose from. Each pony has her own characteristics and represents an Element of Harmony, including kindness, honesty, loyalty and laughter, and the plush toys come with pretty detailing and a tactile long mane and tail that’s perfect for little fingers to explore and play. The My Little Pony Huggable Plush toys are huggable friends that are perfect for bedtime snuggles and imagining pony-themed scenes before sleep. There’s animal fun galore with the furReal brand’s newest range of pets. The Roarin’ Tyler, the Playful Tiger pet is ready to play and ROAR. Tyler responds to sounds and touch with over 100 sound and motion combinations, roaring when you make noise and moving when you pet him. Tyler comes with a little chicken toy that he loves to chew! The Chatty Charlie, the Barkin’ Beagle pet is a cuddly friend with a collar that translates over 80 barks to phrases. Charlie responds to sound and touch and loves to be cuddled! The Snifflin’ Sawyer pet is a sweet baby polar bear who responds to touch with adorable sniffling, sneezing and happy sounds. Kids can comfort her with the bottle and cuddle her with her favourite blanket. If you tickle her nose in a downward direction she’ll sneeze and make happy sounds, but whether she’s feeling fine or down with the sniffles, Sawyer is completely loveable.
ragdolls and riches a.b.Gee 01773 570444 www.abgee.co.uk A.B.Gee of Ripley is a renowned and trusted name within the toy industry. Within its extensive portfolio, the company has a growing selection of high quality plush toys. This year has seen its plush sales almost double yearon-year, with new lines being added throughout the year. Look out for the superb range of A.B.Gee own branded rag doll ballerinas, mermaids and traditional designs. These beautifully crafted rag dolls perfectly complement the rest of the plush and wooden ranges. With the new Jurassic Park movie out next year, dinosaurs are sure to be hugely popular. A.B.Gee has a wide range of shapes and sizes, and these loveable soft plush toys would really stand out in any shop or retail display. With more than 40 years experience, A.B.Gee offers a superb range of retail focused products, backed up by excellent customer service and really low carriage paid charges. It is the first choice in toy and hobby distribution, perfectly placed for the independent or larger retailer alike.
© Disney. Based on the ‘Winnie the Pooh’ works by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard.
Introducing a stunning new
Classic Winnie the Pooh collection for infants.
The Home of Classic Characters
Classic characters RAINBOW DESIGNS 01329 227300 www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk Rainbow Designs, The home of classic characters, has launched a stunning new collection of infant products. This collection will see Rainbow Designs, one of the leading forces in the nursery and toy industry, bring to life Disney’s much loved and iconic characters with a new range of high-quality baby products. A signature collection is set to make its debut in stores this autumn with a beautifully styled, soft Disney Classic Pooh collection, inspired by the story of Winnie-the-Pooh. Celebrating the heritage of the classic characters, this supreme quality collection shows Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends in an original style that is suited to babies. The innovative new collection will feature an array of beautiful nursery plush essentials such as ring rattles, comfort blankets and character plush toys. The signature collection has been developed using only the softest of fabrics to help to create a special bond with baby and forge memories that will last a lifetime.
01908 555640 www.funrise.com As the master toy partner for Netflix Original show Luna Petunia, Funrise has launched a broad toy line that includes plush options to bring Luna and her fantastical Amazia friends to life! Perfect for imaginative play is the beanie plush assortment. Kids can collect all their favourite characters in this high-quality plush, including Luna, Bibi Bubbles, Karoo, and Sammy Stretch. Also available is the larger huggable Luna Petunia plush.
01228 404022 www.enesco.co.uk
Best buddies SKIP HOP
Flappy is the multi-award winning plush elephant who loves a game of peek-a-boo. Kids can press his feet and he hides his eyes with his big, flappy ears. He even sings Do Your Ears Hang Low! The 35cm plush elephant is beautifully crafted and huggable soft. The plush toy was a silver winner in the 2016 Independent Toy Awards, and was shortlisted in this year’s coveted Made For Mums awards.
01582 434250 www.skiphop.com Skip Hop has an adorable collection of plush Bandana Buddies animal toys. Full of textures, patterns and sounds, little hands stay active as baby explores, rattles, crinkles and more! The colourful characters’ soft bandana teether detaches for mum and dad to wear around the wrist for quick access. Available in unicorn, fox, monkey, lion, racoon, kitty, elephant and puppy.
ON TV A/W 2017
Posh Porg POSH PAWS
01268 567317 www.poshpawsinternational.co.uk
“The style of these new soft toys is really on-trend and will be appealing to everyone – who wouldn’t want to own their all-time favourite Disney character in this cute style? Whilst we know the range will appeal to adults and gift-givers, the core appeal sits with young girls and tweens who we anticipate building their own Disney squad collection throughout 2018.” Lauren Shipman, Brand and Marketing Director, Posh Paws
Gearing up for 2018, Posh Paws is excited to reveal its brand new range of Disney collectable plush. The super cute and glittery plush toys feature fan favorites from Disney’s back catalogue and latest films. Characters launching in January include Cinderella, Marie from the Aristocats, Minnie Mouse, Dumbo, Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger. Hot on their heels in wave two will be Bambi, Snow White, Mickey Mouse, Simba from The Lion King, Patch from 101 Dalmations and Eeyore. The fresh, new and stylized look and feel offers kids, teens and adults alike an utterly adorable plush to collect at a fantastic price. New ranges will continue to launch in the UK throughout 2018, with a host of social media, influencer and PR activity to drive the product presence throughout the year.
Plush patrol SPIN MASTER 01628 535000 www.spinmaster.com With PAW Patrol continuing to be the number one pre-school license, the plush range from Spin Master’s hugely popular animation series broadcast on Nick Jr. should be retailers’ first choice for PAW Patrol plush. PAW Patrol Snuggle Up Pups allow kids to bring home Chase, Marshall, Rubble or Skye in a super soft, cuddly feature plush. The Snuggle Up Pups are the perfect naptime companion with a light-up belly that acts as a nightlight. Squeeze their belly and they will sing PAW Patrol fans to sleep with sweet lullabies and PAW Patrol sounds. Perfect for bedtime and playtime, the Snuggle Up Pups are a little ones’ new best friend!
