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December 2018 Volume 8 Issue 4

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The Team...

CONTENTS December 2018 Volume 8 Issue 4

John Baulch

Publisher and Managing Editor 01442 502 408 07932 651 207

31 Company Profile: K'Nex

34 Company Profile: Orange Tree Toys

Mark Austin

Sales Director 01442 502 405

Anita Baulch

Circulation and Financial Director 01923 711 439




05 From the Publisher

22 NPD column

31 Company Profile: K'Nex

06 News

25 Talking Shop

34 Company Profile: Orange Tree Toys

14 Industry Moves

28 Viewpoint

36 Company Profile: Addo Play

16 Marketing World

66 Allegedly

40 Nuremberg Toy Fair Preview 60 Feature: Hong Kong

18 Licensing World 30 Fresh

Contributors David Ripley | The NPD Group | Nat Southworth | Mark Buschhaus | Stephen Barnes | Johnathan Chambers

Rachael Simpson-Jones Editor 01442 502 406

40 Nuremberg Toy Fair Preview

36 Company Profile: Addo Play

Casey Goodman

Editorial Assistant 01442 502 406

toyworld The business magazine with a passion for toys

Mark Crowford

Design and Production Manager 01442 502 405

Alakat Published by

61 Maxted Road, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP2 7DZ @toyworldmag @baulchtweet


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Toy World Magazine


s this issue lands on desks, retailers will be right in the ‘eye of the storm’ as far as Christmas trading is concerned. At the time of writing this column, the market remains unpredictable, with sales looking likely to come later than ever before – and goodness knows, they were late enough last year. That said, never has the adage ‘better late than never’ been more apposite. Of course, the big hope is that we will see a bigger than ever spike in December, as consumers finally decide to splurge their cash. This month’s exclusive NPD column looks at the year-to-date numbers in more depth, with a particular focus on the grocery channel, which has faced its own toyrelated challenges this year. It makes for fascinating reading.

from the publisher

John Baulch - @Baulchtweet

Given the current retail landscape, it is perhaps no surprise that there has been a steady stream of major stories breaking recently. First came the news that Goliath Games had acquired Vivid from its VC owner, the Privet Group. I see it as a great move for both parties; Goliath is clearly expanding from its board game heartland, having recently acquired Italian company Macdue – owner of classic vehicle brands such as Bburago, Maisto and Polistil. My suspicion is that having an established toy company as an owner will prove to be a far better long-term option for Vivid than a venture capitalist, and I am confident that this will develop into a very successful partnership. Next came the massive announcement that Moose Toys had acquired Worlds Apart. The two companies share very similar cultures and, having collaborated to great effect on the Scruff-a-Luvs brand this year, the synergies between the two companies were self-evident. The Worlds Apart team is undoubtedly one of the most respected in the toy market, and it is great to hear that the current management team will be taking the reins when owners John Stewart and Simon Birchenough bow out gracefully. They’ve done an amazing job building the company into what it is today, and this deal is a fantastic way to safeguard the business for the long-term. After the deal was announced, the first question that sprang to mind revolved around what would happen to Moose’s existing distribution arrangements with its long-term partners such as Character Options and Flair. We spoke to Moose CEO Paul Solomon, who told us: “We greatly value the relationships with our existing distribution

partners and this acquisition will not have any impact on our existing distribution arrangements. While we have plans to further strengthen and grow our business, at this stage we are focused on ensuring the transition of Worlds Apart into Moose Toys occurs smoothly and seamlessly. We value and appreciate the working relationships we have developed over the years in the UK, and we look forward to continuing them into the future.” Very reassuring for all concerned. We also revealed that Tomy will be taking over the exclusive UK and Ireland distribution of the Drumond Park games range from Vivid as of 1st January. It’s a huge coup for Tomy, which already has a strong foothold in the games category, which can only be strengthened by this new arrangement. Long-term Drumond Park director of sales Dave Howard will be moving over to Tomy to continue his 15-year relationship with the brand, and with a substantial launch programme planned, Tomy will have a much bigger stand at Toy Fair, where all the new introductions will be unveiled. Finally, the Toys R Us Asian operation has secured its future with a deal between Taj Noteholders and Fung retailing, which will see Fung increase its ownership stake to 21%, making it the largest shareholder in the company. Great news for the Toys R Us Asian business and I know that suppliers will be mightily relieved that an agreement has been reached to keep Fung onboard. The deal facilitates the separation of the Asian business from its ultimate parent Toys R Us, Inc., and catching up with Jo Hall ahead of the official announcement, she was clearly delighted with the outcome: “Happy to be part of a truly historic inflection point in the toy industry – the industry we love – and we will be instrumental in shaping its new future. Game on!” I think Jo is spot on in her assessment of 2018 as an ‘historic inflection point in the toy industry’: indeed, I suspect that there will be further mergers, acquisitions and deals to come in the coming months. Next year’s Toy Fair Season is going to be a fascinating one; we start our round-up of the forthcoming shows this month with a preview of the Nuremberg Toy Fair, which starts on page 40, together with a look ahead to the January Hong Kong trip on page 60. Next month, our bumper January issue will cover the London, Nuremberg and New York Toy Fairs, as well as Spring Fair. Keep a look out for it in the first week of January – although given its size, I doubt you’ll be able to miss it when it arrives!

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16/03/2018 10:13


Tomy signs distribution deal with Drumond Park

Moose Toys takes on Worlds Apart Moose Toys is expanding its European network and growth in innovative product portfolios with the acquisition of the talented design led UK business, Worlds Apart. Worlds Apart is a leading UK toy company and creator of children’s lifestyle products, well known for its Scruff-a-Luv, Ready Beds and Kid Active brands. The CEO of Moose Toys, Paul Solomon, commented: “There is a strong values alignment between both companies and synergies in how we design and create. We were impressed with the company’s commitment to developing high quality products that kids love. With the initial success of Scruff-a-Luvs globally, it is a great opportunity to expand the reach and further develop this much-loved brand, while also increasing our presence in the UK.” He added: “We are excited about the opportunity to work with fantastic, creative people who are passionate about bringing the wow to all that they do, so we can deliver more magic Moose moments to children in the UK.” Neil Shinner, CEO and partner of Worlds Apart, commented: “We welcome the opportunity to work with such an accomplished and successful global team. We truly believe that joining with Moose will help realise all the fantastic new product opportunities that are being created, and also release the full potential of our talented team.” The acquisition of Worlds Apart came into effect on 16th November 2018 and included all assets and brands; no roles were made redundant as a result of this initiative.

Tomy UK has announced the signing of a long-term distribution deal with British-owned games brand Drumond Park. Tomy will be the exclusive distributor for all Drumond Park games across the UK & Ireland from the start of 2019. Mary Wood, general manager at Tomy UK, commented: “Not only have we persuaded the leading games brand to join Tomy, we are also delighted to confirm that the top director of sales for games in the UK, Dave Howard, will join Tomy to continue building the brand.” Dave commented: “I have sold the Drumond Park range for 15 years and seen the fantastic results that are possible with targeted promotions and creative advertising. I believe that the combination of Drumond’s creativity and Tomy’s marketing power will be an unstoppable force in the UK games sector.” Mary added: “Along with our recent global signing of eOne licence Ricky Zoom, which will further build our strength in the pre-school category, partnering with Drumond is a major win for Tomy. We can now establish a dominant position in Games which is a core category for us. With the addition of Drumond to the existing Tomy range, we will have one of the strongest games portfolios in the UK including bestsellers like the Articulate and Logo ranges, family favourites like Rapidough and the ‘Best of’s’, as well as the planned introduction of 11 new games over the next two years.” Drumond Park will join Tomy UK on its stand at next year’s London Toy Fair, showcasing its new games for 2019 – including a new member of the Articulate family.


11 Deer Park Road, Northampton, NN3 6QD, UK

tel. 01604 678780 email.

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News Vivid Toy Group acquired by Goliath Goliath has announced its acquisition of the Vivid Toy Group, one of Europe’s leading independent branded toy and games companies, from Privet Capital for an undisclosed sum. Founded in 1980, Goliath is a world leading, privately-owned, international games specialist. In 2017, NPD recognised Goliath as the No. 1 pre-school games manufacturer and No. 3 children’s games manufacturer in the USA as well as the No. 2 overall games manufacturer in France. Using the combined scale of the Pressman, Goliath and Crown & Andrews game portfolios, Vivid will launch a completely new games range for 2019. Being well known for its major investments in digital marketing, social media and TV advertising, Vivid will get the full benefit of Goliath’s global marketing team. Tony Hicks, chief executive of Vivid Toy Group, commented: “The acquisition of Vivid by Goliath represents a bold new chapter in our company’s story. With Goliath’s backing, we are well supported to build a world leading portfolio that will continue to strengthen the company’s excellent long-standing relationships with the world’s leading retailers.” Adi Golad, chairman and founder of Goliath, added: “We are extremely pleased to have acquired Vivid which we believe has significant growth potential. With a long history of working together, we know the Vivid team well. Vivid is a highly professional, world class business spanning toys, arts & crafts and games, with an impressive track record of ‘endto-end’ excellence in each of its core functions. We welcome our new colleagues to the Goliath family and look forward to building a great business together.”

Mothercare to axe 150 jobs at Watford head office The head office jobs will go as the retailer seeks to meet a £19m cost-savings target outlined in a rescue plan struck with creditors earlier this year. The company has informed around 200 staff that their jobs would go as part of a restructuring. The net job losses are expected to total roughly 150, with 50 new roles being created in the reorganisation. The company has also said that it plans to sell its current headquarters in a bid to reduce its £21.5m debt. The chain announced a loss of £6.2m in its interim results - a revelation which saw the group MD David Wood resign from his post - and is battling a year-on-year like-for-like sales decline of 11.1%. Having raised £32.5m from investors to support its turnaround efforts, Mothercare has outlined plans to close 60 stores, leaving it with an estate of 77 outlets – 19 of which will be on reduced rental terms. In addition to the head office redundancies, roughly 800 jobs will disappear as a result of the shop closures. The company It said it would be “supporting our colleagues throughout the consultation process”. Mark Newton-Jones, CEO, commented: “We have continued our relentless focus to transform Mothercare into a business that has a sustainable and relevant future for its global customer base. We have completed the capital restructuring of the business, the UK store closure programme is well under way and due for completion earlier than planned, we are making our sourcing operations more efficient, and our cost-saving initiatives are well on schedule.” The company is also creating a separate corporate entity called Mothercare Global Brand, which will be responsible for developing the Mothercare strategy, maximising the value of the global brand, designing own-brand products and acting as the custodian of the brand. Mark added: “We are confident that our strategy will ultimately reinvigorate the business and restore Mothercare as a leading global specialist for parents and young children.”

Toys R Us Asia announces new joint ownership structure Taj Noteholders and Fung Retailing have reached an agreement to partner on the Toys R Us Asia business. Toys R Us Asia announced that the approximate 85% interest in Toys (Labuan) Holding Limited (the company) will be acquired by the holders of its parent company TRU Taj LLC’s Senior Secured Notes (the Taj Noteholders). As part of this transaction, Fung Retailing will acquire an incremental 6% of the company from the Taj Noteholders, thereby increasing Fung Retailing’s ownership to approximately 21%, making it the largest shareholder in the company. A spokesperson for the Taj Noteholders commented: “This transaction is a significant step in separating the valuable and growing Toys R Us Asia operation from the rest of the business. The company’s growth prospects in Greater China, Japan and Southeast Asia are bright and we are excited about investing in and owning the company in partnership with Fung Retailing.” Pieter Schats, executive director of Fung Retailing, commented: “Since introducing Toys R Us to Hong Kong in 1986, Fung Retailing has played an integral role in the successful growth and development of Toys R Us in Asia. As a sign of the confidence we have in the management team and future success of Toys R Us in the region, we are pleased to increase our shareholding in the Company, reflecting our commitment to support Toys R Us Asia in reaching new heights.” The company will continue to be led by its current president & CEO, Andre Javes, and his experienced management team, which has successfully built the business across the Asia region.

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News newsanalysis

Drumond Park outlines future plans under strategic partnership with Tomy


he UK games brand Drumond Park is moving to Tomy. The company has tempted Drumond away from Vivid Toy Group with commitments to substantially stronger TV campaigns and a long-term brand-building philosophy to achieve their shared objective of building the UK’s No. 1 games brand.

FAO Schwarz launches Selfridges pop-up The fourth floor of Selfridges now features an eye-catching display of toys and the iconic FAO Schwarz piano.   Redlands Distribution acquired the exclusive rights to introduce the iconic FAO Schwarz brand to the UK and has worked closely with the ThreeSixty Group and the teams at Selfridges to bring the pop-up store to market in less than six months. The combination of Selfridges retail excellence, market leading product from ThreeSixty under its three brands of FAO, Discovery and Sharper Image, and the entrepreneurism of Redlands Distribution, showed what can happen when all focus is on delivering a great project. Mark Handley, managing partner of Redlands Distribution, commented: “The opportunity to secure the rights for FAO for the UK & Ireland, and to be able to launch with Selfridges across their portfolio, was the perfect start. Redlands Distribution looks forward to building on this great foundation.” Jan-Eric Kloth, COO of ThreeSixty Group, owner of FAO Schwarz, added: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Selfridges for our first launch into the UK market and look forward to showcasing our toys and to entertaining customers on the iconic BigPiano.”

Vulcan to represent BS Toys Following the success of the brands Crocodile Creek, Mudpuppy, Tiger Tribe and Snails Nails for the Belgium based company Bertoy in the UK, Philip Morris is expanding his profile of brands and from 1st January will become country manager for BS Toys. BS Toys is a Dutch toy brand well known for its educational, creative and activity toys. Featuring cheerful colours and sustainable materials, the assortment of 120 games from BS Toys is designed to aid child development with plenty of imagination. The agents currently handling sales for Bertoy in the UK and Ireland will also be taking on the responsibility for sales of the BS Toy range. If you would like any further information about the range, contact Philip at Vulcan Toys or call 07748 150 906. The 2019 new range catalogue can also be found on the BS Toys website.

Drumond’s head of marketing, Claire McCool, commented: “We are now in a very good place with a strong, established Claire McCool games range and fantastic new lines in the pipeline. With such exceptional adult and family titles as Articulate!, Logo and Rapidough, as well as a raft of exciting children’s games, we have become one of the best known games brands in the business.” Claire continued: “The creative team at Drumond Games is the driving force behind most of our topselling titles. It has always taken the long view in terms of product design and development, with its many long-lived successes proving the team’s high standards of originality and gameplay.” The Drumond Games team also has an unrivalled track record at translating top TV gameshows into board games. Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Deal or No Deal, Catch Phrase and Family Fortunes top the list with multi-million sales over the years. “We are always interested in licensing deals which fit into our structure and fields of expertise” said Claire. “And in future we will not be limiting ourselves to just the television entertainment platform – so watch this space.” The appeal of Drumond Games’ creations is further confirmed by the international success of its games, licensed through Drumond International, its worldwide representative. Jan Slecht of Drumond International commented: “A wide variety of our games are now on sale in markets across Europe, Scandinavia, Australia - and throughout the Americas.” Claire added: “With many new ideas already flowing from the Tomy/Drumond fusion, we are planning huge growth in both the range and the volume of the UK business. With 12 games planned for launch over the next two years, we are at the start of a very exciting new phase in our development.”

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News Barbie demand drives North American sales increase for Mattel Mattel has reported a rise in North American sales, allaying concerns about the effects of retailer Toys R Us’ liquidation on the toy industry and driving its shares up as a result of the news. Mattel credited the improving trend to stronger demand for Barbie. The brand has undergone changes to make it more representative of height, body type and skin tone. Gross sales from North America rose 5.6% in the three months ended September, marking the first increase in at least six quarters. Analysts had, on average, estimated a near 13% drop in sales. Overall sales fell 8% to $1.44b, below the $1.49b expected by analysts. Mattel reported a third-quarter net income of $6.3m, compared with a loss of $603.3m a year earlier. Lower sales of Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends products resulted in an 18% decline in international sales in the third quarter. Ynon Kreiz, CEO, commented: “We are on track with the execution of our strategy and have made meaningful progress towards restoring profitability, as we transform Mattel into an IP-driven, high-performing toy company. In the quarter, we achieved Operating Income of $122m, up 41% versus the same period last year, which is the first time in eight quarters that we have posted year-over-year growth.” “We are proud to say that we recaptured our position as the number one toy company globally in each of the last four months through September, according to NPD. We were also the number one toy company in the US and Latin America year-to-date through September. We continued to make progress in reshaping our organisation and are actively exploring strategic alternatives for our manufacturing footprint as we move toward a capital-light model. Additionally, we have taken meaningful steps to drive future growth and capitalise on our iconic brands and IP. This includes the creation of a new theatrical film division and a global franchise management organisation.”

Debenhams to close 50 stores, 4,000 jobs at risk

Enesco signs Gund distribution deal with Spin Master

In the year to September the department store group lost £491.5m, against profits of £59m the year before. Boss Sergio Bucher said the company was “taking tough decisions” on stores where financial performance was likely to deteriorate over time. The group, which has 166 branches, previously said it planned to close 10 stores. Sergio said the additional 40 stores earmarked for closure were “currently contributing positively” to the business, but added: “However, rolling forward current trends, we do not believe they will remain profitable in future years and therefore we intend to exit these stores over the next 3-5 years.” It is estimated that around 4,000 jobs could be affected, but Debenhams said it hoped there would be a minimum of compulsory redundancies and that a percentage of the departures would be people who would have left the business anyway. Sergio said the company had identified a “profitable core of up to 100 stores in flagship and vibrant markets” where it could see a positive return on future investment. These stores account for more than 80% of the chain’s profits. Debenhams has been undergoing a revamp aimed at reviving its fortunes; redesigning stores and introducing new experiences such as beauty treatments and Prosecco bars. In September, the company unveiled its “store of the future” in Watford.

