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May 2019 Volume 8 Issue 8

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CONTENTS May 2019 Volume 8 Issue 8

John Baulch

30 Q&A: Sanjay Luthra Mattel

34 Feature: Dolls & Girls' Collectibles

Publisher and Managing Editor 01442 502 408 07932 651 207

Mark Austin

Sales Director 01442 502 405

Anita Baulch

Circulation and Financial Director 01442 502 406




05 From the Publisher 06 News 14 Industry Moves 16 Marketing World 20 Licensing World 116 Allegedly

24 NPD column 27 Talking Shop 62 Viewpoint

30 Q&A: Sanjay Luthra Mattel 34 Feature: Dolls & Girls' Collectibles 60 Feature: Kids Russia 66 Company Profile: DKL Marketing 68 Feature: Toymaster Preview 72 Retail Profile: Toy Barnhaus

Contributors Melissa Symonds | Nat Southworth | Ruth Clement | Vance Withers | Jonathan Chambers

Rachael Simpson-Jones Editor 01442 502 406

68 Feature: Toymaster

72 Retail Profile: Toy Barnhaus

Mark Crowford

Design and Production Manager 01442 502 405

toyworld The business magazine with a passion for toys

Alakat Published by

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


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Toy World Magazine




he recent CBI announcement that retail sales fell in March by the fastest rate for more than a year came as no great surprise. The CBI was in no doubt as to the principal cause of the slump – and yes, we’re back to our old friend Brexit! In fairness, even I wouldn’t suggest that Brexit is singlehandedly responsible for the subdued footfall numbers that some high streets have been experiencing over the past month or so. But it’s still a significant factor, without a shadow of doubt.

from the publisher

John Baulch - @Baulchtweet

Nevertheless, I do think it is important to put the CBI announcement into context, especially from a toy perspective. With Easter falling late this year, the March numbers were always going to struggle to match last year – let’s see how the picture looks at the end of April for a fairer comparison. I spent a day at the Toymaster FOB roadshow in Swindon recently, and while the ‘B’ word cropped up frequently in conversation, other challenges were also mentioned, including the lack of a really hot new craze. Over the past two years, the first quarter has been buoyed by stellar performances from fidget spinners, squishies and L.O.L. Surprise! While the latter two categories are still selling well, it is often tricky to match the dizzy heights of the first rush of product, especially for those retailers who were early to market. While several new launches have got off to a promising start, there is definitely a gap for a ‘wow craze’ which retailers are hoping will be filled sooner rather than later.

with Stephen and Mark, looking back at the growth of the business over the past decade. We also spoke to another retailer celebrating her 10th anniversary, Ginette Mckee from Toytown Seaford. 2009 was clearly a vintage year for new independent retail openings; I hope Toy World can look back in ten years’ time on a new crop of specialists which will have sprung up this year and next. Speaking of Toymaster and the specialist channel, this month will see suppliers and independent retailers heading to Harrogate for the Toymaster May show. Our exhaustive preview of this legendary event starts on page 66 – it contains all the information retailers need to make the most of their time at the show, including details of the key lines which suppliers will be focusing on for the festive season. In addition to the Toymaster preview, this issue also includes an in-depth look at the Dolls and Girls Collectibles category, which continues to be one of the strongest-performing sectors in the market. There is also a bonus, standalone Licensing World supplement, which rounds up all the latest developments from the character licensing arena, including a glimpse at the licensing programme for the highly-anticipated Toy Story 4 movie, which hits the big screen here in the UK next month. If that wasn’t enough, this month’s edition also includes an exclusive interview with Sanjay Luthra, Mattel’s managing director for EMEA. Sanjay has been

Talking to the Toy Barnhaus boys in Swindon, they were under no illusions: “It’s a very competitive market. You can’t just sit there - you have to make the most of the opportunities. We’ve got a new B&M opening across the road from our Crawley store – but we see that as an opportunity, it will be good for footfall. We just have to make sure they cross the road and come into our store.” It was Toy Barnhaus’ 10th anniversary last month, and with