Hello, Hello! GOLDEN BEAR 01952 608308 www.goldenbeartoys.com Bush Baby World centres around the cute and collectable plush Bush Babies which feature a unique patented system that enables children to wiggle the eyes and waggle the ears. There are lots of Dreamstar characters to collect; Neesha, Oni, Issi, Kojo, Mimi and Kiki plus there are Nenia, Sasu, Adero and Abi who come complete with their own Sleepy Pod where they can snuggle up. The Singalong Mr Tumble feature plush is based around the ‘Hello, Hello’ song performed by Mr Tumble at the beginning of each episode of Something Special. This interactive toy has a light up nose and features fun music and movement which encourages children to sing along and join in – just like in the TV show. There is also a strong new line up for In the Night Garden.
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A .B.Gee of Ripley Ltd, Asher Lane Business Park, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3SW. Tel: 01773 570444 www.abgee.co.uk Email: email@example.com
Cuddly friends CHARACTER OPTIONS 0161 633 9800 www.character-online.com The plush and feature plush category will be enhanced in spring with the addition of new licensed preschool lines, whilst a dreamy kitten continues to impress all with its interactive features. From January, the top-selling eight inch Talking Soft Toys will land on shelves with a brand new look! The much-loved eight inch toys have been a top-selling line since launch and now for 2018 comes a new cute styling version of the classic toy. In a CDU of six, the Talking Plush characters feature a tryme function for instant impact in store. The Teletubbies range also offers the delightful Dancing Po feature plush. When little ones squeeze Po’s hand, she’ll play a tune and dance!
Inflatable fun! CHELFORD LTD 01617371881 www.iplushtoy.co.uk The iPlush - inflatable plush - brand is another new, patented design for Chelford Ltd, the exclusive distributors throughout the UK and Europe. The iPlush range has solved the big problems all traditional plush toys have: how to easily store, carry and clean small, large and extralarge plush animals. The iPlush range is the only plush toy that is machine washable, so parents don’t need to worry if iPlush toys get dirty after playing with them in the yard or if some food gets spilled on it. The ability to wash and clean the toys is perhaps iPlush’s biggest advantage over other plush toys currently in the market. Included in this family of life-like animals is the classic Teddy Bear, Husky, Bulldog and Sharpei dogs, farm animals like Horses, Cows, three different-sized Giraffes, zoo animals and so many more.
Crazy about plush MOOKIE TOYS
Puppy love LITTLE TIKES 0845 0533 333 www.littletikes.co.uk Children will fall instantly in love with the new collection of Lil’ Pups by Little Tikes. The Just Born Spaniel, Beagle, Mutt and Chocolate Lab, will melt any heart. The interactive pups bark when they are happy, close their eyes when tired and gently snore as they fall asleep. Each comes with its own feeding bottle and birth certificate too.
01525 722722 www.mookie.co.uk Plush, and plush with an arts and crafts twist, are proving to be huge successes for Mookie Toys for 2017. With this success in mind Mookie will be adding more exciting lines into current and new brands heading into 2018. This July saw the relaunch of Pillow Pets, with the new Sweet Scented Pillow Pets. Each of these cuddly characters smell of a different sweet treat, including gummy bears, cookies and candy floss. Proving an ever-popular brand with children and parents in the UK since 2012, the relaunch of Scented Pillow Pets has created a great buzz. Next year will see over 1360 TVRs and online support, with plans to carry out more Disney sponsorship spots. PlushCraft, is easy and fun for children to get creative with. Children just push the fabric pieces into the sections on the pillow with the stylus tool, no sewing required. TV support will continue into 2018 with over 1300 TVRs and a large social campaign. Fluffables is the cute arts and crafts collectables from Mookie. Similar to PlushCraft, children can create and personalise their own super soft animal, by attaching colourful fluff and accessories to the mould.
BIG JOY FOR LITTLE HANDS
GIFT GIVING…all wrapped up Enesco Limited, Head Office & Customer Services, Brunthill Road, Kingstown, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA3 0EN. Tel: 01228 404022 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Overseas Customer Services: Tel: +44 1228 404066 email: email@example.com © GUND 2017
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Flappy days! TRENDS UK 01295 768078 www.trendsuk.co.uk The adorable Angry Birds Hatchlings 15cm Reversible Soft Toy converts from a Hatchling in a shell to a cute Hatchling chick by turning it inside out! Angry Birds Hatchlings are cute characters made popular by The Angry Birds Movie and have found fame in their own right online with their short animations generating millions of views. The new App game, Angry Birds Match, featuring the Hatchlings was released in August with spectacular results to date. Based on the gaming phenomenon, the Slither.io range includes collectable and cute Slither creatures and bendable plush toys. Created with features recognisable from Slither.io, they are the must-have toys for legions of fans.
RE:CREATION 01189 736 222 www.recreationltd.co.uk The Feisty Pets have certainly made their mark in Re:creationâ€™s Snuggables portfolio since launch earlier this year. Friendlylooking on the outside, this cast of plush animals are literally stuffed with attitude. One squeeze and they reveal their darker side complete with snarling teeth. These two faced fiends are proving a big hit on the internet and the feisty fun is set to continue this spring with new characters joining the line-up. From Sparkles Rainbowbarf the winged Pegasus to Junkyard Jeff the goat, the Feisty Pets are poised to perform well in 2018. Stretchkins, stretchy-limbed, my-size plush continue to be a focus for Re:creation with the latest addition, Ballet Bunny adding a new twist to the range. Complete with pretty tutu and ballet shoes, this cute character is the perfect dance buddy for any young ballet fan. Ballet Bunny complements the existing Stretchkins range which includes ever popular Unicorn, Puppy and Pink Cat.
Soft, cuddly and colourful! TOMY 01392 281 928 uk.tomy.com Lamaze has expanded its popular gifting and activity toy segments with a range of new plush products including Cosimo Concerto. A soft plush zebra doubles as a piano for baby to begin playing songs and developing musical skills. Young infants will love the bright colours and big friendly face, and older babies will enjoy exploring and learning that each stripe plays a different sound. Young girls, tweens and teens will fall in love with the Molang plush range from Tomy and Millimages, targeted to four years plus. Hero for this season is the super soft plush, made from stretchy and soft material this friendly plush has been conquering the hearth of consumers. The collection also consists of collectable plushes, basic plushes and Talk and Sing Molang and Piu Piu. Tomy has just launched its new collection for CBeebies smash hit pre-school series, Kazoops from Cheeky Little Media and Centa IP Agency. The new collection sees stars of the show Monty, Lily, Suzy and Otis transformed into an eight inch plush. Montyâ€™s best friend, Jimmy Jones has also been transformed into 10 inch feature plush made from soft, cuddly fabric.
