Patel, our global head of design, did an absolutely incredible job with the product pitch - he and his team and really did win us that licence, and deservedly so. We’re launching a new girls’ collectible in autumn/winter 2019 called Ritzy Rollers, which was very well received at both the October Hong Kong show and the Deauville preview. Ritzy Rollers is all about glitz and glamour, customisation and collectibility, plus it’s a really pretty product. It’s not a category you enter into lightly or half-heartedly, but we’re sure that buyers will be pleased with both the product and the level of investment we’re putting behind it. There are some serious competitors in the girls’ market at the moment, but there’s no doubt Ritzy can hold its own. On top of all that, we have a product that I can’t actually name. We’re hoping to showcase this at London Toy Fair, but it will be highly dependent upon the level of security we can organise. A Japanese-developed, one-off standalone product, it’s under very close protection at the moment and we think it’s a very big deal. If it’s not on show at London, it will be at Nuremberg, so attendees can see it there. I very much hope that people see and believe
in what we are doing at Tomy. I’d urge everyone to set aside plenty of time with us at London Toy Fair, and to please keep their opens to buy directed towards Tomy in 2019, because there is so much on offer.
What are the plans for the future regarding your games portfolio, now that Tomy has signed a strategic partnership with Drumond Park? The partnership with Drumond Park will give us a much bigger focus on our core games business. There aren’t many brands which allow you to bolt on that amount of turnover overnight, and landing the deal was worth all the hard work that went into the negotiations. It’s a huge coup for us and we fully intend to capitalise on it. We’ll be keeping the Tomy-branded games portfolio Pop Up Pirate does huge volume for us every year and the franchise will be expanded with new additions – while the Drumond catalogue gives us the Articulate family, the Logo family, Rapidough, the ‘Best Of’ games, and a raft of new products too that we will showcase for the first time at London Toy Fair. The Drumond Park 2019 portfolio offers a wide variety of games and play patterns, and covers a range of price points and target age groups.
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Affordable, great value games sit right alongside more traditionally priced ones, and because the play patterns are so varied there is a real justification for people to stock the whole offering. The games category has been incredibly tough this year, and we’ll be investing solidly going forward to ensure we’re strong in this area.
What do you hope to have achieved over the next 12 months? I’d like the key new properties to perform as well as we hope they will, and for our key brands to continue down the positive route that we’ve been seeing. On top of this, we will be building an even stronger level of product development for 2020, and as we prepare for our 100th anniversary we’d like to be a top 10 toy company across Europe. If we have the success this year that we’re expecting we’ll have an excellent springboard to achieve those goals. It’s worth bearing in mind that a lot of the work that’s in place for this coming year was started two years ago; it’s not an overnight process. You need to look at what you can change and change it, and there is so much within our control. I’ve said to a lot of people that 2019 is Tomy’s year, and I’m excited for people to see this for themselves.