in the role for a year and this is the first interview indepth he has given to any trade publication. I not only found him a refreshingly candid interviewee, but a very interesting individual, markedly different to certain of his predecessors (especially some of those that came to these shores via the North American team). I gather that several retailers quickly had their preconceptions shattered when they first met him; you can hear what he has to say about the challenges and opportunities Mattel faces on page 32. The interview also includes a sneak peek at an exciting new initiative which Mattel is about to launch: a B2B platform which is set to revolutionise the service which Mattel can provide to the independent channel. As I have said before, it is easy to pay lip service to supporting specialist independent toy retailers: ultimately, it is important to give them the ability - and specifically the

such a positive ‘can do’ attitude and spirit, coupled with a great passion for toys (and an even greater passion for lunch), you can see why they’ve made such a huge success of the business. In addition to their regular monthly column, this month’s issue includes an in-depth interview

tools - to hold their own in a highly competitive market. As we head to Harrogate in a few weeks’ time, hopefully there will be many more independent success stories to hear about – and many more suppliers going the extra mile to support them.

For now, sticking with the tried and tested, and placing repeat orders when something is seen to be working, appears to be the order of the day. However, it is still important to be pro-active and take a few calculated risks – it is the nimble companies on both the retail and supply side that maintain a competitive advantage over slowermoving operations.

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News Debenhams taken over by lenders Debenhams’ operating companies have been sold to the group’s lenders in return for reducing its £620m debt pile and injecting nearly £100m of new funds. Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley has lost his stake, along with all other shareholders, after the company rejected a last-ditch offer of a new £200m cash injection. The offer was dependent upon Mike becoming chief executive, which the company was not willing to entertain. Debenhams suspended trading in its shares and said its 165 outlets would continue to trade under a pre-pack deal affecting only the listed holding company. However, the lenders propose to close up to 50 stores via a CVA insolvency process. Chairman Terry Duddy commented: “It is disappointing to reach a conclusion that will result in no value for our equity holders. However, this transaction will allow Debenhams to continue trading as normal. We remain focused on protecting as many stores and jobs as possible, consistent with establishing a sustainable store portfolio in line with our previous guidance.” Trustees for the pension scheme have pointed out that it is the PLC which has gone into administration, not the retail business itself, stating: “Members can therefore be reassured that the (pension) schemes are carrying on as usual.” This at least offers some relief for current and former staff. As the new owners press ahead with an overhaul of the business, they have appointed Stefaan Vansteenkiste, MD of professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal as chief restructuring officer‎. Stefaan is a former interim CEO of Intertoys and one of Europe’s most experienced turnaround executives. The takeover has sparked a furious reaction from Mike Ashley who described the administration of Debenhams as “a national scandal” and called for it to be reversed.

Shop Direct rebrands as The Very Group The rebrand will align the retailer’s identity with flagship brand The full extent of the rebrand will be unveiled later this year and will mark the 10-year anniversary of Very. Launched in July 2009, the retailer has become a £1.4b brand with 2.82m active customers and 1.25m daily website visits. “Rebranding Shop Direct to The Very Group will be a clear marker of the next chapter in our development. The new name will bring us in line with Very in its 10th year and step change our ability to attract the world’s best talent,” said Shop Direct CEO, Henry Birch. Henry commented that in some parts of the country the Shop Direct brand was becoming confused with Sports Direct. He added: “The new identity will also help to foster an even closer emotional connection between our people and our customers, which is vital as we continue to improve our proposition and deliver the best possible shopping experience.”


11 Deer Park Road, Northampton, NN3 6QD, UK • tel. 01604 678780 • email. •

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News Mothercare sales decline slows, but challenges remain The pace of decline in like-for-like store sales at Mothercare eased slightly in the final quarter of its fiscal year, but the company said both British and international market conditions remained challenging. UK like-for-like sales fell 8.8% in the 12 weeks to 30th March, and were down 10.8% for the full-year, the company reported. That compared with declines of more than 11% for the third quarter and the first half year. Excluding the impact of currency fluctuations, international retail sales fell 4.9% in the fourth quarter, compared to a 1.1% fall in the third quarter. Mothercare’s main UK business has been struggling, and a survival plan unveiled in July has seen the closure of over a third of its UK stores. “The UK store closure programme has been completed ahead of schedule, and we now have 80 stores in operation, down from 137 stores a year ago,” CEO Mark Newton-Jones stated in a trading update. He said disruption from costsaving initiatives is now largely over and that the company has cleared a large quantity of unsold stock and is now on track to deliver on previous expectations for the full year. Proceeds from the sale of toy brand ELC to The Entertainer are anticipated to help the aim of being debt free by the end of this year. Mothercare’s combined credit score, which measures on a scale of 100 to 1 how likely a company is to default on its debts in the next year, was 1 at the time of this report according to Refinitiv Eikon data, indicating it was expected to default.