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Exclusively distributed by Chelford Ltd throughout the UK & Europe Dreamscene House, Park House Bridge Estate, Langley Road, Salford, M6 6JQ. 0161 7371881 | firstname.lastname@example.org
SPECIAL FEATURE ZAK STORM
Perfect storm ZAG Animation and Bandai have teamed to bring a revolutionary, connected play experience to fans of action-adventure animation Zak Storm. TnP found out more...
andai and ZAG Animation are changing play with Zak Storm Super Pirate, an all-new franchise based on the action-adventure animated television series. The tech-infused brand ushers in a truly connected play experience by interconnecting the TV, toy and app with a Watch, Play and Level-Up experience.
Swashbuckling new concept Fans will love joining the journey of Zak Storm, a rambunctious teenage surfer who transforms into the ultimate super pirate good guy thriving in the Bermuda Triangle. While searching for a way home, Zak bravely captains a high-tech, living ship called The Chaos, wields a powerful talking sword, and befriends a crew of lovable misfits. Together, these unlikely heroes battle villains of the Seven Seas and have exciting, unpredictable, high-seas and futuristic adventures. The Zak Storm Super Pirate’s trailblazing innovation extends beyond just another app game. When kids watch the TV series it will sync with the Zak Storm Super Pirate app and deliver small-screen battles and adventures that mimic the real time TV show scenes. This in turn earns the player digital game rewards.
“Heavyweight marketing plans are in place to ensure brand awareness, and retailers will also be given the highest level of support at launch.”
Tess Parsons-Broome, Marketing Manager, Bandai UK
With an ever-growing number of kids owning smart devices, it’s really significant that Zak Storm toys are bridging the gap between physical and digital play. The extra digital value will add so much appeal as consumers will be receiving double the play value for a single purchase.
Tess Parsons-Broome, Bandai UK
Additionally, The Zak Storm Super Pirate experience is further realised when kids collect and play with Zak Storm physical toys from Bandai to level-up their mobile adventure. Each toy comes with collectable treasure that provides in-game rewards. Kids simply scan the unique QR code on the collectable treasure into the free downloadable Zak Storm Super Pirate app to receive weapons, powers, worlds, strength, health and much more — the more toys collected, the more opportunities the player has to advance in their Super Pirate mission.
Ready for launch Budding pirates can hunt for treasure set within the Zak Storm Collectible Treasure CDU. In eyecatching packaging, the CDU is packed with foil bags containing four collectable coins, ideal for impulse and repeat purchases. For imaginative play, the action figures also make for an attractive collectable offering. Initially there will be five characters to collect. Each figure is fully articulated, comes with its own exclusive coin. Vehicle play is also on the cards as the hero’s signature Hover Vehicle hits the shelves. The highly detailed hoverboard matches the show and also comes with an exclusive Zak
figure. Another item that goes hand in hand with Zak Storm is his trusty Calabrass sword, and boys can get their hands on their very own. Complete with a Calabrass Coin, the sword stands 45cm high and is the ideal weapon for adventures around the Seven Seas! Playsets will also be key to any retailer’s offering, making ideal add-ons for the figures. The multi-level Sino Island Playset is just like the swashbuckling realm within the show and comes complete with a Sino Zak figure. The Marituga Playset comes with Morlock, one of Zak’s rivals; and at a higher price point, the Chaos Deluxe Playset comes with four modes of play and three rare collectable coins.
Launch campaign To support the Zak Storm range, a multi-faceted marketing campaign will raise awareness and create excitement across the toy, app and show trio. The app will be the first to launch with the support of TV and digital activations. This will then be followed by a Boxing Day launch for the products, involving TV commercials, digital, and influencer campaigns. Retailers can also look forward to an FSDU and extensive POS to convey the Watch, Play, Level up concept in-store and online.
Contact Bandai 020 8324 6160 www.bandai.co.uk 42
BRINGING PLAY-TAINMENT TO LIFE TOYS . TV SYNC . APP
NOW AIRING ON
Bandai UK Ltd 0208 324 6160 email@example.com
Zak Storm™ is a trademark of Zag - Method. © 2017 Zag - Method. All Rights Reserved.
ARE YOU READY TO SET SAIL?
S R O D A S S A B AM
s r e y fl h g i H Sister and brother Jess and Liam love their gadgets – but they weren’t prepared for how much they would enjoy Toy State’s Nikko Air DRL Race Vision 220 FPV Pro drone. Their Uncle Joe treated them recently and tells TnP why the kids think the drones are “the coolest thing ever” I have a confession to make: I bought these drones as a treat for my niece and nephew, but I can’t deny it was also as a treat for myself. I saw the DRL racing by chance on Sky earlier this year, something I’d never heard of before, and I was instantly hooked. I’ve wanted to give it a whirl myself ever since, and flying these drones was a great way to spend some time with Jess and Liam. Coming in at around £300 for the pair, this is on the higher end of the amount I’d usually pay for a toy, but I wanted to get them something special. I’m happy to report that they were not disappointed, and Liam called it “the best thing he’s ever had” – high praise indeed. And when you tot everything that comes packed in the mighty box, the value is definitely there. Toy State have thought of everything. This is a
OOK THEY L OOL YC REALL Jess 44
complete package for getting airborne, and unpacking all the flashy bits makes this a show-stopping pressie from the off. Obviously the drone is included, but also the goggles, the screen, and even all the necessary batteries come packed in, which was a big relief to me being the classic uncle who has been caught out in the past by forgetting them! Once we were unpacked, all charged up and ready to go, it was The time for lift off, and after just a headse few minutes they were already t able to whizz around with makes it precision and play their own like yo look game of cat and mouse. This is u really fl are when they began uttering “woah” ying and “cool” in half-whispers, words I L i a m heard all afternoon. The kids have had drones in the past, but the inclusion of the FPV goggles makes for an entirely different experience. “The headset
makes it look like you are really flying,” said Liam. “I can’t wait to tell everyone at school. This is the coolest thing ever!” Jess had a similar reaction, and she spent a lot of her time lining up shots from way up high. “I’m going to use these for my art project,” she said. “This is like the views you see on Planet Earth.” Agreed – although unfortunately there are fewer herds of buffalo on the great plains of Bedfordshire. Like most kids their age they’re usually glued to an iPad, so it was really great to see similar technology put to use in a way that got them out of the house and trying something completely new. A big bonus for me was the fact they even got along the whole time they were flying, something I think Toy State should put as a feature on the box – worth the price of admission alone! After their maiden flight, we popped back to the house for a recharge and a snack, and then it was instantly back to the park for a race. Now, they were no professionals, but we set a course up, slaloming in-between the trees in the park, and. The prize for winning was racing me. I got thrashed. But it’s the taking part that counts, and we had a brilliant time all round. With Christmas just around the corner, this is a toy I’d recommend to any parents who want a toy that’s extra special, truly different and simple for anyone to have a great time with.