Enesco has announced that it has signed a deal with Spin Master for the ongoing UK distribution of Gund. The deal means that Enesco will be the exclusive distributor of Gund Peter Rabbit plush in all existing markets. Enesco will also retain the distribution of other Gund lines, including Pusheen and Boo, with the exception of certain customers and markets already serviced by Spin Master. Helen Cottrill, director of marketing, commented: “It is great news that independent toy retailers can continue to buy their Gund products, such as the award winning Flappy the Elephant, Boo and Pusheen from Enesco, with small minimum order quantities, fantastic customer service and access to our many other Enesco collections.” The company will be exhibiting the Gund Peter Rabbit collection at Spring Fair from 3rd7th February, in Hall 4, stand H90/J91.

MV Sports honoured with Halfords award At the recent Halfords supplier conference MV Sports was awarded ‘Cycles range development supplier of the year’. The award reflects the joint initiative between both companies, which has led to the creation of an exciting and comprehensive wheeled products collection that recently launched in store. The new range incorporates licensed and branded products spanning a wide consumer demographic. MV sales & marketing director Phil Ratcliffe commented: “’It has been a pleasure to work with Halfords on such an important project. It is exciting to work with a such a positive and progressive customer with a clear strategy for growth.” Halfords buyer Matthew Banks added: “We are delighted to have presented MV Sports with a supplier award from our recent conference. It’s a testament to its new range which we think customers will really enjoy this Christmas.”

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News Schleich unveils waterfall installation at Hamleys Shoppers taking a trip to Hamleys in London this Christmas will encounter an impressive Schleich display on the 3rd floor of the store and come face-to-face with a life-size model of a rare white tiger standing on top of a real working waterfall. The impressive point of sale feature is already creating quite an impression and is just one part of Schleich’s programme to create a huge presence in toy stores across the UK & Ireland. Paul Dearlove, trade marketing manager, Schleich UK, commented: “The new Hamleys display has been months in the planning, but now it’s in place I can truly say the efforts have been fully worthwhile. It’s the first thing you see as you enter the space, and with a working waterfall it’s a feast for all the senses. Most importantly, it shows the beauty of the Schleich figurines and is already having a really positive impact on sales. It is perfect for brand awareness, and a perfect example of what we are trying to achieve across the retail space. Schleich has a wide variety of different retail display options for our partners and we can work with all types of spaces.” Wendy Platt, senior visual merchandising & display manager at Hamleys, added: “We are delighted to introduce our first ever water feature into our flagship store on Regent Street with our friends from Schleich UK. It’s such an exciting addition to our overall customer experience. At Hamleys we work hard to provide our customers with unique experiences and bring toys to life. We are sure families visiting us from all over the world during the festive season will love this new feature.”

Smyths partners with GOSH for Christmas 2018 UK & Northern Ireland Smyths stores will be selling Bernard Bear on behalf of Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. Bernard Bear, GOSH Charity’s official mascot, will cost £9.99 and will be available instore and online while stocks last. All proceeds from every Bernard Bear will support the vital work of GOSH this Christmas, with the money going towards funding the hospital’s most urgent needs. These include funding research into pioneering new treatments for children, cutting edge hospital equipment and the essential refurbishment of the hospital to enable state-of-the-art facilities. Last Christmas, Smyths Toys raised over £130,000 for GOSH Charity following profits from the sale of its plush toy Snot and a book of his adventures. Amit Aggarwal, director of corporate partnerships at Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity commented: “It’s fantastic that Smyths Toys is supporting us again this Christmas and we’re extremely grateful to all their staff and customers for their generosity. Every Bernard Bear sold will make a real difference, by helping to support seriously ill children from across the UK who are treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital.” Sinead Byrne, joint head of marketing at Smyths Toys added: “Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity is an amazing cause, and we are thrilled to be working with them again this year with the aim that the money we help raise from selling Bernard Bear on their behalf will really help to make a difference this Christmas.”

Industry Moves New marketing manager for Flair/Just Pay

Promotion for Ravensburger’s Benn Bramwell

Flair continues to bolster its marketing team with the arrival of Marta Zietkiewicz who joins as marketing manager. Marta will oversee the Just Play portfolio including key brands PJ Masks, Vampirina, Puppy Dog Pals, Spirit Riding Free and many more. Marta is joining Flair after seven years at Mattel where she held various brand management positions in the UK and in Poland, most recently that of senior brand manager for Mega & Preschool brands for Europe. Emmanuelle Cadet, head of marketing, Flair/ Just Play, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Marta to the team. With her wealth of experience in managing multiple categories and brands at local and regional level, she will be a great addition to our Just Play marketing team.”

Benn will take up his new role as senior international product manager for children’s games on 1st January 2019. Stepping up from his current position as marketing manager, Benn will be responsible for driving the sustainable growth of the children’s games segment worldwide, while retaining responsibility for the games business in the UK. MD Tim Hall commented: “Benn has done a great job in the UK over the last eight years. This is a fantastic opportunity for him to work internationally within the business, located at our Bicester office and retaining a critical local role in delivering our UK growth strategy for games.”

Wow! Stuff welcomes new directors Dawn Lavalette, former head of buying at Tesco for Toys UK and Central Europe, has joined Wow! Stuff as commercial director. In her new role, Dawn will implement new systems to help Wow! Stuff’s innovative products reach more retailers and distributors internationally, and will be overseeing global sales and major UK and international customers. Dawn commented: “I knew the minute I met Richard North, Wow! Stuff’s CEO, that this is where I wanted to be. The breadth of their pop-culture toy innovations is beyond anything I’ve ever seen before. The excitement and the ability of the co-founders, as well as the people they have attracted to the business, has ensured the culture is one of warmth, passion and drive. This business is eminently scalable and the opportunity to be part of that growth, as a shareholder in the company, was too good an opportunity to miss.” As the Wow! Stuff team continues to grow, Jon Birch, sales director and shareholder, has been promoted to managing director of the newly-created Demonstration Division. Chairman Simon Gardner commented: “We have seen a near 50% growth in the business so far during 2018 and it’s our resolute focus on building a world class leadership team which has made this possible. I am confident that Jon’s promotion and Dawn’s recruitment, as well as the appointment of Alice Yung as director of sales APAC earlier this year, will aid Richard in his vision to make the business a first-class global operation.”

Gibsons expands sales & marketing team Kateryna Sharp joins as sales assistant, Rebecca Hersee as marketing assistant and Kim Garrod as national account manager. Rebecca Hersee becomes a permanent member of the team after a successful maternity contract. During her time at Gibsons she has had many responsibilities including handling key accounts, creating email campaigns and growing Gibsons’ social media platforms. Kim Garrod also joins the team following a maternity contract. Kim brings a huge amount of experience developing products and managing key accounts from her time at The Creative Source and Matrix. Sales support assistant, Kateryna Sharp, will be primarily responsible for administering the Gibsons Amazon account as well as maintaining and building customer relationships with other retailers. Kateryna has gained experience on a wide variety of platforms during her employment at Google and Trip Advisor. Emily Charles, product development manager, and Amanda Chaplin, head of business development, are being welcomed back from maternity leave in the spring. Kate Gibson, MD at Gibsons, commented: “I am thrilled to enter our centenary year with such a strong and collaborative team. Rebecca and Kim have done a fantastic job holding the fort whilst Amanda and Emily are away, and I look forward to seeing them flourish in their new roles in 2019. It’s also been a pleasure to welcome Kateryna to our team, especially at such busy and exciting time in Gibsons development.”

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Getting social at Toy Fair

BTHA Briefing

As a reflection of the increasing sway influencers, bloggers and vloggers now have over the purchasing decisions of consumers, and their expanding role in marketing and advertising campaigns, the BTHA has introduced a Content Creation Zone to the London Toy Fair. This new, dedicated media area will give content creators the chance to get hands-on with sought-after toys from the show, as well as provide the tools to blog live from the floor. Toy World spoke to Majen Immink, director of fairs and special events, to find out more. What was the thinking behind the new Content Creation Zone? Over the past few years we’ve seen the number of influencers grow at Toy Fair. Influencers who cover the show are extremely valuable to the show’s overall media coverage – with the everchanging landscape of journalism, they are an increasingly important avenue for ensuring exhibitors reach parents, children and everyone in between. Our goal is to provide influencers with the tools they need to generate the best content possible. Many produce videos for YouTube and other social media platforms, and we were seeing a growing demand for this content from traditional press as well. The obvious first step was to provide a dedicated area for filming video content, slightly set back from the hustle and bustle of Majen Immink the show floor and the Press Office. We hope that the Content Creation Zone will play a vital part in our influencers’ coverage at Toy Fair, much like the Press Office does for our all-important traditional media. How do you see the zone working and what do you hope it will achieve? The Content Creation Zone is all about giving influencers everything they need to generate excellent content at Toy Fair, and is a dedicated space for toy demonstrations, pieces to camera and hosting interviews. There will be a backdrop of Toy Fair logos and toys, and influencers can also add their own branding to the space while they are filming. Having a dedicated zone like this will allow influencers to show everything that Toy Fair has to offer, and will support this hugely important, growing audience. Do you foresee suppliers having concerns about product embargoes or the lack of creative control which will arise from the spontaneous broadcast environment? In the same way that the rest of Toy Fair coverage works, toys will only be featured in the Content Creation Zone with permission from exhibitors. Influencers will only have access to toys from exhibitors who have agreed to have them filmed. This is particularly important as many toys at Toy Fair can be early prototypes, and therefore need the exhibitor present to demo the toy. Most toy companies now work with influencers throughout the year and are used to the spontaneous environment this facilitates as part of the marketing mix. We believe many exhibitors will welcome the opportunity of additional coverage on-site. Presenting this opportunity also has longer term advantages for exhibitors. We hope that this new feature will reflect the objectives of the Press Office, which traditionally has served to generate onsite coverage and networking opportunities with journalists for peak times later in the year. We hope the Content Creation Zone will meet that duality of purpose for when exhibitors are looking for coverage later in the year. What will be the criteria for a blogger or influencer to have access to the facilities? We will be making the Content Creation Zone available to everyone - traditional media and influencers will be able to access the area with just a press badge. There will be a schedule available for the space that can be booked in advance, but there will be slots available at the show on a first come, first served basis too. We want to give everyone the opportunity to make the most of a dedicated space for content creation, whether they are planning a live broadcast where presenters can quickly cycle through a variety of toys, an interview for a YouTube Vlogger, or mini reviews conducted by social media teams. We hope that the Content Creation Zone can give all press the ability to produce their best possible coverage.

For more information on the Content Creation Zone please contact:

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Rebecca Deeming The BTHA’s Rebecca Deeming brings Toy World readers up to date on the current news from the association.


hat a twelve months it’s been for the BTHA, and the whole toy industry in general. Last week we held our second annual BTHA Parliamentary Reception at Westminster. It was a fantastic event, with a great turnout from our members, key partners and MPs, who represented our member’s constituencies. The theme ‘Don’t toy with children’s safety’ was a great success in engaging MPs with the ongoing issue of counterfeit and copycat toys, as well as creating a positive atmosphere surrounding responsible toy manufacturers. It was also the same day we said goodbye to our Public Affairs Manager, Kerri Atherton, who moved jobs at the end of last month. Kerri was a key member of the communications team for four years at the BTHA, liaising with members on policy and environmental issues. We shall miss her a lot but wish her the best of luck in her new role. Anyone who was in contact with Kerri, should now contact either myself or Natasha with their queries instead, by e-mailing or Natasha@ With just over a month to go until Toy Fair 2019, we are busy in the office preparing to make sure it’s our most successful show yet for both exhibitors and visitors alike. Exhibiting space is completely sold out, so we are set for another busy show. If you are yet to register for your visitor pass, then visit www. to do so. Last month we also announced our new Content Creation Zone – a brand-new area designed to support influencers and content creators of all kinds. The zone will be a bright and vibrant area for users to create exciting videos and other content at the show. We encourage anyone looking to use this zone to contact in advance, to book their slot. We will also have slots available on the day. We’re also looking forward to the Toy Industry Awards which will take place at Pizza Express the end of Day 1 at Toy Fair on Tuesday 22nd January. Tickets are still available and anyone looking to purchase one should contact A huge thank you to everyone that participated in the Toy Trust Christmas Card initiative. This year is a record-breaking year, as the total amount raised reached £11,100 – a huge achievement from the industry. The money raised will go to a variety of children’s charities. Despite the uncertain climate surrounding the toy industry regarding Brexit, we’ve had a fantastic year representing our members over the past twelve months and look forward to continuing to do so in 2019. On behalf of everyone at the BTHA, we’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year – and we’ll see you at Toy Fair!

Marketing World Sylvanian Families comes to life in new video series After delighting children for 33 years, Sylvanian Families will be coming to life on screen for its own video series. Children will be able to watch the adventures of their favourite characters in CGI, which will give a fresh outlook to the heritage doll house brand. As well as being available to watch on YouTube there are also exclusive animated episodes available on Netflix. The series, which follows the adventures of Freya Chocolate and her friends Ralph Walnut, Tiffany Go Lightly and Melinda Cake Bread, comprises 12 mini episodes lasting three minutes each alongside two longer stories. The Treasure of Sylvanian Village is 22 minutes long and follows the families living in the traditional village setting. Another longer episode lasting 11 minutes – A Town of Dreams – will follow characters in the Sylvanian Town, coinciding with the launch of the Sylvanian Town range of toys in spring 2018. Launching in English, the episodes were made available in other languages from 1st December.

The Entertainer invests in ITV sponsorship to support Christmas campaign The Entertainer is sponsoring ITV’s This Morning, in addition to Phillip Schofield’s How To Spend It Well. Celebrating Little Festive Moments, The Entertainer has invested over £1.5m in a wider Christmas multi-channel campaign, to champion those precious family moments ahead of the festive season. This includes the sponsorship and activation of the campaign across PR, social media and in-store marketing from the end of October. Jason Spencer, business development director, ITV, commented, “We are delighted to welcome The Entertainer as sponsor of ITV’s flagship daytime show This Morning, and seasonal consumer offering How to Spend it Well at Christmas this winter. The partnership between the brand and programmes at a key retail period is the perfect way to capture the nation’s imagination across the festive season.” Phil Geary, chief marketing officer at The Entertainer, added: “Christmas is naturally a key time of the year for us. The sponsorship of these hugely popular TV programmes, which are loved by families across the UK, is a great opportunity for us to remain at the forefront of our customer minds, by reaching almost half of British parents as they prepare for the festive season. It’s also great to further strengthen the relationship we have with ITV following our CITV sponsorship.”

Wilton Bradley teams up with Amazing Arabella and JD the Kid Wilton Bradley has partnered up with the YouTube stars to promote its official The X Factor Mi-Mic range. With a combined 6.5m views on YouTube and an audience of over 811K on Instagram and Twitter, Amazing Arabella and JD the Kid’s partnership with Wilton Bradley will see them create a host of karaoke themed YouTube and Instagram videos in the lead up to Christmas. The YouTubers will team up with their peers across the social media sphere to demonstrate the fun that can be had with the mics. The first video in the series, which has recently been released on IGTV, features a cameo from the Meet the Vloggers family and takes inspiration from the Carpool Karaoke concept made famous by James Corden. Building on the success of its award-winning range of Mi-Mic karaoke microphones, Wilton Bradley was awarded the licence to manufacture The X Factor karaoke microphones and speakers earlier in 2018. The first of these products – the newly launched XF1 and XF2 X Factor Mi-Mics – have won awards from Right Start and Made for Mums as well receiving highly rated consumer reviews online. The innovative Mi-Mic karaoke microphones allow kids to connect to their phone or tablet via Bluetooth and sing along to their favourite songs from YouTube, Spotify and other karaoke apps. The mics include a fun echo feature and unique voice changing function (on selected models) allowing singers to change the pitch of their voice.

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Knowledge equals power In a turbulent year for UK toy sales, advertisers have been forced to adapt in order to achieve stand out. Echoing the evolving retail landscape, the opportunities available are more diverse than ever before, but must be utilised wisely.


ecessionary pressures have caused general economic uncertainty, which has had an impact on retail.

Difficult retail conditions have produced a turbulent year for toy sales in the UK. The loss of a major specialist retailer has had a significant impact on current and forecasted toy sales. In addition to this, linear TV audiences on children’s commercial channels have declined year-on-year. This has meant that advertisers are having to work harder and in more diverse ways to achieve stand out. Sound familiar? If so, that’s because we’ve been here before. All of the above refers to 2009, which certainly presented its challenges to the retail and advertising sectors. Almost a decade on, the toys & games market is facing similar challenges. Arguably though, with Brexit on the horizon, the level of uncertainty the market is operating under is even greater than the last time around. Like Woolworths in 2009, Toys R Us ceased retail trading in Q1 of 2018. The impact of this has been, and will continue to be, significant. The situation has forced a complete re-evaluation of the UK retail landscape. Unlike 2009 however, this landscape is now much more diverse. In terms of physical retail, Smyths has established itself as one of, if not the, dominant force in UK toy sales. In the e-commerce space, Amazon’s offering is now one which the majority of consumers are accustomed to using, whilst the e-commerce solutions of other toy retailers have also become much more sophisticated to match the demands of consumer behaviour. With this comes new opportunities for interrupting the consumer path to purchase. Whilst there are similar parallels between the TV audience declines of 2009 and 2018, it is evident that 2018 is in a more onerous position: Looking ahead to 2019, TV will no longer be able to accommodate advertiser demand, should the rate of decline continue.