Vivid to attend Games Expo for first time under Goliath brand Vivid will be attending the UK Games Expo for the first time this year as Goliath Games. The event, held at the NEC from 31st May to 2nd June, is the UK’s largest dedicated expo for tabletop games, attracting 40,000 people over three days. The decision to attend the show reflects company’s dynamic new strategy of directly engaging with families and board game fans. Vivid will be showcasing Sequence, Burger Party, Colour Smash and True Colors, offering consumers the opportunity to play the games and enter daily Sequence tournaments. The company’s focus on experiential activations is part of a wider integrated 360-degree campaign to reach its key demographic. “We’re looking forward to attending the UK Games Expo for the first time this year,” commented Darrell Jones, head of marketing at Vivid Toy Group. “We have a fantastic line up of family and party games, and the expo will provide us with an excellent opportunity to showcase these games to a captive and engaged audience. The show will serve as a fantastic way to kick off our marketing campaign, in what is looking to be a busy and exciting year for us.”

New Sequin Art launches target younger market Sequin Art has announced the launch of Sequin Art Easy and Sequin Art Smoogles. Available to view at Distoy, the new collection and all the upcoming releases are suitable for a younger target market than the company’s existing range. Sequin Art Easy doesn’t require push pins or glue. The six eye-catching designs come with everything needed to complete the craft activity, including the picture board, sequins, play pattern and a push pen that makes picking up sequins effortless. The Sequin Art Smoogles collection was launched in March and has already proved popular. The range features a family of seven baby animals including Octopus Splash, Puppy Boop, Tiger Scratch and many more. A long-term development strategy for the collectible Smoogles characters has been put in place to ensure awareness remains high. Sequin Art designs are colourful, fun and relaxing to do. The products help nurture and develop creative minds, as well as hand-eye coordination and dexterity, with easy to create projects that will keep children aged 4+ entertained for hours. The new collection and all the upcoming releases will be available to view at the Distoy Show for distributors this May. The Sequin Art team can be found in room 202 at the St James’ Court Hotel.

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News Toyland comes to Kendal A new branch opened in Kendal’s Westmorland Shopping Centre at the end of March. Located in the lower mall, the new 2,300 sq.ft store will create several jobs. Westmorland Shopping Centre manager Nick Pitt commented: “I’m delighted that we’re able to add a new toyshop to our retail offering at Westmorland Shopping Centre. It’s an exciting time for us, with plans for major investment in a hotel and leisure development at the centre, which will radically transform the shopping experience for the benefit of shoppers and retailers alike.” Gordon Walker from Toyland Toyshop added: “We are very excited to be growing our store portfolio by opening a new Toyland Toyshop in Kendal. As a British multi brand toyshop, with seven other shops across the north of England, we pride ourselves on excellent customer service, fantastic value, range and choice. The town of Kendal, and the store’s excellent location within the shopping centre, are the perfect fit for Toyland, and we very much look forward to be becoming a part of the Kendal community at Westmorland Shopping Centre.” Toyland already has retail premises in Otley, Blackpool, Scarborough, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Halifax and Keighley.

Toy Trust supports relief effort following Cyclone Idai

Polly Pocket celebrates 30 years

Following the devastating cyclone that hit South East Africa in March, The Toy Trust Committee has agreed to donate up to £10,000 on behalf of the UK toy industry to charitable relief efforts to help in the region. Cyclone Idai was one of the worst tropical cyclones on record, killing over 1,000 people and leaving many more thousands homeless. Christian Aid, Samaritan’s Purse and Shelter Box will each receive £3,325 from the Toy Trust, which will go towards providing vital emergency supplies and shelter tents to those worst affected. As part of its overall mission statement, the Toy Trust aims to provide emergency aid in crises involving children and their families. Through the relief work of Christian Aid, Samaritan’s Purse and Shelter Box in the African countries affected, the Toy Trust’s donation will go on to help children and their families who need it most.