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New profit resolutions The Christmas comedown can weigh on us all, but there is still business to be done. So what does quarter one mean for pricing, and what products can still be guaranteed to keep the tills ringing as your ring in the New Year? TnP found out more…
veryone from manufacturers to consumers knows that when it comes to toys, Christmas is the retail extravaganza to beat all others. Everything from finely tuned marketing campaigns to visual merchandising within stores is carefully crafted and rolled out months in advance and even parental shopping can require planning with crucial precision. But after the festive excitement fades and the tills quiet down, there’s still the new year and new toy season to look Lower price forward to. So just how point and pocket important is competitive money toys are pricing in the first three months of the year, definitely more what types of toys are desirable in guaranteed to still sell big in January and does cold spring and inclement weather Mark Hunt, have its own unique impact Character Options on the market?
Pocket money pricing It stands to reason that big-ticket toy items are not likely to be the main focus for many come the new year, and products and new ranges certainly need to be very conscious of price point in those all-important early months. “Spring and also summer traditionally has less high-ticket items, as most toys are bought either as pocket money treats or birthday gifts,” Tess ParsonsBroome, Marketing Manager for Bandai explains. “It’s not exhaustive, but typically ranges between £5 and £20 are ideally placed for the season. We don’t have a limit on new launches in the first quarter, however you do have to take into account the fact that less revenue is spent in the sector at this time of year.” James Triptree, of The Sales Partnership, UK sales agent for
Jumbo Games 1
Bruder, agrees. “Average price points move down to £20 for us during the first quarter of the year,” he says. “This is certainly where the bulk of Bruder sales come from during this period.” Mark Hunt, Marketing Manager at Character Options, adds: “Lower price point and pocket money toys are definitely more desirable in spring, sub £10 works really well. It’s an ideal time to launch a collectable range.”
Product selection So what constitutes a good product pick when it comes to the financially savvy winter months of the year? For Jumbo Games, it’s the core evergreen puzzles business that excels. “Puzzles, both adult and children’s, continue to drive increases in sales and demand
during Q1 because of the weather, the good value for money during a period where people are looking for cost-effective ways to maximise alternatives to going out,” reveals Jumbo’s Senior Marketing Executive, Steven Russell. “Action figures are a great buy for this time of year — and this has been reflected in the past with our success with Power Rangers which sees something new come out every season,” Tess says of Bandai’s offering. “Next year is also the 25th anniversary so this is also likely to be an important factor for 2018. “As the spring progresses, outdoor toys are always a favourite, and of course STEM is particularly topical as British Science Week is in March. But in general for quarter one pocket collectables are ideal.” Where Bruder is concerned, the company’s reputation for producing top quality farm toys precedes it, and this can work well for both the first quarter of the year and an inhospitable climate, as James explains. “As a range we focus less on pocket money items, but our existing product range has educational benefits and is fun all year round,” he says. “Bruder has the big advantage that our range is for both indoor and outdoor use, plus the sheer quality of the product allows for all inclement weather. Toys that have previously sold well for us during quarter one include the smaller JCB, CAT, Manitou and John Deere models.”
brands,” says Steven. “A key release to look out for, is the new Wasgij Original 28: Dropping the Weight! 1000-piece puzzle in Janua ry, a first for us in a Most toys very long time. We are also are bought excited to be increasing our range of Goula wooden toys, either as pocket puzzles and games, with the money treats or launch of 20 new products birthday gifts for January. “We have some really Tess Parsonsexciting MB Arocs Fire Crane Broome, Bandai Trucks, UPS Sprinter Vans, a Scania Cattle Truck, New Holland Tractor and the huge new John Deere 9620RX on the way after Christmas,” James Triptree reveals. “Make sure you keep an eye out for Bruder in the early part of 2018!” “Smash hit animated character
Zak Storm and Smooshy Mooshy are going to be huge for us come spring 2018,” Tess Parsons-Broome adds for Bandai. “Plus we’re also expecting new SKUs for Power Rangers and Miraculous to be popular. Add to this the launch of Tamagotchi this month and it’s shaping up to be a very buoyant spring.” And as for Character Options, Mark reveals: “We have loads of exciting new products planned for quarter one next year – starting with Cheeki Mees, Mine It! and Cake Pop Cuties, all lower price items with a collectable chase element that will encourage repeat or multiple purchases. We also have a mini Vac-man which is a great addition to the Stretch Ranges, plus new figures and accessory packs for our Peppa Pig collection.”
New year, new toys Far from shying away from unveiling new products and ranges in the early months of the year, it seems those in the know in the toy industry are happy to announce new offerings from January to March — as long as it’s the right fit for the time of year. Jumbo, for example, has a wealth of new launches planned for quarter one 2018. “We will be launching over 50 brand new adult puzzles in January – continuing to bring new artwork across varying piece counts, across our leading puzzle
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Remarkable replicas BRUDER 01491 412415 (The Sales Partnership) www.bruder.de As the demands on modern agriculture become more challenging, the performance of farming machinery is becoming ever more outstanding. Bruder’s exact replicas in scale 1:16 offer a unique level of detail with the John Deere 9620RX with track belts now available within the company’s assortment. John Deere is introducing the largest and most powerful track tractor so far with the 9620RX, with an engine power up to 670 hp and four track drives that enable superior traction with best
Top of the Pops
01707 289289 www.jumbo.eu To continue the double-digit growth that Jumbo has been experiencing in 2017, the puzzle manufacturer is further expanding its range of adult puzzles and will be releasing over 60 brand new puzzles across its Wasgij, Falcon and Premium Collection brands for SS18. For Wasgij, the UK’s number one adult puzzle brand, Jumbo will launch six new puzzles from the popular Mystery and Destiny comcepts, a new original puzzle in January (a ﬁrst), and the next re-releases to the Wasgij retro collection in April. The new January releases include Wasgij Original 28: Dropping the Weight!, Destiny 18: Fast Food Frenzy! And Mystery 14: Hound of the Wasgijville! 1000-piece puzzles. New in Jumbo’s Falcon de luxe range will be 23 brand new puzzles launching in January and April. These new puzzles cover the traditional Falcon themes of nostalgia, scenery, cottages, animals and transport, across varying piece counts from 200XL to 1500 pieces. The new releases will include the stunning Driving the Dales two x 500-piece puzzle, The Gardener’s Cottage 1000-piece puzzle, plus many more. Q1 2018 will also see over 20 new products introduced to the Goula range of high quality wooden toys.
possible soil protection. This tractor is the perfect partner when it comes to ﬁeldwork with attachments like cultivator, plough, or sowing combination. Just like the original, the miniature model manufactured by Bruder owns four new developed track drives as well as articulated steering. The door of the cabin can be opened and the huge folding bonnet shows the impressive engine. The height-adjustable rear coupling is compatible with numerous attachments out of the Bruder agriculture assortment.