Akin to the evolving retail landscape, the opportunities available to audiences are more diverse than ever before. Content, be that video, gaming or social, can be found on a plethora of digital platforms. The challenge now is for advertisers and agencies to successfully harness these opportunities, in a manner which maintains cost efficiency and plan integrity moving forward. In what has become a disparate landscape, it is more important than ever to identify the media channels which provide the scale, impact and creativity required to sell product. Diluting media budgets across multiple digital channels is unlikely to have the desired effect at retail, and will create distrust in digital media’s ability to perform in general. It will be of little surprise to learn that YouTube is one such place where scale is growing to a comparable level to TV. In terms of absolute reach, it already outperforms many children’s commercial TV channels, albeit across a multitude of channels which far exceed the commercial children’s TV landscape. However, owing to the nature in which YouTube content is consumed, it cannot achieve mass scale at a single point in time like TV. Therefore, when looking to achieve coverage on a broad scale against a more generic target audience (i.e. children aged 4-9), TV will remain the first port of call for the foreseeable future. It is when target audiences are more bespoke that YouTube’s strength becomes apparent, particularly from a cost efficiency perspective. However, in order to harness this, the correct research and trading mechanics need to be applied. GDPR compliancy means that YouTube cannot report audience data for children’s audiences. This is why, as an agency, we use data from Giraffe Insight’s Kids and the Screen study to identify content viewing behaviour for 2-9 year olds. From

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Jonathan Chambers

Director of AV Investment, Generation Media. Tel: 0207 307 7906

this unique data we can determine to what levels YouTube content is being consumed by age group (as targeted as ‘girls aged 4’ for example) – all in a GDPR compliant manner. Only when this level of data is applied to campaign results can we understand the true Cost Per View (CPV) being achieved by audience, as opposed to being enticed by seemingly low numbers. For example, being sold a campaign which achieves a CPV in the pennies certainly sounds attractive, but only if you can justify the likelihood of those views being within your target audience (not to mention being able to justify how that CPV actually compares to other media channels trading on a different mechanic such as a CPM!). Looking back to 2009, the market was forced to adapt quickly in order to thrive once again. The same is even truer now of 2019. As the decline in linear TV audiences continues, 2019 media planning needs to adapt. YouTube should now be commonplace where budgets allow (and dependent on time of year), but this is not yet the reality. In this new media landscape, knowledge continues to equal power. Make sure you are using it to embrace the new opportunities which now exist.

Licensing World

Jazwares named global master toy partner for Go Away Unicorn!  With CentaIP named worldwide licensing agent for Sonar Entertainment’s new animated series, Jazwares has secured exclusive global rights to produce a toy line featuring peel away blind figures, a variety of figure packs that bring the best episodes to life and plush by Russ. Product is due to arrive at retailers in late summer 2019, just in time for the backto-school season. The series will premiere on Disney Channel US in March, with an exclusive preview available in the DisneyNOW app beginning December 2018. Go Away Unicorn! launched in Canada on Corus Entertainment’s YTV and is already reporting as a top 3 show. The series follows the adventures of Alice, a modern and independent young girl who prefers sports and books to rainbows and glitter – until a real-life Unicorn turns up at her birthday party and declares himself her new best friend. Together they learn to embrace their differences and realise friendships are often found in the unlikeliest of places. Andrea Gorfolova, president, Sonar Kids, Family and Factual, commented: “We believe Jazwares is a perfect partner for this fast-growing brand. Jazwares instinctively gets what makes Alice, Unicorn, and their relationship beautiful, unique and important to kids today. All the fun, humour and spirit of the series will be reflected in the toys Jazwares is bringing to the market.” Laura Zebersky, chief commercial officer at Jazwares, added: “We’re excited to introduce the Go Away Unicorn! toy line to the retail space. Go Away Unicorn! is a perfect fit—the content lends itself to a synergistic line of toys that embodies the importance of friendship and acceptance, while being funny for the whole family.”

Thinkway sees significant boost in sales of Toy Story action figures Through a variety of platforms including TV, social media and a blogger network, Thinkway has been on a drive to engage fans, new and old, with its 12″ range of characters and action figures. One social media strategy, using the hashtag #ThinkwayFriends, gained over 3.7m Twitter impressions reaching 692,000 individual accounts, highlighting some of the key product features such as pop out wings and speech effects. More recently, an investment with Disney media sales and partnerships has seen bespoke educational content launched on YouTube for the Thinkway range. The first Think Big with Thinkway video, Buzz Lightyear Explores Space, has gained 122,000+ views so far. A video starring Woody is to follow shortly. Darran Garnham, CEO of Thinkway’s UK distributor MTW Toys, commented: “Our social media strategy has led to double digit sales growth at retail and bodes well as we go into the movie year, with more unique plans to come.”

New partnership for exclusive Paddington launch The Copyrights Group, Rainbow Designs and Hamleys have partnered to launch a Hamleys Exclusive Paddington plush. Celebrations to mark the brands 60th anniversary include the newly launched Hamleys exclusive Paddington plush, featuring the Hamleys brand logo embroidered onto Paddington’s left foot and a special Hamleys gift tag. A striking window display showcased the brand new Hamleys Exclusive Paddington throughout October, as well as Rainbow’s new Paddington Bear Classic range and two special 60th anniversary Paddington Bears. Rainbow’s Collector Paddington in a 60th Anniversary Gift Box has also been launched this autumn to commemorate the milestone anniversary, along with the new Large Cuddly Paddington with Scarf, inspired by Peggy Fortnum’s illustrations. As part of the celebrations, Paddington Day at Hamleys took place on Saturday 27th October. The event provided an opportunity for visitors to meet Paddington, have their photo taken with him and get a first look at the exclusive bear. Anthony Temple, Rainbow Designs’ managing director, commented: “Paddington Bear is a great British icon and Hamleys is a great British toy store, so the two complement each other perfectly. We’re delighted to be joining forces with this prestigious store to bring fans and enthusiasts this striking celebration marking 60 years since the publication of the first Paddington book.” The new Paddington Bear Classic range from Rainbow Designs includes the premium Large Classic Paddington with Boots and Suitcase, the Classic Cuddly Paddington and the Classic Paddington in a Union flag-designed bag. A Classic Bean Toy Paddington and Classic Paddington Key Chains are also available.

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Licensing World Hasbro Studios announces international distribution deal with Cartoon Network Hasbro Studios has announced an international deal with Cartoon Network to distribute Season One of the hit animated series, Transformers: Cyberverse to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. The deal includes both linear and digital distribution to bring the show, which is already a hit on Cartoon Network in the US, to the rest of the world. Finn Arnesen, SVP global distribution & development at Hasbro Studios, commented: “We’re very excited to continue to grow our relationship with Cartoon Network. It is the perfect partner to bring Transformers: Cyberverse to an international audience and allow fans around the world to enjoy a new Transformers saga that’s truly More Than Meets the Eye.” In Transformers: Cyberverse, Bumblebee is on a critical mission where lives are at stake, only he can’t remember what the mission is. His best friend Windblade has found him to help repair his damaged memory chips. With each recovered memory, Bumblebee rediscovers his past adventures on Cybertron before coming to Earth. His past will shape him into becoming the hero we know today. As each memory is repaired, another clue comes to light that will lead them both to complete their shared mission to save their friends and Earth; however, the Decepticons are hot on their heels and time is running out.

Promotion for Nickelodeon’s Marianne James Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products (VNCP) has announced that Marianne will take on an expanded role leading the consumer products business across Viacom’s UK & Ireland, Nordics, Central and Eastern Europe and Russia (UKNEE) cluster. Marianne previously led consumer products and commercial partnerships for the UK. She will continue her commercial partnerships role for Nickelodeon UK in addition to her new cluster responsibilities. The new role is effective immediately with Marianne reporting into Mark Kingston, SVP, International, VNCP and Alison Bakunowich, SVP, Nickelodeon, UK, Northern and Eastern Europe. Mark Kingston commented: “Marianne has done an incredible job growing the UK consumer products business over the past five years. As we focus on expanding consumer products in strategic European markets, including Russia and Poland, Marianne will bring her experience, strategic thinking and creativity to these businesses.” In her role, Marianne will lead retail sales and product category teams, retail marketing and commercial growth strategies for consumer products across the cluster. UKNEE is a strategic growth area for Viacom’s consumer products business. Additionally, in her UK Commercial Partnerships role, Marianne has oversight of brand and commercial partnerships and sponsorships for Nickelodeon UK, including the successful Paw Patrol Live tour and Slimefest. Jeannine Lafebre, senior director, VNCP Benelux, Nordics, Central and Eastern Europe and Petia Toncheva, licensing director, Russia and CIS will continue to directly lead their respective markets with a reporting line into Marianne.

Posh Paws announces How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World plush collection Posh Paws International is the official plush partner across EMEA for the muchanticipated theatrical debut of How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World, which debuts in Q1 2019. The Posh Paws collection will feature a range of plush including small, medium and large versions of key dragons inspired by the upcoming theatrical release. Plush characters include Toothless, Hookfang, Stormfly, Barf and Belch as well as new character Light Fury. The medium and large plush will come with glow-in-the dark features, including their wings and eyes, to really bring each dragon to life. In addition to collectible plush, the range also includes plush bag clips, so fans can wear and display their favourite dragons on the go. The collection is available now for pre-order and hit retail shelves on 1st December. Laura Bull, Posh Paws’ marketing manager, commented: “We are very excited to be working on such a popular licence as How to Train Your Dragon. We’ve developed a range that really brings the products to life and we cannot wait to see the glowing dragons flying off retailer shelves.”

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10 x 4 minutes play. watch. repeat

for licensing:

NPD Insight Challenging, disruptive and changing retail environment Reviewing the upheaval that has taken place in the UK toy retail channel in 2018, Melissa looks at the winners and losers so far.


o say 2018 has been an interesting year as consumers are purchasing lower priced items in the UK toy retail market would be this year. Products in the £3 - £15 price bracket are an understatement. With two thirds of performing particularly well with value up +3% the Toys value this year coming from and volume up +2%. However, higher priced items items that weren’t in the market in 2015, in grocers have seen a steep drop in sales this year. toys themselves are constantly changing, being Although only accounting for 5% of sales YTD re-invented, re-imagined and refreshed. Perhaps we October 2018, £30+ price points are down -31% in shouldn’t be surprised that the retail market for toys grocers, declining twice as fast as the rest of the is currently doing the same. market. week 1 to November week 2), even deeper than the Undoubtedly the biggest UK retail news was One key element impacting supermarket -10% the total market stood at the end of September. the closure of Toys R Us. According to our data, we performance is the size of these retailers’ toy Changing retailer promotional calendars make believe it was the number one toy specialist retailer ranges. Overall, grocers have 29% fewer toy items weekly analysis difficult, but it looks a disappointing with sales in 2017 of £349m (Source: NPD Consumer where carried for the three months to October 2018, start to this crucial period. In 2017, Q4 total value Panel) and it was undoubtedly a household name, compared to the same period in 2015. That’s over 500 sales were down -5%, a deeper decline than we saw even to those who don’t have children. With our items less in the last four years. At the same time, January to September 2017 which was flat, with estimates giving it a 10% share of the UK market in however, the value velocity per item (rate of sale) has spend moving to categories outside toys such as 2017, it was a large part of the industry and has cast increased +42%. Grocers may be selling less items, Video Games. There was much hope that the TRU a shadow over much of this year. The UK market is but each item is working harder for them. A smaller loss wouldn’t be felt as heavily in Q4 as it was earlier down -11% in value and -7% in volume YTD October toy range with a higher return is the ideal position for in the year, but wider macro-economic factors seem 2018, predominantly due to the loss of TRU (NPD retailers, so while overall toy sales are down slightly, to be impacting all retailers. Any brief review of the POS Retail Tracking). If we adjust the view to look it appears to be a managed performance for grocers. wider UK retail news will see that 2018 has been a at retailers that are still trading, the market is +1% Retail sales become even more important towards disruptive retail year across multiple industries, with in value and flat for units for the same time period. the end of year, with half of annual sales in the the macro-economic news meaning more retailers When Woolworths closed, the market was also last three months and a quarter in the month of are struggling, especially brick and mortar stores. down -10% in value, but excluding it from the data, December alone. At the time of writing, mid-way Despite a challenging climate this year, there is the market was up +13% YTD October 2009 with through the peak season, sales are -17% (October plenty of proof that 2018 has consumers searching out had some strong innovation other retailers early on. and exciting products, with With just +1% growth likeslime, squishies and unicorn for-like, consumers appear trends all lasting longing than to have reduced their toy spinners or loom bands did. spending this year and are The top sellers are dominated changing their shopping by collectibles - especially habits. World Soccer International L.O.L Surprise! - which would That isn’t to say that Harry Potter be a phenomenal success even some retailers aren’t with a stronger UK toy market. Jurassic Park/World performing well this year In addition, Harry Potter, – there are quite a few who PJ Masks Jurassic World, Funko and are performing strongly, Avengers Other Fingerlings are all growing, with the remaining toy L.O.L. Surprise! while brands like Pikmi specialists (including Incredibles Pop, Poopsie, SuperZings independents), discounters and Smashers continue to Black Panther and online retailers all carve out new categories Nickelodeon experiencing good growth and niches for themselves. this year. However, some Roblox There is growth to be had in other channels are not the UK Toy market for some 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 performing as strongly as properties and retailers, but previously. Supermarket Sales Gained £M this is through innovation of toy sales are down -4% in properties and a focus on high Source: NPD EPoS Retail Tracking | YTD October 2018 vs. 17 value, with volume flat, performing SKUs for retailers. Document classification: Client/Third Party Confidential

Melissa Symonds

Director UK Toys, EuroToys NPD

Top 10 Fastest Growing Licences across total toys ranked by value gained – YTD October 2018 vs. 17


The NPD Group, Inc. | Proprietary and confidential

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To monitor what’s happening in the ever-changing toy market, NPD collects point-of-sale information from all major toy retailers. This information, combined with our analysts’ industry perspectives, delivers a comprehensive view of what’s selling and where. We also field over 12m consumer surveys annually to help industry leaders understand why consumers shop where they shop and why they buy what they buy. For more information visit Follow NPD on Twitter @npdgroup.

Property Progression Total Property (Brand + Licence) Match Attax

With the start of the new Premier League season, the new series of Match Attax 2018/2019 season has driven the property sales of nearly £1.5M in the last month, driving Match Attax to 65% of Strategic Trading Cards value for October and an impressive 85% of volume. As well as the various multipacks, mega tins and starter packs, the Premier League 2018/2019 Advent Calendar Rank Rank is one of the top sellers for the property Sept 2018 Oct 2018 despite only 50% weighted distribution for the month. Grocers accounted for more than two #93 #27 thirds of Match Attax sales in October .

Fastest Growing Licences in Toys With licensed toys accounting for £1 in every £4 spent on toys, it is a highly competitive area of the UK market. 2018 was a Football World Cup year so World Soccer International remains the fastest growing licence over the last ten months after the Russia tournament in the summer. However, the second fastest growing licence is Harry Potter or Wizarding World. The toys were re-launched in August and in its first month, Harry Potter was the number two property across the whole toy market, with phenomenal sales across all categories. Jurassic World was the strongest toy licence of the summer blockbusters with sales up +58% on 2015, when the previous Jurassic World film was released. Other movie properties growing this year are Avengers, Incredibles and Black Panther all reflecting strong box office performance. PJ Masks is the fastest growing PS licence so far this year. While the vast majority of LOL Surprise! sales are by MGA’s core brand, there is a quickly growing licensed offering with Children’s Games and Stickers the largest categories so far. Nickelodeon’s slime offering continues to perform well, while Roblox shows that that digital licensing also has success in the physical toy world.

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Talking Shop

We squish you a Merry Christmas! Indie retailers took time out from the hustle and bustle of the most wonderful time of the year to chat to Toy World about what has worked for them in 2018, their plans for the festive season and how they promote themselves and engage with the local community. With new branches just opened, there’s also insight into how two of our participants have managed changeover in their respective businesses.

Michael Baker-Kilburn -

Little Darlings Toys & Gifts, Knaresborough When last I spoke to you I was at Toys at Knaresborough, but since then I’ve moved location and rebranded as Little Darlings Toys & Gifts. During the three years that we were in our previous location, on Market Place, I noticed when doing my end-of-year figures that most of my products were for children under six years of age. When the lease on that property expired, I decided that I would move and that, instead of trying to please everybody, I would focus on the market I’d already been catering for without really being aware of it. Our new location is a unique property situated on the high street, so footfall is much higher. Our opening Saturday was probably the second busiest day of trading we’ve experienced in the past three years, and it wasn’t because we’re new – it’s just traffic from the high street. Now we are focusing on the under-six market we are selling a lot of Hape and Marbel products, and I’ve brought in Floss & Rock which is performing really well and has proved incredibly popular. I can’t keep up with the rate the jigsaws are selling at, and the purses and tutus are likewise flying off the shelves. Our rebrand reflects an expanded remit; we now offer far more gift items which offer a better margin. I received advice from a number of sales agents who strongly recommended that I go down the gift route, and hopefully this will pay off with better profits. Summer was really bad for us – the World Cup, combined with that amazing weather, resulted in

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few customers and very poor sales. At one stage I started to worry that it was something I’d done, but when news started to emerge that other areas of retail were also suffering, and that other toy traders were experiencing exactly the same difficulties, I was reassured (although it didn’t make my bank balance any happier!) Amazon was a saviour to an extent, as I sell a lot online, but the companies I’m working with at the moment are restrictive on third-party websites. However, on the plus side, this means that a lot of the toys I stock in-store aren’t available on the web. I do the majority of my advertising on Facebook, and I find that if you post about an item on there, it really drives customers into the store as they can’t get it elsewhere. Floss & Rock won’t allow third party website advertising, and you won’t find a lot of Juratoys’ brands - Kaloo and Janod - online either. I am purposely selective about pulling out these products and championing them on the Facebook page, and that approach is definitely translating to sales. The views on my Facebook posts are easily exceeding 600, which is great. Knowing that I would be moving, I was able to prepare well so that there was minimal disruption, which is vital at this time of year. I closed the old shop on the 9th November, moved into the new one, cleaned, painted and was open for business on the 17th. The customers I’ve met so far have most definitely been doing their Christmas shopping,

Talking Shop with wooden toys from Janod and Hape proving particularly popular. One of my best-sellers is the small version of the Janod Wooden Magnetic Rocket, and it’s going down a treat. Knaresborough does Bright Friday instead of Black Friday, as it’s the day the Christmas lights are switched on, and we did a late-night shopping event along with most of the other retailers in the town. The first weekend in December also plays host to the Christmas market, which is always a very busy couple of days for us. We’re looking at in-store events once we have more new products on board, which will enable us to run launch evenings with

focused displays, POS and so on. To maximise festive sales, I find you’ve got to open every single day. Shoppers can visit us from 9am-6pm daily right up until Christmas, and Facebook gives us a really direct way of speaking to our local customer base. Offering individual items that aren’t available elsewhere really sets an indie apart from multiples and big chains, and the personal service we offer is second to none. Every single person who walks through our door is made to feel welcome, and if a customer is unsure of what to buy, we are happy to offer help and advice. We’re also able to order in products we might not

physically stock, and, if we don’t have an account with a supplier, we’ll try and source it anyway. Failing that, searching online and informing the customer where they can find what they’re looking for is always appreciated – personal customer service is key. If anyone is struggling at the moment, they’ve got to look at what is working for them – and what isn’t – and be brave enough to make changes that will transform the business to what it should be. I spent three years in Wetherby trying to please everyone, but found out that you just can’t. Listen to your customers, find out what works and focus on that.