As the original collectible brand, Polly Pocket continues to show that Tiny is Mighty following a successful relaunch in September 2018. The re-introduction of the original microscale sized Polly and compacts that made her a 90s phenomenon has resonated with a new generation of girls. With more than 12m compacts sold, the new Polly Pocket product line nods to the brand’s heritage and surprise factor, but has an updated look for the next generation. In the UK, Polly is currently at number 10 in the Dolls Super Category YTD, and number 7 in Playset Dolls, climbing 3 places since Dec 2018. This year Polly Pocket is launching an exciting global social campaign, partnering with the world’s youngest female professional skateboarder, Sky Brown. 10-year-old Sky is the new Global Brand Ambassador and embodies the brand’s message that “Tiny is Mighty!” One of the youngest girls to compete and medal in professional skateboarding, Sky dares to challenge the status quo and encourages girls to take on new adventures, just like Polly Pocket. Pollyville playsets and vehicles, inspired by the town in the popular TV show, join the Polly Pocket World compacts, which expand with new additions for 2019. There are also 12 new Tiny Pocket Places to collect. The Tiny Takeaways Assortment is new for 2019, featuring a range of wearable locket and ring accessories. Each accessory includes a hidden micro doll, with eight fun themes to collect. The successful animated TV series returns to screens in May on POP, with a sponsorship campaign running from 8th April – 31st May on the channel. The YouTube channel continues to grow, with new animations, while the brands PopJam channel creates a fun hub for Polly fans. The Polly Pocket Tiny Takeaways Assortment features a charming array of accessories inspired by Polly Pocket episodes that kids can wear! Each accessory includes a hidden micro doll to help play out the storytelling fun! Choose from Avocado Locket, Donut Ring, Pizza Locket, Fries Ring, Phone Locket, Floatie Ring, Rocket Locket and Smoothie Ring.

Pindaloo approved by The Good Toy Guide Swag Distribution has announced that Pindaloo has officially been approved by Fundamentally Children and is now part of the Good Toy Guide. The experts commented: “Toys like this, that require a lot of coordination, are great for improving concentration, perseverance and spatial awareness. This is great as active, imaginative play is the superfood of the balanced play diet.” Combining basic components with simple action principles to create a fun, challenging game, Pindaloo is an ideal way for children to improve hand-eye co-ordination, strengthen their focus and enjoy hours of fun without the need for electronics or wifi. Swag Distribution is offering an exclusive 10% discount for independent retailers when ordering Pindaloo at www. Entering 1NDE10 at the checkout will apply the discount.

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News Board Game Club’s fifth birthday sees fastest-filling night ever The ever-popular evening reached capacity in just 29 minutes on Thursday, 4th April. With a raft of hit games on offer, guests enjoyed not only old favourites and complimentary prosecco, but also new games from a host of inventors. Among the titles making their debut were the string-twisting novelty Ztringz, and Tactic’s timer-turning, reflex-testing Ninja Rush. The evening also offered old favourites including Telestrations, Drop It and Mastermind – the first game ever played at Board Game Club. This brought back memories for co-founder Lesley Singleton who said: “When a room this size fills up in 30 minutes, it’s hard to believe it started with a handful of people in a Shoreditch basement.” Toyologist Pete Jenkinson, the club’s other co-founder, agreed: “We set this up informally, as a way to get industry people together for a few games and a drink, but it’s grown into a really popular event. Every month sees new faces join the regulars, and it’s a great mix; inventors, publishers, distributors, journalists and people who just love games.” Board Game Club continues to offer ‘can’t-miss’ dates for the diary. The popular evenings offer a wide variety of card, party and novelty games for enthusiasts and industry insiders to play in a relaxed, informal setting. The next Board Game Club takes place at Century Club, Soho, on Thursday 8th May – Contact to join the guest list.