020 8643 0320 www.ﬂairplc.co.uk Following a fantastic tic launch in the US, Pikmi Pops s looks set to be the next big craze aze to hit the UK! The awareness s is growing in the UK, with a Tiana na - ToysandMe Youtube reveal hitting ting over 10m views in three e weeks! Combining the collectable lectable play pattern with sweetscented miniature plushies and fun mystery surprises, Pikmi Pops ops is the exciting new w property from Moose. ose.
On track LITTLE TIKES 0845 0533 333 www.littletikes.co.uk New to the Little Tikes line in 2017 is the Waffle Blocks Steam Train. Designed especially for small hands to connect and build, little ones can create their very own 3D track, train and station, time and time again.
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Storm ahead BANDAI 020 8324 6160 www.bandai.co.uk
Bubbling over! FUNRISE 01908 555640 www.funrise.com Funrise’s Gazillion Bubbles give kids the ultimate bubble experience. The special formula used to create Gazillion Bubbles solution has been shown to create bigger, more plentiful bubbles, especially when used with Gazillion Bubbles machines and blasters. For 2018, the experience becomes more fun with two original, on-trend additions. With new Gazillion Crazy Wands, kids can blow bubbles using the photo booth prop style wands that turn the blower’s mouth into something crazy. From rabbit teeth to Dracula’s fangs, there are three duo sets to collect. And at just £3.99 for two wands, a dipping tray and an 8oz bottle of premium Gazillion solution, these Crazy Wands are set to be a must have for any party or BBQ. Also great for parties is all-new Gazillion Bubble Pong. With this table-top game, players take it in turns to throw their ping pong balls into their opponents side. It’s a race to hit the target ﬁrst and blast the losing player with a face full of bubbles! Bubble Pong has removable trays and bumpers that can be adjusted for difﬁculty making the game fun for the whole family. When you are done with the game, switch the console over to Bubble Machine mode for a bubble party!
Tech for kids KD UK 01727 827194 www.kdplanet.com/uk KD Interactive’s Kurio range of childsafe technology will be a core focus for the company in 2018. With high demand for safe technology designed for children, Kurio has further expansion plans for its key Kurio lines including the Kurio Watch 2.0, the ultimate smart watch for kids, and the Kurio Snap, the children’s digital photo booth camera. The Kurio brand continues to offer something different to traditional toys, and will continue to build innovative products based on strong demand into 2018. The Kurio Smart Watch 2.0 is the ultimate adult technology for kids that delivers gaming, education and social through a multi-function touch screen. The technology allows multiplayer gaming via Bluetooth and comes with over 20 pre-loaded apps to choose from.
With a new licensed range for the digital generation, squishy collectables Smooshy Mushy, iconic 90s pet Tamagotchi, Power Rangers, and Miraculous, Bandai’s Q1 portfolio promises to be one of its most advanced yet! Launching on Boxing Day is the innovative new Zak Storm range, based on the boys TV series. Zak Storm toys offer not only exceptional play value but also a digital experience by unlocking extra content through a Zak Storm app.
‘Appy children LEAPFROG 01895 202 840 www.leapfrog.co.uk New is the all-in-one LeapStart interactive learning system that covers all age groups, for easy shopping with the replayable activity books. This amazing system helps to get kids excited about everything from counting and problem solving to creative thinking, with the integrated curriculum for the pre-school and early school years. The LeapStart includes 200-plus unconventional activities for school, life and STEM. The grow-withme stylus helps to encourage the correct pen grasp for learning to write. With a lightweight design and a convenient carry handle, the LeapStart is perfect for on-the-go play, keeping little ones entertained, and educated, wherever they go. Discover LeapFrog’s most advanced Android-based tablet, LeapPad Epic, that adapts as children grow, offering endless choice for exploration, learning and play. Access games, apps, eBooks and much more.
MORE THAN 65 BRAND NEW ADULT PUZZLES FOR SS2018!
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CONTACT YOUR JUMBO SALES REP FOR MORE INFORMATION Jumbo Games, 2 Carters Row, Hatfield Park, Hatfield, UK, AL9 5NB Telephone: 01707-289289 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.jumbo.eu
JUMBO Toys'n'playthings November 2017.indd 1
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Slithering success TRENDS UK 01295 768078 www.trendsuk.co.uk Trends UK is introducing exciting new toys based on the Slither.io gaming phenomenon, which has 12 billion worldwide plays in the last six months alone, plus lots of YouTube inﬂuencer content. New Build-a-Slither Blind Bag Assortment enables fans to collect and swap parts to build their own Slither.io variants. Collectable parts are also available in a Build-a-Slither Multi-pack card assortment with 32 pieces. More new products include collectable Slither.io pens, plastic Slither keychain blister assortment, vinyl collectable ﬁgure on podium and extra large 48 inch Slither.io bendable plush.
Animal magic SCHLEICH 01279 870000 www.schleich-s.co.uk From Schleich’s core pre-school ranges, Farm World and Wild Life, comes a whole host of new ﬁgurines and playsets for tots to enjoy next spring and beyond! New additions from the evergreen Dinosaurs range will set children’s pulses racing and the introduction of characters to the Horse Club brand promises to give girls even more reason to choose this exciting and imaginative collection! When it comes to farm-themed imaginative play, Schleich’s Farm World range is the go to brand for parents and toddlers alike. Single ﬁgurines will continue to be a key offering, and from January children can add an array of new breeds to their collections.
Hours of Vehicle Play! HTI 01253 775544 www.htigroup.co.uk Teamsterz, HTI’s own extensive range of collectable die-cast vehicles, garages, playsets and track sets, adds to its collection of large light and sound vehicles with an exciting new range of small six inch light and sound vehicles. Available worldwide in SS18, the range comprises of six different themed chunky vehicles, each with its own unique light and sound effects, providing fantastic play value. Designs include a fire engine.