Matt Kirby - Crocodile Stores, Cotgrave We launched in 2002 as an online only toy store, with a unit in Manvers Business Park which we used for stock. My partner Sian and I had been thinking about opening a physical store for a while, and when Toys R Us went under earlier this year we decided to turn the unit into our shop. It’s going really well – much better than we had anticipated, having heard all the high street doom and gloom. Despite being situated in a business park, and not on a main thoroughfare, the traffic we’ve been getting through the door has been pleasantly (and surprisingly) high. We are lucky in that a housing estate was built near us quite recently, and so we have plenty of people coming into the store that were walking past on their way to or from the schools in the area. We’re advertising our presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, we’ve had some coverage in the local papers and word of mouth is proving fruitful too. Although our physical store is new, we’ve been around for a long time, and people in the area know our name and that we exist. Of course, good old fashioned signage works too. Although we opened in late October, we already had all the stock we needed to hit the ground running for the Christmas trading period. However, it’s been a bit of a learning curve with regards to what we do and don’t have room for, so there have been a few

rounds of swapping things about and shuffling the shelves. Because we’ve had open days and sales in the past, we had the tills already in place, but making sure our systems work coherently was important. For example, if we have one of a product in stock, and we are selling it both in the store and on the website, the system needs to recognise when it’s sold and mark it accordingly. It’s the little things like that which have proved the biggest challenges. Plush hasn’t worked at all for Crocodile Stores, which is surprising, but collectibles and pocket money items continue to prove popular. L.O.L. Surprise! is huge, as it is almost everywhere, and Orchard Toys is a good performer. We sell all the way up to big box items like climbing frames, pretend kitchens, workbenches and so on. Anything that says L.O.L. on it is leading the way

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this Christmas, and we are still seeing strong demand for slime. The Science4You Glow in the Dark Slime Factory is the biggest seller, and Elasti Plasti from Character Options is moving well too. Parents seem to appreciate that they can buy a gift for their child which is fun and on-trend, but also has an educational aspect. The pots of ready-made slime are being outsold ten to one by makeyour-own kits. We work with a number of nurseries in the area and are planning to run wooden toy open nights for parents of nursery age children. We’re also involved in the local Christmas light switch on, which helps us to engage as much as possible with the local consumer base. The aim this Christmas is to really get our name out there; it’s as simple as that. Profit is secondary to us at the moment; while it’s great to get as many customers in as possible, in the long term we’re focusing on using big brands like L.O.L on social media to drive engagement and boost followers. When we do communicate online, it’s important to target an audience rather than just throwing it blindly out there into the unknown. The loss of Toys R Us has driven a lot of stock into discount retail channels, and this means that a lot of consumers who may not have had access to certain toy brands without visiting toy stores now have a

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indie viewpoint number of other options. On a positive note though, we bought all our shelves from the Nottingham branch when it closed and used them to fit out our shop. Toys R Us closing in our area was a big factor in us making the leap to a physical store. The service we provide makes us far more like an old-school toy shop, with a small shop feel. We know our customers well and we’re always happy to help them in any way we can. Although we’re a small physical presence, we have a lot of stock, and that offers our customers a really good range of options. A lot of people in the toy trade have commented that we’ve done things in reverse, by moving from online to brick & mortar rather than vice versa. Having done it, I’d advise others to think about doing the same. When you’re just online, the bulk of communication you have with your customers revolves around late orders, squished corners on boxes and returns; having an actual store lets you experience the very best bits of the toy trade. A child running up to the counter with a big grin on their face is, for me, one of the best bits of the job.

Jonty Chippendale - The Toy Shop, Cockermouth This year hasn’t been a bad year and we’re happy to be where we are at the moment. We had a good summer; we are based in a tourist area, so the season was strong for us. I am feeling a bit more apprehensive about Christmas, but only time will tell. The stand-out range for us this year has been Lego. I think this is because Lego is one of those classic products that people know and trust. They feel that it offers value for money and plenty of play value, so will still buy it - even in times of economic downturn. The Harry Potter Lego sets are a no-brainer this year; they are obviously going to be popular. However, so many of the most popular and high-profile products are heavily discounted online in the run-up to Christmas that I tend to avoid them and stock different items instead. L.O.L Surprise! has sold really well. Supermarkets discount it left, right and centre, but we continue to stock the range even though we don’t make all that much money on it. We were able to get enough stock, although that may have been because we didn’t over order. Many shoppers walk in with a smart phone in their hands and are actively comparing prices. So, we need to buy carefully and avoid products that are being discounted heavily online. An example of this is Playmobil, which has improved its product range a lot this year. On the face of it should be a good range to carry, but coming up to Christmas the price of the advent calendars is reduced by 25% online, not just on Amazon either. We have found that selections are becoming less about product and more about price point. This year, the stronger sales have been with products at lower price points. People are uncertain about the economic outlook and are being more cautious with their money. I am particularly concerned that as we head towards the utter confusion and shambles that seems to be Brexit, we will find that people will just stop spending. This is why we want to make sure that we turn as much stock into cash as possible over the Christmas period. I’m looking forward to planning for next year. I am considering whether to make the trip to London Toy Fair or not, but I expect to be going to Spring Fair at the NEC, and without a doubt will be going to the Toymaster show in May. I’m looking for a revolutionary new toy product which will sell like hot cakes, with a great margin and at a relatively low cost to me. When I find that, I will buy shed loads of them and then retire!

Mark Buschhaus and Stephen Barnes Toy Barnhaus

Christmas tills are ringing


s we write this, it is with the sound of the tills finally starting to ring in the background! It is fair to say that trade has been noticeably subdued over the last couple of months. Not completely disastrous, but definitely tracking a bit behind last year. We have found that customers are spending more in our stores, but there are less of them. To help boost sales, we brought forward our Black Friday event by a few days, which helped to spur takings. We didn’t go mad, but reduced a few key lines, along with offering some clearance lines we bought in specially. Whatever you may think about it, Black Friday is here to stay and it does seem to kick off Christmas spending now. However, it is all about managing things carefully. Often just £10 off a larger product will help, without giving away too much margin. Being independent, you can decide in a minute to move the price back up when stocks start to run low. We also operate a Price Match policy, which has been a massive help in improving our price perception among customers and does not cost nearly as much as you might think. October and November are when we see the most activity, as other big chains launch their various promotions. We only match physical stores, not purely online retailers, but if it is in stock, we will match the price. The key thing about this policy is giving the customer peace of mind when shopping with us; they know that if they can find it cheaper, then we will match it. What generally happens is that they buy the price match item, and then buy several other items at normal price from us, so overall, we benefit. We deter the customer from going to a competitor first in the future, and avoid potentially missing out on all those sales. In the long run, we win by keeping that customer loyal. By the time you read this in December, the Christmas season will be in full swing, and it is a question of keeping up with everything, as the mountains of stock finally come down. We are always a destination for stocking fillers and these small items are our bread and butter. I can guarantee that our best-selling pocket money line will be whoopee cushions, as they are fun for all ages. Along with slime, putty and bags of toy animals, they are just a few of the lines that we are confident will be popular. Keeping these smaller items on shelf at all times during December will improve our margin, and are also ideal to keep by the till as pick-up lines, along with batteries for all the radio control toys we sell. With the volume of customers coming through the doors this month, these small items can easily increase each average transaction spend by at least 50p, which makes a big difference in such a busy month. When we finally reach the big day, our attention turns to Boxing Day. The period between Christmas and New Year is always really busy and is like a week of Saturday trade every day. Kids have their Christmas money to spend, and it is burning a hole in their pockets. We will have a sale on for Boxing Day, with any lines we have been left with overstocks of, plus lines we will buy in specifically for it. However, the biggest opportunity during this period now seems to come from new lines. More and more suppliers are now launching new products as early as Boxing Day. This year, Lego have four ranges launching; Flair has a couple, and a few other suppliers have exciting new introductions too. It is a great time to launch, with the high footfall in stores. For independents, it is a huge advantage to have new stock ready for launch then, giving us a point of difference against the big chains. With the new lines in stock first, we will keep the tills ringing well into the New Year. Merry Christmas to everyone in the toy trade, hopefully it brings good sales and nice presents to you all.

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Viewpoint Looking to the future

David Ripley David is currently EMEA category director for Toys, Nursery, Sporting Goods & Pet Care at Groupon. His long career as a toy buyer has included stints at a number of the industry’s largest retail accounts.

Congratulations! You have been shortlisted for an award…

Nat Southworth MBA, ACMA Nat is managing director of Kids@Play Ltd, has bought toys for Asda, and held sales & marketing positions with Vivid, HTi, and Hornby.

With the main event just around the corner (Christmas, not Brexit), most toy related businesses will be reviewing their commercial results and working out how 2018 washed up, whilst also trying to assimilate what actually happened to the industry, in the hope that the year can be put into perspective. Turbulent does not quite sum up 2018 for retail, and the impacts have been felt widely across all product areas and territories. It was also a year that the TRU horror story played out in full and dominated toy retail editorial content; TRU being among the store casualties in the UK that averaged a very sobering 14 store closures per day. This number of closures does not include or address those retailers that have managed to survive the year but are teetering on the brink, of either full closure or a material

There isn’t a day that goes by where someone isn’t proudly announcing the securing of an award. If you don’t believe me, have a good scroll through your LinkedIn news feed. If you scour listings for popular online retailers, you can even see products proudly displaying the badges of honour they have been awarded - and if you look really closely you can see products displaying badges that they haven’t even won! But in the era of fake news, what’s the issue with a little poetic licence on the use, across the entire range, of awards that just one of your products has won? Jim Hawker, another contributor to this magazine, isn’t shy of making a constructive point on these issues and I remember him pointing out that in the world of PR there are more awards than PR companies (although maybe I made that last stat up. #fakenews). But what are you supposed to do when contacted with: “We’ve shortlisted you for an award… please send a cheque and a product sample”? This year at Kids@Play, we are delighted to be recognised and have merrily filled in forms and submitted samples to various “authorities on toys”.

restructuring that will lead to store numbers and therefore staffing levels being reduced. Cultivating retail IP after failure is becoming an interesting development in the current climate. Franchising and licensing house brands are not new concepts, but typically act as commercial extensions rather than the entire business model, with Geoffrey’s Toy Box emerging from the closure of TRU and a mooted way forward for the Mothercare brand. As a commentator on the toy industry for 21 years and counting, even I cannot write in words the harsh reality and the full extent of store and job loss statistics. Laying out the reality with a depressing set of numbers would not be an appropriate end to the most exciting part of the year for the toy industry.

We’ve picked up a couple of awards too, and we’re proud of them, but I started to add up what we’d paid out in samples; for one particular set of awards, we sent in a range of our pre-school rideons. We even assembled them, but in return we got…nothing! Not even any judges feedback. These were products that have been sold internationally and played with by generations of children. Only one awards organiser acknowledged our entry with a professional review and recommendation, and this is where we get to the nub of the point…consistency. Who decides what toy is a winner? Ultimately, it’s the kids - right? Or is it the parent? Or the national account buyer who buys enough to make the product a commercial reality? Is it the company owner or boss who simply knows best? Somebody please let me know the correct answer. Once someone has clarified for me who decides, then we can get into the next part of the discussion; who are the awards for? Is it for the company running the awards, to make money? Is it for the company receiving the award, to feel good? Is it for your mates? Is it so that a

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So, I will take a look to the future and hopefully a much brighter 2019. Euromonitor has produced a forward-looking report a full generation into the future; ‘How will Consumers Live, Work, Shop and Play in 2040’. Well worth a read and available online via the Euromonitor website. So what will life 21 years post Brexit look like?? The main crux of the future vision is that there will be far more automation delivered by robots and artificial intelligence in the future. Not entirely a startling revelation considering our current retail revolution, but I do hope that the AI will finally work out that there is indeed nothing in the bagging area, that improvement alone would be a massive step forward. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

parent can recognise the kudos of the award and make a purchase? I am not sure I know anymore. The cost, the time and then the variability of judges’ feedback (if you get any at all) has meant I’ve lost my way in a maze of award nominations and mixed emotions. Maybe its time for us to pay a PR company to fill in the forms and explain to me the number of people influenced, as someone out there must have done research on the reach and impacts of winning a particular award? I sound like the Grinch who hates awards, but I am an eternal optimist and am happy to admit that I aspire for Kids@ Play to win as many accolades as possible. However, this year has been a bit of an eye opener. For example, I was delighted to receive an email telling me I am shortlisted for an Entrepreneur of the Year Award through the Association of MBAs. My prize for being shortlisted for this award is the honour of submitting a 25page report, which I will then be grilled on to decide if I am a worthy winner. Clearly, I’ll give it my best shot, but maybe sending a sample and a cheque isn’t so bad after all.

What‘s on the playground? Stay on the ball and experience the multifaceted world of play in one place: the right products for your business model, inspiring special areas, interesting presentations and an exciting festival specially for visitors to celebrate our 70th anniversary.


Each month Fresh sets out to find the latest products that will have toy retailers reaching for the phone. In December we have new releases from: The Puppet Company, Hasbro and Flair.

Wilberry Super Heroes

Wilberry/The Puppet Company 01462 446 040 |

The Puppet Company’s collection of soft toys continues to expand under the Wilberry brand, with new themes and designs being released all the time. Catering for a variety of childhood interests, Wilberry is unveiling an engaging and novel selection of Super Hero animals which are sure to appeal to children looking to inject even more adventure into their storytelling and imaginative play. There are six Super Hero characters to collect, with each one dressed in a detailed costume made from a mixture of high-quality materials. Kids can choose from the iconic Bat character or a funky looking Goose with a snazzy hero mask. The Elephant Super Hero comes with a bright yellow cape with mask detail around his eyes, whilst the Cat features a pink cape, pink polka dot outfit and shiny pink books. Completing the collection are the Bear and Rabbit Super Heroes, both sporting capes.

It’s not too late to order for Christmas; Wilberry Super Heroes are available now with immediate delivery.

Monopoly: Fortnite Edition Hasbro 0208 569 1234 |

The highly anticipated Monopoly: Fortnite Edition has now been released by Hasbro. In this new iteration of the classic board game, it’s not about what players own - it’s about how long they can survive. Inspired by the popular Fortnite video game, this game challenges players to claim locations, battle opponents and avoid the ‘Storm’ to survive. After choosing a character, Fortnite fans can then pick from 27 different outfit skins, buy iconic Fortnite locations, pick up loot chest cards and earn Health Points (HP). Rolling the action die lets players pick up health packs, build walls, and damage opponents, while every time they pass Go a ‘Storm’ is unleashed; if they can’t avoid it they’ll lose Health Points. Just like in the Fortnite video game, the last player standing wins. The game includes game board, 27 character outfit skins, 15 Storm Cards, 16 Loot Chest Cards, 8 Wall Cards, one numbered die, one action die, 110 Health Point chips and a game guide.


GP Flair 020 8643 0320 | Flair’s new Kuroba collection introduces magical creatures that battle to restore peace and harmony alongside their Kuroba Keepers, creating a fresh way to play ‘rock, paper, scissors’ with an interactive twist. Each cube shaped Kuroba represents one of five elemental tribes: Terra Kuro, Fire Kuro, Night Kuro, Water Kuro and Ice Kuro. Unique Kuroba can also be created by mixing and matching tribe panels — the more Kuroba kids collect, the bigger the mash-ups they can create. Collectors can then practise becoming a Kuroba Keeper with one Kuroba transforming creature, one practise cube, and one creature gem. By sliding the Kuroba and practise cube together, the Kuroba will capture the practise cube inside. The bigger the collection, the more opportunities are created for customisation and battling. Keepers can continue improving their Kuroba skills with the all-new Kuroba Battle packs; sliding these transforming creatures together causes the winning creature to pop open and capture the other. Each pack comes with two creatures, two gems, and three mix & match panels. Kuroba will be ready for battle from January, and will launch with full marketing support including TV advertising.

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Company Profile

Reinvigorating K’Nex Toy World publisher John Baulch spoke to Paul Fogarty, K’Nex’s VP of Europe, following the company’s acquisition by Basic Fun! to find out what changes might be in store under the new ownership, and about the K’Nex’s latest toy launches. Paul Fogarty

Since K’Nex was acquired by Basic Fun! earlier this year, how have you found your new owners? Basic Fun! has fully embraced the K’Nex brand and our team. It’s been exceptionally quick to support the contemporising and reinvigoration of our brand. It has extensive knowledge of the toy market, and the founders are real product people. They’re also willing to invest in new tooling and have the energy and vision to revitalise the brand.

What are Basic Fun!’s strengths and what are the key elements they will bring to the table? Being a part of a portfolio company offers many advantages for the K’Nex brand. Basic Fun!’s diverse experience in an array of categories has brought innovation and new perspective to our line. Additionally, we’ve been able to leverage its exceptional knowledge of social media trends and new marketing techniques. Combined with expertise in commercialising and managing evergreen brands, such as Lite-Brite, this has been tremendously helpful. Essentially, K’Nex is now being driven by a product and marketing company, rather than an engineering company.

What changes can retailers expect to see in the K’Nex range next year? With Basic Fun!’s guidance and support, we are now able to push the envelope, allowing our models to really stand out. New packaging is in the works that maximises shelf impact, and new

parts with more deliberate colour palettes will give K’Nex an ultra-realistic look, while staying true to the creative building system that our consumers already love. Overall, the product line is better, the packaging is better and we’ve also strengthened our licensing portfolio.