Dream team MATTEL 01628 500000 www.mattel.com Barbie Dreamtopia will introduce body and ethnic diversity along with the Barbie Dreamtopia Brush ‘n Sparkle Princess. Expand nurturing play with Chelsea Treehouse Playset and the Barbie Sisters Babysitters Playset Assortment. Explore the world of baking with the Barbie Bakery Chef Doll and Playset. New lines will also be introduced for Enchantimals, DC Super Hero Girls, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, Justice League, Thomas & Friends, Mega Bloks, and more.
Mix it up ALPHA ANIMATION AND TOYS 01293 804599 Imagine a world where you can create quirky mix-ups of everything you love — even animals! In the Miximals world, anything is possible. There are 40 characters to collect in series one, with products across key price points. Each Miximals Surprise Pack features one Miximal character, a mixed-up accessory, and collector file. Also available is the Surprise Triple Pack enabling kids to grow their collection even faster! For spring, there are also two vehicles to collect: Whalekey’s Banana Submarine and Kittony’s Cattractor. Each vehicle comes with an exclusive character and accessories. A must-have for any Miximals fan is the collector pack with eight Miximals to grow their collection. Miximals will launch on Boxing Day, with a 360-degree marketing plan surrounding the #Whatcanyouimagine campaign. Also lookout for new launches in Screechers, Super Wings and much more!
The Sales Partnership Distributors Ltd Ancastle House • Gravel Hill Henley on Thames • RG9 1TP Tel: 01491 412415 Fax: 01491 412915 Contact Name - James Triptree
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Skill building TOMY 01392 281928 www.Tomy.com Tomy is working towards another exciting year in 2018 with the expansion of global licenses as well as developing its heritage brands with innovative new releases. Lightseekers from PlayFusion will launch a second wave of exciting new characters, weapons, flight packs and shields, allowing fans to unlock new content and areas of the game. Tomy will support retailers with a TV campaign, online brand pages, merchandising and experiential in-store events . As the master toy licensee for smash hit CBeebies pre-school series, Kazoops, from Cheeky Little Media and Fusion Agency, Tomy will launch its first vehicle and assortment of figures in Q1 with popular Monty and Jimmy Jones as well as several imagination characters. The brand will be supported with an integrated campaign, including TV, digital media, PR and social.
Tomy’s Molang collection from Millimages will grow with the addition of a basic core figure assortment and the Molang Home Playset. Each product reflects a scene from the popular TV show and allows fans to relive episodes whilst encouraging collectability between friends. Lamaze will expand its popular line of Clip & Go and gifting and activity toy segments with exciting new characters. Guaranteed to have ‘The Right Toy at the Right Time’ Johnny Tractor from Tomy’s John Deere collection remains a farming hero for pre-schoolers with friendly characters for children aged 18 months plus, including Build-a-Johnny Tractor and Learn and Pop Johnny Tractor, helping little-ones develop their colour matching, numbers and shapes skills. Tomy will continue to strengthen evergreen brands.
01329 227300 www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk
01553 819 380 www.learningresources.co.uk
Fresh on the heels of the inaugural release of Rainbow Designs’ exquisite new Classic Winniethe-Pooh collection, the company has announced two exciting new Disney collections launching next spring. Disney Baby is a colourful collection of character-led developmental toys featuring Disney’s most iconic characters: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Tigger, Dumbo and Winniethe-Pooh. The plush toys have an attachable hoop, and feature a variety of developmental activities including hoops, teethers, tags and squeakers, along with multiple fabrics, textures and crinkles to entertain inquisitive minds. The new Disney Baby collection will also include a series of Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger and Piglet plush toys with crinkle and rattle features. A new set of fun and tactile Mini Jinglers starring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Winnie-the-Pooh and Dumbo will also launch. Rainbow Designs will also bring to market the Disney Floppy collection in spring 2018.
Children squish, squash and sculpt their way to creative play with new additions to Learning Resources’ best-selling Playfoam range. The super-squishy, sculpting material is child-friendly, won’t dry out and doesn’t stick to clothes. New Playfoam Pals feature 12 collectible pods that open to reveal a unique animal character encased in Playfoam.
Spring into action CHARACTER OPTIONS 0161 633 9800 www.character-online.com Stand out brands combined with new collections create a vibrant portfolio for spring from Character Options, including a raft of new collectables, additions for Peppa Pig and a new twist for Teletubbies. The Peppa Family Pack will be a perfect offering for imaginative play with Daddy Pig, Mummy Pig, Peppa and George for family adventures. The Peppa Pig creative play portfolio will also grow in Q1 with the new Felt Art Board. In the world of adorable collectables girls are in for a sweet treat with the launch of Cake Pop Cuties! Another exciting addition to the collectable aisle will be Cheeki Mees.
Smells Good! GOLDEN BEAR 01952 608308 www.goldenbeartoys.com Following a hugely successful launch in AW17, which saw unprecedented demand and sales, the Bush Baby World toy collection will be expanding further in 2018 with the introduction of the Blossom Meadow Bush Babies featuring funky patterned fabrics and accessories. Easter will see the introduction of Princess Blossom Bush Baby with her own Sleepy Pod and accessories. The innovative Build-a-Bot joins the company’s portfolio in 2018 and sees the company moving into the STEAM arena. Build a Bot designs to choose from include Bunny, Fox and Dino.
Cracking! SPIN MASTER 01628 535000 www.spinmaster.com Spin Master will kick off the new year with an exciting relaunch of firm favourite Tech Deck including the Tech Deck Transforming Sk8 Container, for kids aged six plus. The set measures over two feet long when folded out. It wouldn’t be the new year without a new vehicle from PAW Patrol and 2018 is no exception. PAW Patrol fans can join the PAW Patrol pups in the Mission Cruiser and go on a ruff-ruff rescue in Barkinburg! The Mission Cruiser vehicle includes Robo Dog and his Mini Vehicle, plus it has room for favourite pups and their Mini Vehicles in the container, in the back of the cruiser, and in the driver’s seat. More eggcitement is eggspected from Hatchimals in 2018.