Basic Fun has acquired a variety of established toy companies in recent years – can we expect to see some of these ranges join your portfolio in 2019? Yes, we will be bringing back a rejuvenated but focused Uncle Milton Science line to the UK. Similar to K’Nex, the brand has had a complete overhaul and is looking better than ever. We will also be expanding the Uncle Milton line with the addition of the Dr. Steve Hunters science and excavation sets. These sets feature authentic paleontologist-designed models and some innovative new twists on a well-established category.

Given Basic Fun’s strength in product development, how important is it to the company to establish your own IP in the UK market? Basic Fun! is a dynamic and fast-growing global marketer of trend-driven, high-volume toy concepts. Having a mix of licensed and proprietary IP is an integral part of our global growth strategy.

What can you tell us about your first major IP launch of 2019 – Cutetitos? Cutetitos was inspired by a social media trend of people wrapping their pets in blankets or towels, like a burrito, and posting photos of them online. A combination of innovation and tracking

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these trends led to the creation of the brand. The trade’s reaction and support has been extremely positive around the globe, and we look forward to launching the first wave this month, with further waves being introduced at Easter and for autumn/winter. Cutetitos will be supported with TV and digital marketing campaigns, starting on Boxing Day. The Cuteitos brand gives us a great opportunity to establish our credentials in the broader toy market.

What other new ranges should retailers look out for next year? We will be launching a very cute new collectible brand called Little Lucky Lunchbox. These surprise toys come inside a collectible mini-tin lunchbox and are all food-themed. The heart of the concept stems from the idea that kids like to swap and trade their lunches. The range will be launched for Easter, and there will be extensive marketing support, including Pop TV sponsorship and unboxing activity on social media. It’s a cute twist on the food collectible category, and we’ll be extending the range with new introductions in the second half of the year. Retro toys also continues to be a big focus for us; we’ll be introducing new items for My Little Pony Retro and Fisher-Price Classics Lite-Brite, plus our Line of Arcade Classics Hand-held video games, based on the Arcade craze of the 80s & 90s.

What are your aspirations for the coming year? We plan to stay focused on the K’Nex line, managing the mix of product very closely. We’ll be focusing on our core brands and on securing full distribution for our exciting new launches.

All of these companies will not be sending out Christmas cards this year. Instead, they have generously supported the Toy Trust by donating their Christmas Card budget to the Industry’s charity. In 2019 The Toy Trust will again be inviting the Industry to get involved with a number of exciting new events as well as the annual fundraising activities. Details and dates will be publicised in the New Year and updated on the BTHA website .

Company Profile

Orange Tree Toys

Branching out Toy World editor Rachael Simpson-Jones paid a visit to the Orange Tree Toys HQ, to find out what the wooden toy specialist has in store for 2019. With a host of new licences signed, an appearance at New York Toy Fair for the first time ever and a new plush range hitting the shelves, it’s a time of great expansion and potential for the company. Orange Tree Toys has recently signed a number of big-name licensees. Can you tell us more? Anuja Wilson, creative director: We are expanding our Disney licence to include more characters such as The Lion King, Dumbo, Toy Story and Mickey Mouse. Live action remakes will be released in 2019, with Dumbo in spring and The Lion King in July, while Toy Story 4 will be out in June. Our other big licence is Moon and Me, for which we will be releasing product next year. Mike Hartshorn, head of sales: Our design process is generally focused on what works best for our traditional customer base, providing them with a wide variety of innovative, fun and brightly coloured products that really help create a visually compelling in-store presence. However, for a licence such as Disney to really work for us, it has to drive significant volume and so we need to target these concepts at the mass market retailers. Moon & Me is really interesting for us; this is the new creation from Andrew Davenport of Teletubbies and ITNG fame. To be involved from the start with a property that comes with such strong heritage and huge potential is really exciting. As a company that specialises in traditional toys for the Infant/PreSchool category, Moon & Me is a perfect fit for us. MH: Whilst licensing is very important to us, our Orange Tree brand is and always will be our prime focus. That said, working with licences means that we can grow our business by selectively entering into the mass market in a way that doesn’t impact on our core customer base. Much of this base is made up of independent retailers, garden centres, department stores and so on, and they don’t want to Lamani Simons – Director

Anuja Wilson - Director

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Mike Hartshorn – Head of sales have to compete head to head with the mass market retailers as far as their selections are concerned.

Orange Tree Toys Does your new Orange Tree Kids range reflect your typical look? AW: The eco-friendly Orange Tree Kids bamboo dinnerware, which comes in both Lion and Rabbit designs, is reflective of our Orange Tree style. The new plush range is all our own design too, but it’s quite a different look and feel to the core wooden ranges, with pastel shades rather than bright, primary colours. We are known for the bold colours of our wooden toys, but softer tones work much better for the style of plush we have created. However, we are also looking at bringing out a nursery range which complements our wooden offerings. MH: It’s important to bear in mind that while we are working on licensed products, and the new Orange Tree Kids concept, we also have a huge amount of new development coming through on Orange Tree Toys; this is the fundamental part of our business and so is always a primary focus for our design team. For instance, for 2019 we have created three brand-new wooden toy concepts, including both pirate and dinosaur themed ranges. We want to make sure that our retailers have a constant selection of new and fresh products to keep their instore selection interesting for their own customers. AW: Some products are going to go down in price in 2019. We have managed to rework the design and the packaging to bring the overall price down, which in this marketplace is unusual. The Orange Tree Kids range was the star of the show for us at Autumn Fair this year; plush is a very competitive market, but it offers plenty of opportunities.

Company Profile

awareness. Having that iconic branding on our toys helps people understand who we are and what we do.

It’s been a challenging year for the toy industry in general. How has Orange Tree Toys fared? MH: We’ve had another good year this year despite the well documented challenges that industry has had to contend with, and we continue to record growth. A lot of new products and concepts have been launches such as Orange Tree Kids, which has really helped, and we’re in a good position; many of our retail partners are returning really strong performances. That said, we can’t afford to relax as I suspect 2019 will be equally tough, if not more so.

How is Orange Tree supporting the indies? MH: Indies are a major part of our business and so very important to us. We try to protect their business wherever possible, whether by offering something different to the mass market or by actively seeking to not over populate any locality. While we can’t guarantee not to have more than one retailer in an area, we do our best to minimise any overlap. That way, the retailer can feel confident in getting behind our brand. We reduced our minimum carriage paid order value last year, and we’re in the process of reducing some pack sizes and prices for 2019. We’re looking carefully at anything that could

Can you tell us more about the new sales managers you’ve hired? MH: Previously we have worked exclusively with agents, and, whilst we have a good team out there, circumstances have allowed us to review this and move to a mixture of agents and employed sales managers. This gives us a better balance and more flexibility to help the continued growth of our business. Our new sales managers will take over responsibility for some of our existing key and national accounts which will enable me to invest more time in the development of the international side of our business, along with other new domestic channels. Lisa McGowan (formerly Mulberry Studios) and Bev Cochrane (formerly Rainbow Designs) both bring a great deal of industry experience with them and are already known to many of our customers, having worked with them before.

What can we expect to see from the international side of the business in the coming months? MH: We will be officially launching Orange Tree Toys in the USA at the New York Toy Fair in February. This is a huge opportunity for us although admittedly a little daunting. However, we’ve partnered with some very good people who know the US market well and so we’re looking forward to the challenge. We had an excellent show at Nuremberg in January and as a result appointed five really good new distributors. Next year we will again be looking to find additional distribution partners for a few key territories, whilst also continuing to develop and grow with our existing partners. AW: In Nuremberg we met with FAO Schwarz, and we’ve produced a bespoke line for its New York stores this winter, as well as the Hudson’s Bay stores that carry FAO concessions. It’s great timing; as a brand going into the states next year, the tie-up offers extra

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be a barrier, and at how we can break it down to improve accessibility. AW: We work really hard to support the indies; it’s one of the reasons we took on Beverley and Lisa, as they have a much deeper understanding of that market. Working individually with each customer is the only real way to grow the business – every retailer is different, and there are different issues in each town. All in all, 2019 is set to be a major year in the continued development of Orange Tree Toys, with extensions to the new Orange Tree Kids brand planned and an increased licensed profile, plus a wealth of new products being launched under the Orange Tree Toys banner in the spring. The domestic market is expected to continue its rise whilst still being focused on supporting the traditional customer base. Add to this our ever-growing international presence, and it’s an incredibly exciting time to be part of Orange Tree Toys.

Company Profile

Addo Play

Resonating globally Rachael Simpson-Jones speaks to the co-founders of Addo play.

Founded in April 2015 by Mary Price, a selfconfessed ‘retailer at heart’ with a background in toy buying for the likes of Woolworths, and David Martin, who spent 13 years in sales and marketing at Mattel before moving to Mega Brands, Addo Play has grown into an internationally recognised and respected name in the toy market. Rachael spoke with Mary and Dave to find out the factors behind the company’s success, and what the toy community can look forward to seeing from Addo over the coming months.

How has 2018 been for Addo Play? Mary: We’ve doubled last year’s turnover, making it our best year to date - but we would expect that in a business three and a half years old. Things are happening so quickly, in terms of the expansion of our range, of our licensor partnerships and of our team. We’re hugely ambitious, with a real start-up mentality. While we are bucking the trend, we’re very aware we couldn’t do it without our brilliant team supporting us. David: Timing has been incredibly fortuitous in terms of our business model. The Entertainer is doing really well, and Gary Grant stated recently that the exclusive Addo programme is certainly part of this. We feel very fortunate, and very positive about the road ahead.

Do you feel that the business model – which has worked so well here in the UK – translates across the globe? David: Addo started with just Mary and myself and now we have 30 Addo employees across the UK, Hong Kong and Europe. The Entertainer team backed Addo Play right from the start, as we began to create it an exclusive programme of toys across multiple categories. We then make these ranges available to likeminded retailers in locations where The Entertainer doesn’t have a footprint. The Entertainer has very strong criteria for listing products, and if it works for that particular retailer, there is every chance it will be an attractive proposition for others. Because of our partnership, everything is designed with the retailer in mind. Our range is modular and fits on retail shelves efficiently, with well designed, contemporary packaging which features very clear consumer information. All the design is done here in

the UK, and it’s certainly resonating with others in the global market. Our products also offer great retail margins; when you combine our carefully curated ranges, great packaging and strong British design, Addo Play really strikes a chord with international retailers. Mary: Every single box we make is designed inhouse by our small but very talented design team. Our product, merchandising and QA teams do a fantastic job sourcing each item so the blend of great product in well-designed packaging is really working. We genuinely care about what goes in each box, and we want the customer experience to be an enjoyable one. Of course we are obsessed by the growth of the company, but we are equally obsessed about the sell-through of the product and keeping those customers coming back time and time again. Spend time in any department of Addo and you’ll see this passion and enthusiasm first hand.

How many countries do you now have a presence in? David: At the moment 20, in a variety of markets all around the world. We gained good traction early on in English speaking markets – Australia, New Zealand, South Africa – but we are also selling in Asia, with Toys R Us Asia being a good supporter of our line. We have good business in northern- and eastern-European territories too. This year we’ve added the US. It’s a very big focus for us going forward because of its scale. A few weeks ago we launched one of our ranges in Walmart across America in the run up to Christmas – the Liquid Lava Nickelodeon Putty line is now in 2000 stores. To be supplying the world’s largest retailer in only our third year of shipping is not what we were expecting, but we’re delighted. We are hoping to announce a big long-term North American direct retail partnership any day now across multiple Addo ranges, and we’re shipping outdoor/summer products to Argentina for spring too. Mary: We started in The Entertainer with Englishand Arabic-only packaging, but because of our global success we are launching international packaging for autumn/winter 2019. This will be a complete multi-lingual suite comprising 16 languages. This approach makes it much easier for the markets we are looking at to access our products.

How many ranges and products are you currently offering retail partners? Mary: We have over 300 products and over 18 sub-brands, mostly in-house brands such as our mechanical plush range Pitter Patter Pets, our 18” doll range B Friends, and our Snuggle Buddies soft toy range. We also have strong licensor partnerships. Our portfolio with Nickelodeon won the Outstanding Partner Initiative award. It includes the Liquid Lava Putty which, as Dave mentioned earlier, is now in Walmart; it’s been simply phenomenal since launching 12 months ago. Our dough brand Ready Steady Dough, under Nick Jr., has performed incredibly well so far, as has our science range Experimake.

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What has been the biggest success story this year? Mary: We’re a top three supplier to The Entertainer, and we have serious ambitions to build on this next year. Everything we’ve launched has exceeded our expectations, but if I had to highlight one range in particular it would have to be B Friends. The dolls launched in early November with incredibly strong support from The Entertainer in the form of fantastic retail execution, along with a strong marketing campaign. We can’t take all the credit for its success; it’s been a combination of great product, launched in the right way.

What new lines can we look forward to in 2019? Mary: We have five new ranges which we will be launching over the next few months, and we can announce that we will be launching a Pink Fong arts & crafts line aimed at pre-schoolers. Pink Fong is the company behind the viral hit Baby Shark. David: WowWee, as the master toy partner, will be taking our product to the North American market, while we will be overseeing European territories. Pink Fong will be running the Asian business along with its partners, giving us multiple supply routes. Whilst core everyday toy categories are our bread and butter, these licences are the icing on the cake. Our partnership with The Entertainer allows us to access these licensed brands early in their lifecycle, and gives us the opportunity to open up the international platform too. The Pink Fong product line will be our most accelerated piece of development yet, with product available very early next year – while we are launching a lot of other product in January, Pink Fong is hot right now.

Where can international retailers see your 2019 ranges over the coming months? David: Our Hong Kong showroom will be open from the 4th January, and we will be there for the full two week period, when all the international trade is there. We’re not showing in Nuremberg but we will be attending and meeting our partners. Our international customer base comprises distributors and direct to retail partnerships, so we’ll also be going on the road to ensure that everyone can see the whole range.

01635 887099








Nuremberg Toy Fair

Trendsetting in Nuremberg The Spielwarenmesse will be celebrating its 70th iteration from 30th January – 3rd February, when it looks forward to welcoming nearly 3,000 exhibitors from Germany and across the globe. With over 1m products for babies, toddlers and kids on show, the expected 71,000 buyers and retailers – attending from over 125 countries – will benefit from a host of inspiring presentations and areas spread across the five day show. Rachael Simpson-Jones finds out more.

Ernst Kick

The 70th anniversary edition of the Spielwarenmesse will surprise visitors with several ground-breaking changes,” says Ernst Kick, CEO Spielwarenmesse eG. “We are merging Model Railway & Accessories and Model Construction, Hobby producr groups, to create a new category - Model Railways and Model Construction - which will be located in Halls 7 and 7A. The new product group Electronic Toys celebrates its debut in Hall 4A, and we are also expanding the Festive Articles, Carnival and Fireworks segment with the new Showtime promotion area. This evolution is necessary to reflect market changes within the toy industry, and to respond to the needs of buyers and retailers. In addressing these changes, we are preparing the Spielwarenmesse for the future.” A major highlight in Hall 8, the 200m² new Showtime promotion will play host to an entertaining programme of events every day. Exhibitors will have the opportunity to present their latest costumes and trends on the catwalk three times a day, while other

innovations will be shown during demonstrations. The Showtime area also boasts three decorative islands, giving exhibitors the opportunity to display their products in a second location. Spotlighting everything from festive products for different occasions to party lighting and table fireworks, the islands give buyers and retailers valuable inspiration for use in designing their own product ranges. The varied programme is rounded off by a photo promotion; using a special photo mirror, trade buyers can take home their very own photographic memento. The Spielwarenmesse TrendCommittee selected its three trends for the 2019 show back in October. The first - Ready, Steady, Play! - focuses on toys that promote active and physical play patterns, giving children a better chance at meeting recommended daily activity levels and improving balance, spatial awareness and response times. With brands such as L.O.L. Surprise! driving toy sales across the globe, and a raft of new surprise-reveal ranges either already released for 2019 or in the pipeline, The WOW Effect will look at the increasing popularity of toys and collectibles that delight children with the unknown. Toys 4 Kidults, the final trend identified by the TrendCommittee, recognises the increasing impact of the kidult on toy spending. NPD figures show that in 2017 even more money was spent on toys by kidults – £1 of every £9, or 11% of the overall sector, up 3% year on year. Trade visitors can discover these trends in the TrendGallery in Hall 3A, which features various products that bring these trends to life. The Toys Meet Books special area debuted at the 2018 show. The concept, which was created with the aim of opening the world of toys to booksellers, prompted an impressive 41% jump in the number of book retailers exhibiting at Spielwarenmesse 2018

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compared to the year before. Situated in a highexposure location at Entrance Mitte, manufacturers will show non-book articles that lend themselves to the book trade. “The premiere of the Toys meet Books special show was a resounding success,” enthuses Ernst. “It provides booksellers with valuable ideas on how to fill their non-book portfolios with relevant products that will attract additional target groups. At the next show, this special area will be extended to 200m², and it’s also broadening its scope by targeting international booksellers. To cater to this expanded market, Friday and Saturday’s expert talks will be interpreted into both German and English. After the presentations, our experts will be available to talk to visitors in a speeddating format.” Christian Ulrich, marketing director Spielwarenmesse eG, added: “We’re introducing some new ideas to target booksellers more effectively. We’re paving the way for relevant ranges whilst providing valuable knowledge to assist this retail group in the daily running of their stores.” Returning this year, the Toy Business Forum in Hall 3A will shed light on how independent retailers and buyers can adapt to the challenges the market throws at them. The series of presentations kicks off on Wednesday, with a focus on trends in sales and retail. These talks provide important market guidance and help attendees stay on the ball. The Thursday presentations revolve around the future of the bricksand-mortar retail trade, while on Friday the emphasis shifts to the consumer. The Saturday will be under the banner of Change Management. Keynote speaker Dr. Peter Kreuz is a best-selling author, an international management consultant and gives talks to decision makers


VISIT US AT THE TOY FAIR: London: Booth No. G115 Nuremberg: Hall 7 Stand B-50

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Nuremberg Toy Fair

across all industries. Also known for his unorthodox thinking and ability to motivate others, he will have an encouraging message for those wanting to make an impact in business with his presentation Dynamite for Free Thinkers. The talks on Sunday, the closing day of the show, will present innovative marketing strategies for the coming decade. Spielwarenmesse holds great appeal for new exhibitors, not least because it supports first-timers with an attractive exhibition package. These companies benefit hugely from the New Exhibitor Centre in Hall 3A, which is viewed as a valuable destination by visitors in their search of inspiration and new ideas. The NEC is in high demand, with nearly 40 companies from 19 countries already having booked their stands by the end of October. Commenting on the NEC initiative, Ernst said: “The Spielwarenmesse is the world’s leading industry fair. We want the event to be a success for our first-time exhibitors and we want them to go away with positive memories. That’s why we’re happy to give them a helping hand as they enter the exhibition world.” “Every year, almost 3,000 international companies from more than 60 countries present their innovations

here,” Ernst adds. “Our exhibitors include all the major manufacturers, but the mix of market leaders and start-ups creates a unique diversity of products, providing our more than 70,000 visitors with a comprehensive overview of the market. Not only that, 31% of our exhibitors make the Spielwarenmesse the only fair they show at. This underlines its special standing as an important business, ordering and networking platform.” To mark its 70th year, participants and visitors to the 2019 Spielwarenmesse are invited to the ToyFestival party as a way of thanking them for their long-standing loyalty. “This relaxed gettogether with musical entertainment and delicious catering is a great opportunity for everyone to share memories of past fairs with friends and colleagues, but also to forge new business contacts,” says Ernst. “Everyone at the fair is warmly invited to celebrate with us on the Thursday evening and to raise a glass to the Spielwarenmesse!” Over the following pages, we take a look at what leading toy and game manufacturers will be showcasing at the 2019 event.

Funko Europe 020 3376 3223 | Hall 12, Stand C-05-1/B-08-1 Funko Europe is showcasing a host of new lines in Nuremberg, including toys and collectibles, giftware, plush, and its Loungefly category, which includes bags, purses and wallets from a vast number of licences. Visitors will get a sneak peek at some of the hottest new products including Funko’s iconic Pop! Vinyl figures, new categories such as 5 Star and Hero World, and popular pocket money purchases like Mystery Mini, Pocket Pop! Keychains and Pint Size Heroes. Licences such as Fortnite, Marvel, Disney and Harry Potter will be on display, and attendees can get an early look at some of 2019’s most exciting new additions to the licensed Funko portfolio. The Pop! Vinyl range continues to grow, with 6” and 10” Pop! on display, while the ever-expanding Premier League Football line will also be on stand, with players from teams including Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City. The breadth of teams is also expanding with the addition of top football team Paris Saint Germain, including players such as Neymar and Mbappé. Fortnite will be front and centre at the Funko stand this year. As one of the first companies to bring licensed product to the market for the co-op Battle Royale game, Funko’s line of Pop! Vinyl figures, Pint Size Heroes, Pocket Pop! Keychains and Vinyl has proved popular with fans. Products on show from the latest waves feature popular skins such as Raptor, Skulltrooper, Omega, Brite Bomber, Rex, Merry Marauder and more. Funko will also be bringing a selection of its licensed giftware collection to the show. Covering a range of properties such as Stranger Things, Toy Story, Star Wars, Rick & Morty, Disney and The Nightmare Before Christmas, there’s an abundance of lines for visitors to view. Storage sets, drinkware, bottle openers and cookie jars offer the ideal out-of-the-box gifts for fans who want to add some popculture fun to their home. Finally, Loungefly – a brand very much a focus for Funko in 2019 and beyond - will be present at the show again this year. Funko’s accessories line includes backpacks, handbags and wallets across key licences such as Marvel, Disney and Star Wars, with many new products on display at the show.

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32 High Park Road, Kew Gardens, Richmond TW9 4BH United Kingdom Tel +44 (0)20 8878Turbo 2133 10

Typhoon II

For appointment contact Malcolm Cook Mobile: +44 (0)7770 68 88 58

Alu Rider 10

Hong Kong Toy Show by appointment only Jan. 3. – 11. 2019

Avengers Cyclone

Paw Patrol E-Cruiser

Nuremberg Toy Fair Hall 12-2/P19 Jan. 30. – Feb. 03. 2019



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Hubelino 07918 653 940 | Hall 4, Stand E-93 Company founder Stefan Amels has developed kits which combine with existing children's toys to create engaging and expandable marble run creations. True to Hubelino’s mission statement - ‘Imagination grows with Hubelino’ – the company aims to inspire kids to constantly broaden their horizons and creativity. Hubelino manufactures all its products exclusively in Germany. With its own dedicated production facilities, the company can ensure that all Hubelino products meet the highest standards of quality, safety and compliance. All Hubelino products fit perfectly with building blocks from other well-known brands, and thus both complement and expand the play value of existing bricks collections. With Hubelino sets, bricks already owned by the child get a new lease of life, expanding their use and play potential for longer. The age range of the existing brick collection is also extended, as children of all ages love building and playing with marble runs. All Hubelino products can be expanded without limits and provide an increasing degree of difficulty, thanks to innovative extensions that grow with the child. Hubelino’s products put the focus on a balanced relationship between fun and learning. The development of new products focuses on learning content which, when combined with clever design, makes a toy with added educational value. Hubelino believes that its creative and high quality toys will encourage and enable the inventors and thinkers of tomorrow to create big things for a great future. For more information please contact Will Sharman on

Rainbow Designs 01329 227 300 | Hall 1, Stand E22 Brand new and joining Rainbow’s toy portfolio in 2019 is the Spot collection, launching just ahead of Spot’s 40th anniversary in 2020. Rainbow’s new range will include classic Spot soft toys as well as developmental lines. Also launching in 2019 is the new That’s Not My… range of nursery toys. Based on Usborne’s best-selling series of touchy-feely board books for babies and pre-schoolers, Rainbow’s colourful new collection will feature favourite characters from the popular picture books - the Kitten, the Puppy, the Bunny and the Monkey - as well as some of the newer characters. The range will include soft toys as well as developmental attachable blankies which emulate the same touchy-feely features as the books. The Guess How Much I Love You nursery collection, featuring Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare from the much-loved picture book, features a host of gifts and toys. On show at Nuremberg will be the Musical Lullaby Hares, Booties gift set, Large Nutbrown Hare plush and Little Nutbrown Hare plush rattle. This eye-catching range will also see new gift set additions in 2019. Elmer turns 30 next year and Rainbow’s toy range features bright and tactile rattles, a soft toy, the Trumpeting Elmer and soft plush comfort blanket, all based upon the colourful patchwork elephant. Visitors to Nuremberg can also see Rainbow’s three Peter Rabbit ranges: the Nursery collection, the Peter Rabbit TV range, and the Peter Rabbit Movie collection. Toys on show from the Nursery collection, which stars Peter Rabbit and Flopsy Bunny, include My First characters, Bean Rattles and Comfort Blankets, as well as new Gift Sets.

Mondo Toys 01706 751 155 | Hall 8, Stand B-36 The Mondo Toys division is dedicated to the creation, manufacture and distribution of outdoor toys, such as play balls, wheeled toys, beach toys, inflatables and more. Mondo is a leading licensee within its product categories, working with brands such as Disney, Mattel, Universal, Entertainment One and DreamWorks. Having started out with die cast replica vehicles, the company now also produces radio control vehicles and drones as part of its extensive product portfolio. At Nuremberg Toy Fair, Mondo will be introducing its latest range of radio control cars, comprising the 1:10 scale hobby-toy range. These 4x4 2.4 GHz frequency vehicles can travel up to 30km/h and come complete with a rechargeable battery pack. Kids can race with up to 10 of them at a time, choosing from a range of super hyper car models including the Ford Mustang GT4, Maclaren 650 GT3, Mercedes GT3 AMG, Porsche 911 GT3 and many more. Other Mondo Motors products are available in sizes 1:12, 1:14, 1:16, 1:18, 1:24, and 1:28.

Toy World 44


32 High Park Road, Kew Gardens, Richmond TW9 4BH United Kingdom Tel +44 (0)20 8878 2133


IMC Toys UK 01904 720 908 | Hall 12.2, Stand P-26 Cry Babies, the lovable dolls that cry real tears, have enjoyed huge success since launch, with the brand securing a leading position in the special-feature nurturing doll category. Next year will see the introduction of three new Cry Babies characters - Fancy, Pandy and Gigi - which will grow the brand and expand the range offering. In 2018, Cry Babies enhanced its popularity with the launch of Cry Babies Magic Tears. The new surprise collectibles are miniature versions of the Cry Babies dolls, come with numerous accessories and are able to cry real tears just like their bigger counterparts. The range is supported with a new animated series available to view on YouTube, Amazon Prime and Ketchup TV, and via the dedicated new website ( New episodes are released fortnightly, with views already over 8m. Cry Babies Magic Tears will grow further in 2019, with new dolls and play sets to collect. Bloopies launched with very strong sales, quickly becoming a best-selling bath toy and is now joined by Bloopies Mermaids. These beautiful mermaids squirt water out of their mouths when their bellies are pressed, and they can even blow bubbles when played with in a bubble bath. Submerging them in warm bath water will cause the pattern on their tail to change colour. There are six Bloopies Mermaids to collect, and Bloopies Divers are also available. IMC has revealed plans for new additions to feature plush range, Club Petz, in 2019. These new lines will join the successful launches in autumn/winter 2018, which included Your Real Kissing Bowie, Mystery Mao and Dancing PeeWee. The Baby Wow brand, a market leader in the feature doll category, launched a new sibling this year. Baby Wow Walking Megan joins Baby Wow Crawl and Play Charlie and Baby Wow Chatty Emma, while 2019 will see the launch of yet another new Baby Wow sibling for kids to love and care for. IMC Toys has also revealed new additions for 2019 to its strong portfolio of licensed brands, including Disney Frozen and Toy Story toy lines.

Tobar 0844 573 4299 | Hall 4, Stand F-95 On show in Nuremberg will be Tobar’s Llamacorns. A combination of Llama and Unicorn, the two favourite beasts of the moment, Llamacorns offers retailers a great new trend-driven pocket money range. Also on show will be Jellyball fruit animals to squish and squash. Appealing to the ‘aww’ factor are Tobar’s New Born Animigos, baby additions to the existing best-selling Animigos range. Comprising a range of animated plush in quality packaging, Each New Born Animigo comes with a baby bottle so that kids can feed and care for their new pet. Tobar also has the answer for show attendees in need of a power boost after hours trawling the halls. Visitors to the stand can sample the new protein and energy bars from Bear Grylls, which offer everything needed to keep people going throughout the fair season.

Character Options 01616 339 800 | Hall 5, Stand B-54/C-51 Character Options’ Stretch Toy collection will continue to expand into 2019, when the stars of WWE join the existing big name licences. The ultimate superstar WWE fighters Roman Reigns and AJ Styles are sure to be a popular in their giant stretch figure form. Kids can stretch them, pull them and tie them in knots, while releasing the toy will allow it to slowly return to its normal shape. The extensive Mini Stretch line up will also see WWE characters joining its ranks in the form of four of the world’s best professional wrestlers. Roman Reigns and AJ Styles will be joined by wrestling legends Finn Balor and John Cena; each collectible figure is super strong and super stretchy. The WWE Stretch collection launches in January and will be supported by TV, social media and digital activity.

Toy World 46


32 High Park Road, Kew Gardens, Richmond TW9 4BH United Kingdom Tel +44 (0)20 8878 2133


Strictly Briks 07918 653 940 | Hall 4, Stand B-88 The award-winning Strictly Briks construction range has been a hit with kids since 2015. Providing an affordable and sturdy platform on which kids can build, Strictly Briks helps kids to express their creativity as they construct whatever they can imagine. Every Strictly Briks product offers a guaranteed tight fit with all major building block sets; the baseplates, along with the company’s patent pending Stackers, are designed to be stacked and combined with existing brick collections, setting them apart from other construction products on the market. Strictly Briks founder and CEO Brian Semling relies on two in-house experts — his daughter Sonja and son Erik — who play with and model each toy available. The kids were the inspiration for the construction and toppling game Brik Buster. To play, everyone takes turns hitting the support pieces with the included hammer, trying not to make the tower fall to the ground. The last person to knock out a Brik without toppling the tower wins. Brik Buster allows kids to test their skills and strategies, play best-of-three, or create their own variation of the game. Combing the fun of building with the thrill of destruction, kids love hammering away at the tower they just built. Strictly Briks also provides STEM knowledge as kids play, from engineering to architecture, and parents can enhance school lessons at home or in the car with AlphaBriks and MathBriks - fun and engaging sets that reinforce maths and spelling skills through play. The pieces fit tightly on baseplates, while at the same time remaining easy for children to remove. The original AlphaBriks and MathBriks sets are aimed at children 4-12, while both are also available in silicone for ages 3-5. With Brik Tower, kids aged 5-12 can choose from 4-12 packs of 6” baseplates or 4-6 packs of 10” baseplates, both of which make building vertically quick and easy. Kids will be eager to construct something that stands out from all the rest, giving free rein to their creativity and imaginations. For the biggest budgets and those with unlimited play space, a 36-pack is also available. After its 2015 launch with sales of $500,000, Strictly Briks climbed to $3.6m in sales in 2017, and it has a projected $6.6m in sales for 2018. Outside of the US, the company is setting up distribution in the EU, Middle East, Canada, Central America and India. Strictly Briks is looking forward to replicating the success it has had in the US within the UK market. 2019 will see the launch of an engaging new programme for the UK independent sector; the company will be putting together attractive special offers and opening order packs, both backed by social media campaigns. The company will be exhibiting at a number of international trade shows next year, including Nuremberg, Hong Kong and London Toy Fair. For more information contact Will Sharman (UK) on willsharman@hotmail. com on the number provided, or contact Josh (USA) on

Toy World 48

Siso Toys UK 01620 674 778 | Hall 6, Stand C03-C09 Siso Toys UK’s 2019 line up will be on display at Nuremberg International Toy Fair on the impressive Simba Dickie Group stand. From January, Siso Toys UK will takeover distribution and marketing of Masha & The Bear and will support the range in 2019 with full 360 marketing support comprised of heavyweight TV, YouTube, social media, digital and PR, as well as bespoke retail peices to drive sell-through. The range will be made up of mixture of current best selling lines such as the 12cm dolls, 23cm soft body doll, a plush bear in various sizes from 25cm to 50cm, as well as the ever popular play sets. A hero item that will continue into 2019 will be the Big Bear House play set, which has light and sound features and two floors of interactive play. The full 2019 Masha and The Bear line up will be on display at the show. Following on from its recent news, Siso Toys UK will be showcasing its eagerly awaited RC line-up from Toy Story 4. The range includes 1:24 scale RC of key characters from the movie as well as 1:18 scale RC. Siso will be launching the range in April, but attendees can preview the full range on the Simba Dickie Group stand. CBBC’s The Deep has two successful seasons under its belt, with a third season set to launch in 2019. Siso’s range of action figures, vehicles and underwater robot suits, which is supported by an all-encompassing marketing plan comprising TV, cinema, YouTube and social media, will be showcased at the fair. TV lines include the collection of action figures and the underwater robots, known as Nekbots. The 25cm tall White Knight Nekbot lights up, is fully articulated and offers space inside to store one figure, while the yellow Mag Knight Nekbot is equipped with a firing mechanism, as it is armed with magnetic missiles in the series. Trollhunters - Tales of Arcadia, a Netflix original, will be supported by a range of detailed figures, play sets and role-play toys that will bring the world of Trollhunters to life. The range includes various sets of figures including 3” non-poseable multi-pack figures, and 6” deluxe figures with light and sound features. Young fans can become Trollhunters with roleplay products such as the sword weilded by lead character Jim, and the amulet which gives him his magic powers. The Trollhunters launch will be supported with an Easter TV campaign.

Visit us at Nuremberg toy fair:

Hall 4 Booth E-93

100% compatible with bricks from other manufacturers High quality product made in Germany From the age of 4 Awarded STEM toy

Hubelino UK distributor: Will Sharman +44 7918 653 940

Hubelino GmbH, Zum Königsberg 6, 41812 Erkelenz, Germany +49 (0) 2435 98005 60 Hubelino and the Hubelino® Logo are registered trademarks of the Hubelino GmbH. The displayed products are designed by Lippert Studios, Berlin. Design patents are issued for all products. © 2018 Hubelino GmbH


Stax Europe B.V. (+31) 880 909 396 | Hall 4A, Stand B-01 Following this year’s successful launch of Stax Hybrid, Spielwarenmesse will see Brandtraders unveil new product lines to join its growing Light Stax portfolio. A new addition to the Stax universe – Staxy – will be revealed during the fair. This new interactive, light-up Stax minifigure is set to expand the Stax offering and drive collectability. Further extending the play value that the Stax range has to offer, the introduction of Staxy will allow greater role-play and story-telling abilities through the minifigure characters. Staxy is compatible with the Stax range of LED light brick play sets which currently include Stax Hybrid, Stax System, Stax Junior, and Stax Interior. Each range comprises its own power base brick with specific functions to bring a new dynamic to construction play. All Stax bricks are compatible with major toy brick brands to increase play options. This year saw Stax Hybrid bring both light and sound to construction toys. Brandtraders continues to invest in this new range with the addition of new themes and more items in the current animals and vehicles ranges. The powerful LED light and 2x4 speaker brick will now be added to create a host of hero sets from monkeys to monster trucks, as well as a special buildable Santa. A highlight for the show will be the unveiling of the first Stax partnerships with two of the world’s most iconic hobby and pre-school brands. Nuremberg will showcase the Stax Marklin HO model train set. In 1:87 scale, the set will be fully functional and bring a new experience to rail-play and building for collectors, hobbyists and children alike. For younger children, the Stax Miffy Puzzle will be unveiled under the Junior range. The popular little rabbit will now be available in buildable light-up Stax form, with the puzzle including well-known scenes from the Miffy and Friends books and television series. This product will also function as a child & parent build-together night lamp.