Scooting ahead MV SPORTS 0121 748 8000 www.mvsports.co.uk MV Sports is proud to deliver an exciting array of brand new licensed and own brand ranges for Q1 2018. In addition to evergreen ranges such as Batman, Thomas and Peppa, the new PJ Masks collection is already taking the licenced wheeled market by storm and MV are ready for action with a colourful multi-character core range and a super cool 6v battery operated Catboy car! nother new addition to preschool boys is Rusty Rivets which will include a range of battery ops, scooters, bikes
WATCH OUT FORâ€¦ The monthly focus on products that are hot right now and can help you sell more
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INTERVIEW NEW YORK TOY FAIR
Big Apple business The Toy Association’s president and CEO Steve Pasierb shares how the US toy industry body will be helping toy companies thrive across the States in 2018 and beyond Steve, what highlights can visitors expect to find during New York Toy Fair 2018, and what are you looking forward to most? Like so many, I crave the energy of New York Toy Fair. With exhibit space already sold out for the February 17 to 20 show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, we are expecting 1000 global companies. Hundreds of thousands of innovative tech toys, licensed collectables, classic games and puzzles, dolls and plush, action figures, infant and pre-school toys, and much more will captivate buyers. Our E Hall will once again be filled exclusively with first-time exhibitors — so that’s definitely a section worth checking out, since product highlighted in that area will be brand new to the industry. I’m looking forward to discovery, scouting trends, and seeing our industry’s creativity come to life. Throughout the show, visitors tap into a range of seminars on topics spanning the importance of specialty retailers, entrepreneurship, toy trends, international standards and regulations, global market research, and more. For full details about Toy Fair 2018, visit www.toyfairny.com.
In what ways do you see the event growing in years to come? Until the Javits Center expansion is complete in 2021-22, physical growth will be extremely difficult, since we sell out of space early in the registration season. Curating the range of exhibitors, catering to buyers’ needs, and continually improving the visitor experience are paramount. It also underscores the opportunity for toy companies in
ShopToys365.com, our B2B digital marketplace, which provides innovative online showrooms allowing buyers and exhibitors to connect and conduct business throughout the year. It’s an especially important platform for small companies and inventors, as it extends their reach to potential buyers around the world.
What categories are currently driving global toy sales?
“Our focus has evolved to be much more global”
Licensed toys continue to be strong, driving about 30 per cent of annual toy sales here in the US. Fourth quarter US toy sales are projected to grow about three to five per cent, and analysts say that licensed toys will be a key contributor, with Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Justice League among the most anticipated movies coming to theatres this holiday season. We are also seeing continued global growth in games and puzzles, collectables, and outdoor and sports toys. Social media is playing a huge role in helping to spread toy trends and fads worldwide. Companies that effectively leverage social platforms in 2018 will have a leg up on the competition.
What are some current or upcoming initiatives of The Toy Association? Our focus has evolved to be much more global. One urgent example: The Toy Association has significantly increased efforts to address problems our members face around the world related to IP theft. We’ve formed a special member committee to focus on IP infringement online, counterfeiting, patent trolls, and other IP theft issues. Our educational webinars
and panel discussions have provided companies with helpful information on how to more effectively address the takedown of counterfeit products on various ecommerce sites. We have also increased engagement with relevant US government agencies with jurisdiction over domestic and international IP theft, working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to reduce the number of fake toys entering this country. And, at our upcoming annual legislative and regulatory strategy meeting in November, we are providing members with opportunities to meet one-on-one with representatives of Amazon and Alibaba, to discuss their respective company concerns with fake products being sold on those ecommerce sites.
What are some new initiatives you have planned for your members in the coming year? We’re focused on a range of new initiatives that directly address member needs and increase member value. We will be launching an international regulatory database to help companies understand the requirements of doing business as they expand to new markets. Several groundbreaking research studies are in the works, including a major initiative looking at the evolving toy consumer and evolving retail marketplace. We will be releasing fresh market research for companies looking to do business in France and Germany. There are easily a dozen more examples contained in our 2020 strategic plan, so 2018 promises to be a busy year with much to be accomplished!
Spotlight on PAUL LAMOND GAMES Combining luck, skill and bluffing, Perudo has all the hallmarks of a great game and has legions of famous fans. The classic game is a perfect addition to any family’s games collection
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A family game for up to six player aged eight to 108!
r Extremely popula with celebrities across the globe , Fry including Stephen Sienna Miller and on Sir Richard Brans
Contact Paul Lamond Games 020 7254 0100 www.paul–lamond.com
This year saw the 28th edition of the annual Perudo Worl d Championships, hos ted by Paul Lamond Games, with over 130 players taking part!
Far fetched retail? As luxury e-tailer Farfetch launches Stores of the Future, Mariann Wenckheim, Director at design consultancy 20.20, looks at how retailers could learn from this concept
ashion store Farfetch provides a platform for some of the world’s most exclusive boutiques to showcase their clothing and accessories, enabling them to reach a wider, international audience. Like Amazon and eBay, Farfetch allows small retailers to sell products without investing in a complex e-commerce site. It also manages shipping, removing concerns about order fulfilment – and since it is dedicated to high-end fashion, it has the power to attract the right customers with its carefully-curated collections. Now the e-tailer has its sights set on the physical realm with the much talked-about ‘Stores of the Future’. Due to open this autumn at Browns in London and Thom Browne in New York City, the concept was unveiled in London earlier this year. Using data is nothing new in retail, however Farfetch wants to create more personal customer experiences in shops. It’s hoped that, by harnessing this data, boutiques can become strategic in their marketing campaigns, as Jose Neves, CEO of Farfetch, says in an interview with Business of Fashion: “Imagine targeting a customer on Instagram because you know that five hours earlier they’ve been to your shop and they’ve picked up a certain bag.” There are striking similarities between
lmagine you could offer your customers’ friends ideas for a child’s birthday via social media because you know they’ve been invited to the party
independent fashion stores and toy retailers. Online competition from supermarkets and well-known chains has made it more difficult for traditional stores to keep pace, particularly when it comes to price and order fulfilment. So perhaps we need a Farfetchstyle ‘Toy Store of the Future’ that would help smaller retailers compete on a more equal footing. Let’s take a moment to imagine what this could look like. Unlike large retailers, small toy stores can find it difficult to obtain these deep consumer insights – yet buying toys is an incredibly personal and emotional experience for many, so tapping into people’s desires and motivations is essential for sales. What if there was a platform that helped you get to know your customers better? It could help you observe their behaviour better, answer questions and find out what impact your products had on them.