Hy-Pro 01582 670 100 |

Kids@Play 01291 429007 |

Hall 7, Stand C-25

Kids@Play enters 2019 with a veritable raft of new products that extends its portfolio well beyond that of rideon vehicles. Working in partnership with key European partners Falk (Hall 8, Stand A-07), Ecoiffier (Hall 6, Stand C-02) and Arias (Hall 1, Stand C-06), there will be a core domestic range of high-quality ride-on vehicles, roleplay toys and dolls on display at the respective stands in Nuremberg. The breadth of product available from each manufacturer will also allow the opportunity to develop exclusive and own-brand product ranges for UK retailers in partnership with Kids@Play. In addition, Kids@Play has signed up to be the UK partner with Maxx Marketing (Hall 1, Stand F-23) for Warner Bros. plush lines. A full range of Harry Potter, Batman, DC Comics, Looney Toons and Scooby Doo soft toys will coincide with Batman’s 80th Anniversary and Scooby Doo’s 50th Anniversary. 2019 is set to be the biggest year yet for Kids@Play as it continues to grow under a new management structure. With plenty to showcase during meetings throughout Nuremberg and across its partner stands, interested parties are urged to get in touch to see what the company has to offer.

With its 10th anniversary approaching, Hy-Pro will showcase its cross-category range and continue to champion its No. 1 wheeled toy brand, Zinc, at Nuremberg Toy Fair 2019. Zinc’s success continues apace, with achievement in the electric scooter and hoverboard market driving further development into electrically powered vehicles. At the forefront of the range will be the brand new Smart Hovershoes - the ‘reimagined’ hoverboard which puts the power under riders’ feet with two motorised platforms - and the Smart Dune Buggy, which takes the go-karting experience to a whole new level. The full range of Smart hoverboards will be presented alongside Hy-Pro’s dynamic product offering, including the revamped Smart X featuring Pro Pack. Users can now record cruise data with the app, and play their favourite tunes through the wireless connected speakers. Zinc Flyte, the unique scooter case, will be returning to the stand once again boasting five new Midi designs ideal for 4-8 year olds. The extended range, inspired by recent consumer trends, will be supported in 2019 by bold campaigns aiming to deliver brand awareness and demonstrate the functionality of Flyte in everyday life, as well as its ease for travel. Additionally, the company will be debuting its Hy-Pro Sports brand. Hy-Pro’s vision is to allow all athletes to feel like pros, with a distribution strategy that will target grass roots leagues and clubs to help gain brand awareness. The range includes footballs, shinguards, water bottles and luggage accessories. As the UK’s largest supplier of games tables, HyPro will also be showcasing a fresh new range of tables; fun for all the family, these tables deliver unplugged experiences and hours of face-to-face play value.

Toy World 50


32 High Park Road, Kew Gardens, Richmond TW9 4BH United Kingdom Tel +44 (0)20 8878 2133


Hyper Toy Company 07775 706 929 | Hall 7, Stand A-53

Hauck 07770 608 858 | Hall 12.2, Stand P-19 New go-karts, trikes and electric cars will appear in Nuremberg alongside innovative Hauck own-brand ride-ons. The new range includes popular character licences such as Hot Wheels - which is celebrating its 50th anniversary - Paw Patrol, Avengers and major Disney properties. Hauck’s ride-on line covers all ages from preschool to adult, ensuring there is something for everyone to enjoy. Next year will see six new collections of dolls prams, strollers, beds and accessories being launched. Each assortment features its own stylish and exclusive fabric, everything a young ‘parent’ could wish for. Hauck’s new product category is an engaging range of play sets including an ice cream parlour, a burger bar and a beauty parlour, each in a handy carry case. There’s also a giraffe shaped candy stall featuring light, sound and motion, while two kitchens complete the line-up, each featuring realistic sounds and lighting effects plus plenty of accessories. Everything in this new range provides hours of play potential and great value for money. To make an appointment contact Malcolm Cook at

Hyper Toy Company has been creating fun for 28 years, ever since Hyper Bicycles was established in 1990 by the former pro-BMX Racer, Clay Goldsmid. The company has produced millions of bicycles over the years and is now bringing the same expertise and capability to the toy business. The company’s experience in designing and creating innovative, high quality products across both specialist and mass markets, and its broad knowledge of every aspect of the production process, makes Hyper Toy a onestop solution for retailers of wheeled products. Hyper’s brands and product portfolio continue to grow with ranges across RC toys, electric ride-ons, wheeled toys, skateboards, scooters and bikes. In RC, new products for spring include the Pavati Wakeboard boat and Ford Velociraptor. Spring also sees the launch of a complete range of stunt scooters under the Riprail brand, supported by top UK pro-rider Spencer Smith. For electric ride-ons, the striking UTV-1000 12V ATV is set to launch for autumn, and Hyper also continues to offer a full line of bicycles including unique products like the 16” Speedbike. Hyper Toy supports sales with dedicated websites, regular social media coverage, and sponsored events while also ensuring it gives back to the sports it owes its success to by helping up-and-coming riders. A newly opened UK office will help grow the brand within Europe for more information please visit the company’s stand in Nuremberg or contact james@

Green Board Games 01494 538 999 | Hall 12, Stand B-03-1 Green Board Games is supporting pre-school buyers with new, beautifully illustrated products to promote fun learning and early development. The Foot Steps range was created for children up to three years of age, and the Leaps & Bounds range targets children aged three or over. The Foot Steps Stacking Cubes offer five ways to stack and learn, while Green Board Games will be presenting four new games additions to the Leaps and Bounds range. Miximals is an entertaining game that encourages children to mix and match head, body and tail animal pieces; Match-a-Rhyme is a matching game that provides sing-along fun; Mucky Pups gets children to pick their pup and race to clean them up; and Story Scenes encourages children to create engaging stories using the characters and scenes provided. Mad Moose, Green Board Games’ new range of fun family games, has been developed for children aged five and over. Visitors to the stand in Nuremberg can see a selection of new Mad Moose titles on the shelves including Alpha Chase, the winning game from the company’s 2017 Young Games Inventor competition. The animal-themed titles - Monkey Mischief and Noah’s Ark - should appeal to any buyer at the fair. Retailers can expect new introductions from the award-winning BrainBox range including two new BrainBox titles. World Traveller is for children aged six and above, while Time Traveller targets those aged seven or older. In addition, six new licensed Disney and Roald Dahl BrainBox games will be available to purchase in the UK.

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Pretend to Bee 0115 921 5690 | Hall 8, Stand B-15 Pretend to Bee will extend its dress up ranges in 2019 with the addition of new headband accessory sets which will be launched exclusively at Nuremberg. Pet Headbands are made from high-quality fabrics and are available in a variety of pet themes so kids can choose their favourite. The impulse price point is a great way for retailers to incorporate dress up into their lines, and the new ranges can be viewed in full at the show. There will also be updates to existing lines next year, while the best-selling Postie and Policeman costumes have been revamped with new details added. Pretend to Bee successfully added baby & toddler costumes to its Natural History Museum range in autumn/winter 2018, which will be supported by marketing throughout 2019. Thunderbirds are Go! also continues to be one of the company’s most popular collections; new programming will ensure the popularity of these costumes for years to come.

Eduk8 Worldwide 01434 672 336 | Hall 12, Stand C-01-02 Eduk8 Worldwide has announced a number of new product lines for 2019 under its brand Eduk8 n Play. At Nuremberg the company will be relaunching its award-winning Giant Snakes and Ladders game. This popular game has a large dice dome to ensure that players never lose their dice again, and also benefits from compact and vibrant new packaging for 2019. Fun for all the family, the Giant Snakes and Ladders game is UV and water resistant, and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The company also feels that crafting will be big in 2019, and is launching a complete new range of craft products under the brand Craft for Kids. Suitable from three years and upwards, all products in the range include everything a child needs to complete the craft project. They can choose from a range of projects including making a monster truck, building a freight train, creating an Emoji cushion, making a dinosaur and even making Russian dolls. Eduk8’s craft sets offer great value for money, have plenty of product in the box and provide retailers with a strong margin. Eduk8 will also be launching a host of other new products at Nuremberg, including wooden toys. Its pair of colourful lacing shoes help children learn to tie their shoelaces and distinguish between left and right, while its colourful wooden Stencil Game is supplied in a wooden box comprising 30 wooden stencil cards, pencils and tracing paper. Finally, Eduk8’s wooden Cargo Ship contains 26 magnetic blocks, printed on four sides, featuring the alphabet in upper and lower case, plus numbers and shapes.

Phoenix Sporting Goods 01635 887 099 | Hall 12.2, Stand P-09 Phoenix Sporting Goods is a manufacturer of high quality innovative sports products under the Gorilla Training brand. At Nuremberg this year the company will be launching its range of outdoor sports products including Rocket Goals in three sizes, Speed Vision, Freestyle Ball, Hurdles, Speed Ladders, Frameless Rebounder and Cones. All items are portable, easy to construct and to put away, and - most importantly - are built to last. The Gorilla Training Rocket Goals feature a unique design which allows them to be snapped open and closed within seconds, allowing children to start playing immediately. The small goals come as a twin pack, while the other two sizes are offered as single pieces.

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Zuru 01604 401 719 | Hall 12, Stand H-04

Schleich 01279 870 000 | Hall 6, Stand C-21 The Horse Club is a major focus for Schleich during 2019, with next year seeing the tournament season begin for the Horse Club. New mares and stallions will feature highly detailed manes and tails, while matching accessories ensure they’ll be best in show. The eagerly awaited Rider Café will launch in summer, offering the perfect meeting place for the Horse Club Friends. Monsters of a mythical kind will also be top of the agenda as the fight for the Superweapon of Eldrador Creatures continues. Each of the lands - Lava, Ice, Stone and Water - will have a new figure join the battle, including the Fire Bull and Ice Spider. For younger collectors, new animals from the pasture, plus pets that would be found in the farmyard, join the Farm World collection. Major play sets will include a horse stable play set complete with large horse breed figures, as well as all the trappings that a working stable requires. Finally, learning and discovering are literally on the cards with the Schleich Wild Life Flash Card Sets. This combination of double sided flash cards and detailed figurines adds even more possibilities to playtime for animal fans. The entire Schleich portfolio will be supported by a substantial PR and marketing campaign for 2019.

Cotton Candy Cuties, from Zuru Oosh, is the softest, lightest, fluffiest compound to hit the market – it feels and looks just like real cotton candy floss. Available in four sweet scents, this innovative cotton candy slime also comes with a surprise slow-rise collectible character hiding inside. Combining collectability with the ongoing slime and compound trend prevalent on YouTube, Cotton Candy Cuties includes six slow-rise cuties to collect, with characters including Caramel Pudding and Unicorn. Kids can also add to their compound collection with Cotton Candy refill pops. A full 360-degree marketing campaign will support thew launch, kicking off in December with PR and YouTube influencers followed by TV advertising, social, in-store POS and PR outreach. A new wave of 5 Surprise blind collectible capsules will hit the UK market from February. There will be over 100 new surprise toys to collect in new colour combinations, plus super rare chasers to further increase collectability and drive purchases. Zuru’s innovative 5 Surprise capsule opens into five pieces to deliver five surprise unboxing experiences, tapping into the pocket money, unboxing and playground trends. The assortment of toys vary from stationery, collectible dolls and sequin accessories in the pink capsule, to slime, suckers, and LED light-ups in the blue capsule. An updated packaging and POS design clearly communicates the unboxing experience and on-trend new toys, while bringing a refreshed consumer experience. Full marketing support will include product teaser activity with influencer seeding plus product launch activity across TV, social, digital and PR channels. With plans to extend the brand’s longevity, a further two waves will be launched in May and September 2019 – with engaging news surrounding both themes.

Rollplay 07986 971 902 | Hall 7, Stand B-50 Rollplay, manufacturer of children’s ride-on vehicles, will be showcasing a number of brands ready for 2019 during the Nuremberg Toy Fair. Highlights include the award-winning Nighthawk as well as new licensed vehicles from the BMW range. The Nighthawk is a sit, slide and glide ride for pre-teens. With its leadingedge design creating a new sub-segment of ride-on toys, kids can glide through curves and feel the sensational control of the Rollplay Nighthawk as they learn how to master the unique riding action. Riders steer the Nighthawk by leaning into the curve, while the gas and brake pedals allow variable speed control. Handlebars placed either side of the seat protect riders’ hands and offer complete control, and there’s also a rear flag for safety. With a two metre turning radius, Nighthawk runs at a max speed of 12 km/h. The 12V battery is quickly rechargeable overnight and has a run time of approximately 60 minutes. The Nighthawk is available in both white and red. The BMW 8 Series will also be showcased at the fair, with a refresh to the BMW i8. Known for its luxury and performance, the 8 series is BMW’s top of the line, flagship car. The new ride-on will replicate the actual vehicle with horn sounds, a light-up dashboard, working headlights and an MP3 player, allowing kids to feel just like their mum or dad when they are driving. Suitable for ages 3-8, the ride-on can reach speeds of up to 3MPH while its new 6V battery recharges quickly and offers a run-time of up to two hours.

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Toy World 57 Toy World - Vertical Half Page - Wilberry.indd 9

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HTI 01253 778 888 | Hall 12.2, Stand P-09 Topping off the list of product launches at this year’s show, HTI’s Teamsterz brand will unveil a hot new property to press, buyers and public. Promising to unwrap the boy’s collectible market, the new launch has been a main focus for the company over the last year, and has benefitted from substantial planning and significant investment. The product has already seen huge global uptake and interest during October previews, with the strong initial reaction resulting in the commissioning of series 2. A sneak peek of series 2 may be possible at the show. As well as new collectibles from the Teamsterz brand, HTI has also invested heavily into the range of batteryoperated ride-on toys under the Evo brand including a total of 15 uniquely tooled items. Additionally, the prams and pushchairs category welcomes the 6-in-1 Evolve, available from Baby Born and Baby Annabell, along with other launches and licensed ranges from Joie and Peppa Pig.

Funrise 01908 555 640 | Hall 12.2, Stand P-21

Craze Toys (49) 721 38 13 47 | Hall 6, Stand C-11 Galupy collectible horses have become a best-seller and success story for Craze Toys. Each of the 18 collectible horses, which live on the magical island Elfia in the mysterious archipelago of Galupia, has special characteristics including unique powers. Galupys are available in a foil bag containing one collectible Galupy figure and one collector's brochure, which offers an overview of the magical Galupy world and its inhabitants. A box containing six Galupy figures and the collector's brochure is also available, with one main character – those with special powers – guaranteed in each box. Two engaging new play sets are expanding the world of Galupy. The Galupy pavilion, with its multi-coloured rainbow roof, large dance floor and show stage, comes with one collectible Galupy figure, while the golden Galupy carriage is decorated with charming ornaments and is also available with one Galupy figure. Tapping into current trends, the Craze Magic Slimy range is available in either Unicorn or Dinorex ranges. Ideal for kids who love personalising their own slime, the Unicorn range offers 150ml of slime per product plus a sachet of glitter powder, so kids can add the sparkle themselves. Each blind-bagged can contains a collectible unicorn figure, with six different colours of slime to collect - green, red, purple, pink, yellow and light blue – plus a variety of glitter colours. The Dinorex slime is available in six different metallic effect colours - black, red lava, gold, green, dark blue and yellow – and each can contains one of six collectible dinosaur figures. All Craze Magic Slimy products are BPA and gluten free, and are based on a German slime formula for consumers’ peace of mind. Both Unicorn and Dinorex Craze Magic Slimy are available in an eye-catching display box, each box containing 12 slime cans to choose from.

Gazillion Bubbles has led the charge in creating premium bubble products for over a decade. With an extensive array of premium bubble solution, bubble toys and machines, Gazillion has something for every young bubble fan. For 2019 the Gazillion range will be expanding with innovative bubble blasters and machine ranges. Funrise is also introducing Gazillion Bubble Rush. With its revolutionary design, this high-powered bubble machine blows the most bubbles ever. This next generation bubble machine has a three-section no-spill modular design, including a removable washable top and a solution recycling tray, while the batteries and motor are sealed inside the base. Kids can simply pour solution into the reservoir and push the button for a bubble explosion within seconds. This item was designed to create hours of fun for kids, but be easy to clean for parents. Also new for 2019 from Funrise is a master toy range based around Paramount’s Easter movie launch, Wonder Park. Funrise has created a collection of play sets, figures and plush depicting characters from the movie. At the heart of the range are the Wonder Chimps, which will be available in blind bag collectibles, wind-up and scented plush forms. With over 5,200 chimps featured in the film, these collectibles are sure to capture the hearts of fans. Funrise’s collections, including Tonka, Gazillion Bubbles and Wonder Park, will be supported by substantial PR and marketing campaigns for 2019.

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Hong Kong

Breaking up is hard to do

Ahead of the January Hong Kong trip, Toy World spoke to a selection of toy retailers and suppliers about the possible impact of Brexit on FOB sales, as well as on the broader UK toy community. We asked them how they perceived the impending Brexit situation might affect the toy market in the short term, and what the biggest challenges will be in the immediate aftermath of Brexit.

Alison Downie, HTi

Mark Slater-Hyndman,

The major concern will be the fluctuation in exchange rates. Some major retailers will also be concerned with the impact Brexit will have on consumer spending, which may slow down potential store openings until the impact (if any) becomes clearer. We feel that the effect of Brexit will be relatively marginal HTi, due to our business being only semi reliant upon the UK market The challenge will be to grow top-line sales, maintain profitability and, where possible, hedge any currency exposure that may arise as a result.

Alpha Animation

The post-Brexit importing process will certainly change: however, at this stage, any changes remain unclear. For me, there are two key areas of concern: the obvious factors for Direct Import programmes are exchange rates and import duty. A weakening of sterling (we have already experienced 12% Euro fall & 10% in $US since the vote) will affect landed costs, and a change in any duty (as a result of any new trade deals) will also have an impact. These fiscal impacts will affect all our products bought in $US, so domestic pricing will be under pressure too. The second factor is a further weakening of consumer confidence, which will impact retail sales. This will impact retailers’ inventory pressures even more, making large intake volumes even less appealing. The issue we all face is the sheer uncertainty as to what our key challenges will be, especially for those who import from Europe. Indeed, will there be any change for the first year or so? There are so many political variables: the Lisbon Treaty ensures we have a two-year grace period for our government to agree new tariffs with the EU, so it is unlikely that anything will change in the short term. We could join the four EU countries who sit outside the EU but within the EEA, or we could even apply to re-join the EU under article 49, no-one knows. My personal view is 43 years takes some unravelling, so it will be 2020 before we see any material impacts, other than those of currency fluctuation.

Stuart Grant, The Entertainer

I think there are two main concerns for Q1. The first revolves around currency stability; at the moment, the pound is flipping like a yo-yo, which makes it incredibly difficult to work out where to pitch pricing and margins. There is no way of knowing where it will end up - it could be anywhere between $1.10 and $1.50. Even more worrying is the port capacity situation: we’re currently being told that if the EU and the UK don’t come up with a free trade agreement which preserves existing arrangements on tariffs and border controls, every single truck arriving in the UK will have to go through a paperwork process before clearing customs. Customs is currently operating at full capacity – and that’s before millions of extra lorries are added into the equation. Ultimately, shippers are becoming increasingly concerned that if a new tariff and paperwork system is introduced in March, ports could grind to a halt. Not only will there be little we can do under those circumstances, we are unlikely to know until the very last minute whether or not this will be the case.

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Hong Kong Mark Hillier, Click Distribution It’s difficult to assess what impact Brexit will have on our industry, or the country as a whole, until we know exactly what deal the government gets through Parliament and what is agreed with the other EU countries. Clearly the obvious concern for FOB purchases will be the effect any deal has on the value of the pound. When the referendum result was announced, we experience a huge decline in the value of the pound against the dollar and this created huge challenges for suppliers and retailers. My fear is that if we experience something similar again, it would inevitably lead to price increases, which is not good for the economy as a whole. Whatever deal is agreed - or in the worse-case scenario, no deal - it is not advisable to speculate what challenges our industry will face, because the only sure thing is that we will get it wrong! It’s safe to say that there will be challenges and, in my view, we will rise to meet those challenges and find solutions to whatever is thrown at us – both as an industry and as a nation. It is almost an impossible task to negotiate a deal that will appease everyone: what we must hope for is an agreement that will enable us to trade with the EU members in a fair way and, of course, the rest of the trading world too.

Steve Richardson,

Phil Ratcliffe,

One major issue will be what Chinese factories decide to do with regard to prices, based on what happens to the exchange rate. It would be an even greater concern if America introduces a 25% tariff on toys. Assuming Brexit goes ahead, it is unlikely that there will be any initial changes, as there will probably be a cooling off period. Should the deal not maintain the open market we have now, one of the biggest issues will be whether we are able to sell product in the UK with a European address on the CE mark. For companies buying direct from the EU, goods will need to be cleared and VAT needs to be paid before delivery is made, which will have an effect on cash flow. I also wonder whether UK online companies will be able to supply to EU countries and vice versa? Finally, it will be interesting to see what will happen with regard to the Treaty of Rome.

I don’t think anyone knows what the impending situation is? At the moment it doesn’t seem to be impacting FOB orders for the UK, but it may impact those going into Europe as the situation develops. It very much depends on whether or not duty rates are aligned and whether or not we can agree a customs union. A hard Brexit may reduce the loophole created by The Treaty of Rome, whereby European sellers dump stock of licensed products in the UK by way of local agent-solicited sales. This would be good for UK-based sales, but bad for those wishing to sell into Europe.

SJR Associates

MV Sports

Voyage of discovery Over the next few pages, Toy World previews some of the new ranges on offer in Hong Kong this year, both at the fair and in the showrooms.

Wilton Bradley 01626 835 400 | Wilton Bradley comes to Hong Kong with a range of new products, including developments to its Mi-Mic, The X Factor, Monster Smash Ups and Xootz brands. Next year Wilton Bradley will be celebrating its fourth year of having a permanently manned showroom in Hong Kong, helping to serve its global customer base and enhancing the company’s sourcing capabilities. For 2019, Wilton Bradley has focused on evolving products within existing brands at more competitive price points, and on targeting a younger age group. The company has also worked to progress ranges which have been a success in the current market. These new products can be viewed in the Hong Kong showroom and also at the 2019 Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair. The new Mi-Mic and The X Factor range includes a new Mi-Mic Mini and The X Factor XF1S, which have the same fun features of the best-selling Mi-Mic range but at a more compact size. The innovative RC brand Monster Smash Ups also sees a new range of exploding trucks, with two smaller models at lower price points for younger smash enthusiasts. After the success of the Xootz Viper Go Kart, 2019 brings the release of the Typhoon Drift Trike and the Typhoon Power Drift Trike. This new ride-on collection evolves the signature and stylish design of the Viper and brings more action to the range. To make an appointment to view the range at the Hong Kong showroom contact Ross Bradley -

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Hong Kong

Casdon 01253 608 428 | Casdon combines pretend play with household names to bring replica appliances and role-play accessories to the playroom. The Little Helper collection is home to the Dyson replica vacuums. These toy vacuums feature real suction and the same cyclonic action as an actual Dyson, and will be an instantly recognisable favourite with kids. Launched in September is the Dyson Cord-free Vac, a direct replica of the actual Dyson specifically designed to be true to life, right down to the last detail. The model features working suction, realistic sounds and twist & turn action just like the real thing, and features spinning beads to mesmerise children. This replica, designed with the same bright colours as its full-size counterpart, allows kids to clean just like their parents or guardians, while developing essential life skills. Launching in early spring, the new Tetley Tea Set features the Tetley Tea folk and offers kids hours of role-play fun. The traditionally styled tin tea set is contained in its own carrycase for easy portability, making it ideal for picnics and play days. The set contains four cups, saucers and plates, plus a teapot.

Hauck 07770 608858 | Hauck has entered the play set category with a range including an ice cream parlour, a burger bar and a beauty parlour, each in a carry case. A candy stall in the shape of a giraffe features light, sound and motion, while two kitchens complete the line-up. There will be 12 new ride-on toys on show, including go-karts, trikes and electric cars. In addition to Hauck branded ride-ons, the new range features licences including The Avengers and Disney properties such as Toy Story and Disney Princess. Six new collections of dolls prams, strollers, beds and accessories will also be launched, each featuring its own exclusive fabric. To make an appointment contact Malcolm Cook at

Zuru 01604 401 719 | The third series of Zuru’s highly successful and innovative collectible range, Smashers, launches in February. Since the first series launched in December 2017, Smashers has featured as one of the fastest growing new toy brands in the UK; global figures confirm that over 25m Smashballs have been smashed to date, while thousands of unboxing videos on YouTube have amassed over 80m views. Zuru will launch Series 3 – Dino - and introduce the all-new Dino Smash Egg. The collection houses a variety of mutant, robot and rock-hard fossil dinos, plus the ultra-rare skull smashers. Kids can only discover which ones they’ve collected by smashing open the Smash Egg, thanks to an on-trend surprise opening mechanic created by Zuru. Once unboxed, children can throw, collect and trade Smashers, as each one has its own Smash Point Value for extended play potential. Aimed at both pocket money and birthday money budgets, SKUs include the Smashers one pack, three pack, eight pack, and larger play set items. Zuru continues to invest heavily into the Smashers brand and will implement a 360-degree marketing campaign from February. This will include support via TV advertising and sponsorship, digital and social amplification, new content created for owned brand channels, plus a robust PR and influencer drive. Zuru also has a new unboxing item for autumn 2019, which is yet to be revealed. Zuru also plans to release a revolutionary addition to its Bunch O Balloons brand, additional innovative robotic pets under Robo Alive, and line extensions for autumn 2019 for Rainbocorns.

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Hong Kong

Rainbow Designs 01329 227 300 | Rainbow’s brand new Tiny and Very Hungry Caterpillar collection, based on Eric Carle’s hugely successful picture books, features a selection of products crafted specifically for the newborn to 18 months age range. The collection includes a Ring Rattle, Comfort Blanket, Jiggle Attachable Toy, Booties, Activity Spiral and Activity Toy. Available from February, the collection ties in perfectly with the 50th anniversary of this evergreen brand. Another spring arrival is Rainbow’s new Dumbo range, created to coincide with the anticipated launch of Disney’s Dumbo movie in March. Rainbow’s collection features soft and cuddly plush Dumbo toys, available in three sizes, as well as a Dumbo Ring Rattle and Comfort Blanket. Brand new and joining the company’s toy portfolio in 2019 is the Spot collection, launching just ahead of Spot’s 40th anniversary in 2020. Rainbow’s new range will include classic Spot soft toys as well as developmental lines. Next year see the 15th anniversary of Peppa Pig. Rainbow’s My First Peppa Pig collection of soft and tactile activity toys is ideal for introducing babies to this wholesome and humorous brand, which is loved and trusted by parents globally. Visitors to Rainbow’s Hong Kong showroom can also see the Guess How Much I Love You nursery collection, the Elmer nursery toy range, and Rainbow’s three Peter Rabbit ranges: the Nursery collection, the Peter Rabbit TV range, and the Peter Rabbit Movie collection.

Funrise 01908 555 640 | Funrise’s new Gazillion Bubble Rush is a next generation bubble machine with a three-section no-spill modular design. Kids simply pour solution into the reservoir and push the button for a bubble explosion in seconds. Also new for 2019 is a master toy range based around Paramount’s Easter movie launch, Wonder Park. Funrise has created a collection of play sets, figures and plush featuring characters from the movie. Wonder Chimps will be available in blind bag collectibles, wind-up and scented plush forms. Funrise’s collections, including Tonka, Gazillion Bubbles and Wonder Park, will be supported by substantial PR and marketing campaigns for 2019.

H. Grossman 01416 132 525 |

Lissi Dolls and Toys 07703 648444 | Lissi dolls and accessories, which have been developed over six generations, offers doll lovers a comprehensive range of options with appealing faces and eye-catching outfits. With dolls having remained firmly at the top of toy wish lists for decades, Lissi offers products that embody the traditional qualities of a best-selling doll line with the realism and high-quality finish that so appeals to kids and doll collectors. Lissi’s showroom is conveniently located in the East Ocean Centre, TST East, where the company will be showing its new items for autumn/winter 2019, as well as its established range of dolls and strollers. Lissi will also be showing a limited range at the Hong Kong Toy Fair. Its extensive range means the company can create exclusive items for customers all over the world. For more information please call Jonathan Nurse on the number above or email

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Grossman is increasing its plush lines with the addition of soft toy animals including gorillas, giraffes, elephants and tigers to its existing collection of llamas, flamingos, sloths and unicorns. Buyers will also get the chance to take a look at the redesigned scooter range, which has proved popular in consumer testing, as well as the extended slime, putty and pocket money lines. This year’s best-selling Unicorn Poo has been followed up with Dog Poo and Llama Poo for 2019. H. Grossman is taking appointments now; the full range can be seen at its permanent showroom, located at 1105 South Seas Centre, Tower 2, 75 Mody Road, TST East.

Character Options 01616 339 800 | Character Options’ Peppa’s Secret Surprise is set to bring the unboxing phenomenon to the pre-school world. Kids can unwrap and reveal the cube-shaped present, and discover the six hidden drawers containing five secret blind bagged toys, plus a fun sticker sheet. Kids can discover a glittery deluxe figure, accessories and more, each time a Peppa’s Secret Surprise is unboxed. Series 1, with its yellow surprise box and a Party theme, will launch this month in the UK, followed by other territories in 2019. Blue Surprise packs will then be added for the Series 2 Holiday Collection. Series 3 is also already in the pipeline and will introduce a new pink surprise that holds Peppa’s Pals and Pets. Each new series will be displayed at retail in eye-catching counter top trays of 12 pieces. TV advertising will start from this month, boosted by influencer campaigns that harness the power of the global Peppa Pig YouTube channel. Other activity will include mums’ reviews, preschool press and more.

Manhattan 4 in 1

Tobar 0844 573 4299 | Among Tobar’s new lines is New Born Animigos, baby versions of the existing Animigos animated plush. Each New Born Animigo comes with a baby bottle and quality packaging. The popularity of squishies and slow release foam has been an influence on products for next year. Tobar will be debuting its new Jellyballs, which combine the existing fruit line with animals. The focus will also be on pocket money toys; a fusion of Llama and Unicorn, Llamacorns is an affordable new trend-driven line. Tobar will also be unveiling a new licensed range at the show, while visitors can sample the new protein and energy bars from Bear Grylls.



Hong Kong Toy Show by appointment only Jan. 3. – 11. 2019

.2 12 19 l l ha d PNuremberg Toy Fair n sta Hall 12-2/P19 Jan. 30. – Feb. 03. 2019

it vis

For appointment contact Malcolm Cook Mobile: +44 (0)7770 68 88 58

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The BBC has reported that as many as 200 shopping centres could be in danger of falling into administration, unless their owners – many of which are US private equity companies – are able to secure fresh funding. The FT has also reported that about £2.5bn worth of shopping centres and retail parks are currently up for sale, many ‘unofficially’. One analyst put forward the theory that there are too many shopping centres with the same stores and products, which on one level is hard to disagree with; however, the damage which a spate of closures would inflict on small towns in particular would be potentially devastating… The chancellor offered brief hope that the government recognises the inherent unfairness of the current tax system as it applies to retailers, with the news that he is proposing a digital tax. However, let’s not get carried away just yet; even a cursory look into the proposal reveals there is a massive element of ‘smoke and mirrors’ about the announcement. First, it is a measure that ‘could’ be introduced, not ‘will definitely’ be introduced. And the earliest it would take effect would be April 2020 – a lot more damage can be inflicted on bricks and mortar retailers in the next 16 months. Most importantly, the OBR (Office of Budget Responsibilities) has estimated that, based on the details revealed so far, the move would cost the tech giants around £30m each – a figure that will be dwarfed by the huge saving they will each make from the 2% reduction in corporation tax which is due to take effect by then. So, while it might sound like Spreadsheet Phil is getting to grips with the current inequality, the reality is rather different… As Christmas approaches, stories of toys in short supply inevitably start to hit the papers. Scarcity of hot items is a timeless toy community challenge with no easy solution; if there was, we would have cracked it decades ago. This year’s Pimpernel Award looks to be a shoo-in for the L.O.L Surprise! House, which has staggered the industry with its rate of sale, given its high-ticket price. Indeed, so hard is it to find in the shops across the globe that the £180 item is being offered for sale by unscrupulous scalpers on Amazon for anything up to £500, prompting Isaac Larian to personally decry the practice on his notorious LinkedIn page. Of course, he is 100% right, but how do you stop it? Answers on a postcard… The success of the LOL house continues the brand’s stellar trajectory, as it pushes the boundaries of what anyone thought achievable by a single range. As is sadly often the way with the toy trade, some people are apparently already talking it down and questioning how long LOL can sustain its astonishing performance. All I can say is that having seen some of next year’s incredibly hush-hush developments, I wouldn’t bet on a dip any time soon. I am prevented from revealing any specific details - I certainly don’t want to become Isaac’s latest target - but suffice to say the innovation which has driven the brand so far will most definitely carry on in abundance next year… Having spoken about licensing jargon in last month’s Allegedly column, I came across a new toy term recently which I had never heard before – ‘holiday buyer’. When I expressed bewilderment, I was told that it referred to a major buyer who attends an overseas event – LA in particular was mentioned – but doesn’t actually buy anything as a result. When we first ran the story in the

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Friday Blog a few weeks ago, it seemed to strike a chord with quite a few people, including some major buyers. I was particularly amused to hear that one major buying team had emailed a prominent toy person to suggest one of their own colleagues as someone who could indeed be construed as a holiday buyer! I love the fact that the Blog is starting ‘bantz’ in high places… I heard some spectacularly ill-informed conversations in the media in the run-up to Black Friday: there does seem to be a lot of negativity in some quarters, much of it centring around the concept being another crass, commercial import from across ‘the pond’. But let’s be honest, just like Halloween, Black Friday is now firmly entrenched in the build-up to the festive season here in the UK and it is not going anywhere. Far from being an ‘online only’ initiative, bricks and mortar retailers – including multiple specialists and even independents – have embraced the concept with enthusiasm, and most importantly, it appears to be working for them. Thankfully, the disgraceful Black Friday scenes of a few years ago – with consumers scrapping over cheap TVs in Asda – have yet to be replicated. Instead, fights have apparently broken out at Aldi, as shoppers battled to get hold of the supermarket’s Kevin the Carrot soft toy range. Yes, you did read that right and no, I promise I am not making this up. Fights over a plush carrot…further evidence that the world – and the UK in particular – is going slightly mad… Mothercare’s latest set of interim results were not pretty – a £6m loss with a like -for- like sales decline of 11%, with the added sting in the tail that the retailer will be selling its Watford headquarters in a bid to reduce its debt. Group MD David Wood’s resignation was announced shortly after the results went public. CEO Mark NewtonJones attempted to contextualise the figures with talk of “capital restructuring” and “cost-saving initiatives”, and one can only hope that these moves will indeed bring the business back to profitability. There was also an intriguing comment about “managing trading and operations as a typical franchisee would” – or am I reading too much into that… By all accounts, the cheeky attempt to set up a new distributors’ show at Lake Como to rival Distoy has been cancelled – which, I have to say, comes as little surprise…. In a hugely challenging retail environment, it’s nice to see some retail owners appreciating the crucial role their staff play: the recent ‘Top Teams Week’ at The Entertainer saw the directors visit every one of its 154 stores across seven days (a marathon task by any measure). As well as geeing the store teams up for the key trading period ahead, it also gave staff the chance to offer feedback directly to the directors. What a fabulous initiative, and one which I am sure will be hugely beneficial: I am sure that many retail owners would benefit from hearing directly from people at the sharp end. I would also like to applaud Home Bargains owner Tom Morris for his decision to shut all its stores on Boxing Day, giving its 17,000 staff the day off without having to give up their holiday allowance. In both cases, it seems to me to be a great way to motivate staff as we enter such a crucial period. We’ve all encountered staff in retail outlets that very much look as though they would rather be somewhere – anywhere – else, so anything that can help to engage, enthuse and energise team members has to be a positive.


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Toy World December 2018  
Toy World December 2018