Imagine that you could offer your customer’s friends ideas for a child’s birthday via social media because you know they’ve been invited to the party. Or consider how you might market toys and books because you know their child would love them. You could also invite people to input children’s birthdays into a calendar and then send reminders and gift suggestions in the weeks beforehand. Clearly, technology is already changing the way stores connect with their customers. Although independent stores can create their own e-commerce sites, they’ll need a more powerful engine to propel them. As well as creating personal experiences for consumers, Farfetch’s Store of the Future also responds to the demands of its retail partners, allowing them to add all the features and services they want. Unless a dedicated toy retail platform is launched, it’s likely that Amazon and eBay will continue to fulfil a similar function to Farfetch. Given this opportunity, surely it’s time for the two giants to work more closely with independent stores, not just online but offline too, linking the two intrinsically together.
TnP - October 2017.pdf 1 17/10/2017 13:38:08
London Toy Fair 2018 Stand GH36
SAFETY, QUALITY AND RELIABILITY Safety and quality are fundamental concerns for all consumers – but particularly for parents, who buy toys and other products related to children. At Bureau Veritas, our services are designed to assist toy manufacturers, importers, and distributors in minimising the risk of liability, costly product returns and brand-damaging recalls. To hear how we can be of service to your company why not gives us a call on t: 01925 854 360 or visit us at the London Toy Fair 2018, Stand GH36.
• PRODUCT TESTING • SAFETY ASSESSMENTS • TECHNICAL & REGULATORY CONSULTANCY • SEMINARS • INSPECTIONS & AUDITS • CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS • SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS
Step back in time A rather personal look back through time beginning with October 1987, 1997, 2007 and 2012 by TnP Founder and MD Malcolm Naish November 2012 Volume 32 Number 2
• One of the nicest guys in the toy industry passes away far too early — David Norton of H.C. Sales. A regular at Harrogate in January through his clearance company, his love of fine wine and food led to a good few meals at the Drum & Monkey.
• As we approach Christmas Teletubbies and Tamagotchis are in short supply.
• Richard Hollis leaves BBC licensing after 28 years for pastures new. • Hasbro head the UK TV spending for the year 2012 with a spend of £2,165,541 at rate card. We would have been over the moon if they had spent even one per cent of that with us! • What was selling well prior to Christmas? Our Toy Talk retailers quote LEGO, Playmobil including their Advent Calendars, Moshi Monsters and Sylvanian Families.
• NPD’s September toy chart was headed up by Ronnie Yaffe’s mini Teletubbie’s figures. • Daisy & Tom open their second store in Manchester’s Deansgate. • A certain young man leaves Anchor Foods to join Wizards of the Coast. His name Steve Wilks. • The Sadler boys receive a cheque for £1,000 from VTech as winners of the ELA Retailer of the Year competition for their Darlington store.
November 1987 • As we approach the end of 1987 it appears that the tried and tested favourites are attracting the most sales at the tills. My Little Pony, Transformers, Masters of the Universe and Lego are all enjoying big surges in sales.
• Wendy Munt joins our columnists after 23 years of toy buying and gives a few tips on how to work toy fair.
• It would appear that the sales of games is also very encouraging as we approach Christmas. Scrabble, Quotations, Trivial Pursuit, Dingbats and Question of Sport are all performing well.
• I suggest that rather than 7 nights in New York for Toy Fair, why not instead have three nights in New York and four nights in Orlando?
• The Copyrights Group sell to Chorion which now means that Beatrix Potter and Paddington Bear will rub shoulders with the likes of Noddy and the Mr. Men. This makes Chorion a really big player in the marketplace. • The Character Group recall Bindeez due to safety concerns in Australia. I guess it’s a case of “Better safe than sorry”. • Joe Kissane takes over as chairman of the Fence Club from Clive Jones.
• Dekkertoys, who then were owned by French company Cesar, announce that they have purchased American company Disguize making them the largest dressing-up and playsuit company in the world.
• I also print the cost for this — £1,018 per person sharing — what a great deal. Needless to say it never got off the ground. Bryan Ellis leaves Woolies to become MD of Hasbro Bradley. • Zodiac Toys who had bought out Redgates a year earlier are about to open the re-vamped store in Sheffield. The five floors total 39,000sq. ft. with snooker champion Dennis Taylor performing the opening ceremony. • So sad the store no longer exists today!.
• Our ‘Off the Record’ page opens with “It’s been a rough month for Toys R Us – SO WHAT’S NEW”, citing the disappearance of Mark Dixon. We report that MGA’s opening of a UK office is almost nigh to be located in Milton Keynes.
• A very young-looking Mr. Warren Cornelius announces that he will be running the London marathon next April. This coincides with his company’s 75th anniversary – I very generously offer to sponsor him at £1 a mile.
• Steve Wilkes parts company with Inspiration Works.
• We publish a nine page Li-Lo toy special that really shows off their ranges to excellent effect.
• Character Group post some impressive year end figures that sees turnover up from £69.5. million up to £95.5 million — a jump of 36 per cent. Even more importantly operating profit was up by 74 per cent.
• Nick Austin is appointed MD of Matchbox with Jon Barbour taking on the role of sales and marketing director.
We bring to the fore a selection of the hottest and newest products that will help you sell more. Buyers and retailers, get in touch with your sales contact now!
Product: Miraculous Zoomin’ Ladybug Company: Bandai Tel: 0208 324 6160 Web: www.bandai.co.uk
Product: Beat Bugs Molded Singalong Karaoke Company: Sakar International Tel: +001 732 248 1306 Web: www.sakar.com
Product: Cycling Paddington Company: Rainbow Designs Tel: 01329 227300 Web: www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk
Product: Creativity For Kids - Grow and Glow Terrarium Company: West Design Tel: 01303 297888 Web: www.westdesignproducts.co.uk
Product: Feisty Pets Company: Re:creation Ltd Tel: 0118 973 6222 Web: www.recreationltd.co.uk
Product: EXIT The Game - The Polar Station Company: Thames & Kosmos UK Tel: 01580 212000 Web: www.thamesandkosmos.co.uk
Product: Nikko Air DRL Race Vision™ 220 FPV Pro Company: Toy State Tel: 020 8440 5060 Web: www.nikkoair.com
Product: Popping Colour Mixer Truck Company: LeapFrog Toys Tel: 01235 555545 Web: www.leapfrog.co.uk
Product: 4M Unicorn Window Paint Company: Great Gizmos Tel: 01293 543221 Web: www.ggtrade.co.uk
Dive into the world’s largest toy store and discover new inspiration for your business. 10 reasons to be there: www.spielwarenmesse.de/en/2018 David Owen, Pattern Ltd · +44 203 3758230 · email@example.com
Win an MSC cruise Info and conditions of participation: www.spielwarenmesse.de/en/competition Entry deadline: 4.2.2018
Published on Nov 8, 2017