BargainMax enjoys strong YOY growth

Bananagrams flourishes amid ambitious media strategy enjoyed a strong 2018, with both domestic and European sales increasing. The specialist online toy retailer has reported a total YOY sales increase of 27% for the 12-month period ending December 31st, 2018. Company profits for the same period grew by 35%. International sales grew by 113%, driven by primarily by Amazon Europe. Like-for-like 2019 Q1 sales figures also reflect’s current position in the market, with a 43% increase in sales and a 37% increase in company profits. During Q1 2019, international sales grew by an impressive 160%. Daniel McKay, who joined Bargain Max as head of digital in December, has been instrumental in driving a 47% increase in active UK website traffic, alongside the wider e-commerce and buying team. Senior buyer Alex Woolfstein commented: “The huge and exciting growth we saw last year has continued into Q1 2019, and we are confident that further growth and expansion are on the cards. The support we’ve had from our suppliers, including Mattel, Spin Master and Hasbro, has aided us immeasurably at a time when the retail market is facing a challenging time. More and more suppliers are getting in touch to launch their products on our website, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2019 has in store.” The company anticipates further this growth in 2019, and Alex added: “The launch of the newly platformed website in Q3 will hugely impact company growth with an exciting range of new features for the consumer. We expect to see continued high double-digit growth for the rest of the year.”

The increase in sales comes exactly one year after Asmodee became the official UK supplier of Bananagrams, which is making strong progress under the company’s stewardship with growth for Q1 in the UK of 34.8%, according to NPD data. A key part of this growth is a committed, long-term strategy of exposure to creative talent such as writers, producers and actors. This has resulted in a number of high-profile appearances in TV shows and movies that serve to bolster the brand, as well as organic mentions on talk shows. In 2018, the cast of the Peter Rabbit film were seen playing Bananagrams, while recent TV appearances include the Channel 4 sitcom Catastrophe, Neighbours and several major US shows such as Orange is the New Black, Billions, The Middle and Black-ish. Downton Abbey actors were also spotted enjoying games together between scenes, while celebrities including Justin Bieber have featured the game on their social media. Rena Nathanson at Bananagrams, commented: “I’m delighted to see UK sales of Bananagrams soar this year. The whole team at Asmodee has a fantastic understanding of our game and where it fits in the market, so it’s no surprise that the game is flying off shelves and reaffirming its position as an evergreen favourite.” The game has also become a key part of Asmodee’s Fun Fast Games range, which showcases the titles that can be learned and played quickly across all ages.

UL announces toy safety webinar series A global company with more than 120 years of expertise, UL’s comprehensive industry expertise and active involvement in the development of international toy safety standards allows it to help companies stay up-to-date with ongoing changes within the toy industry, which may impact product compliance strategies. UL’s team of experts has recently developed a series of webinars designed to share useful information relating to the latest regulatory updates, new industry trends and specific market access. Readers can visit the company’s website ( to learn more and register for involvement. Fostering safe living and working conditions for people everywhere, UL uses science to solve safety, security and sustainability challenges. Undertaking testing, inspections, auditing, certification, validation and verification, it also offers advice, training and support to companies with its range of software solutions for safety and sustainability. UL’s team of experts can develop comprehensive quality assurance programmes to help ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and brand specifications, and with its network of accredited laboratories and field services can help mitigate supply chain risk for companies across the globe. For more information, or if you have any questions about toy safety, email or telephone +44 (0)1256 312100.

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1NDE10 0121 3891 092

Industry Moves Siso Toys UK welcomes Mandy Victory to the team Siso has strengthened its team with the appointment of Mandy Victory as general sales manager UK & Ireland. Mandy joins the company from Flair, where she was joint head of sales. She commented: “I’m so thrilled to be joining Siso Toys UK at such an exciting time for the company as it looks to grow from a start-up into a top 10 toy supplier.” Martin Whitaker, managing director, Siso Toys UK, added: “Mandy brings with her a huge level of experience, most recently from her time at Flair. With her knowledge of the industry and enthusiasm for the business, Mandy will enable us to successfully execute our strategy with our retail and licensor partners. I know that she will be an incredible asset to the team as she helps us to grow our business.”

Michael Radzio joins Learning Resources as head of sales, as Simon Tomlinson expands remit Learning Resources has appointed Michael Radzio as head of sales. Formerly of Goliath, Clementoni and Jumbo Games, Michael brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience in the international retail toy market. Michael’s key responsibility will be to develop and grow trade, retail and ecommerce Michael Radzio accounts across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India. Michael commented: “I have been observing Learning Resources’ development for quite some time. It’s a great company with a professional team and excellent products which really deliver on its education-through-play promise. It’s a challenging role, but one which I’m excited to embrace and enhance with my knowledge and experience. I’m very much looking forward to it, and to being part of the Learning Resources team in the UK.” Simon Tomlinson, head of marketing, has seen his role expand to head of Amazon and marketing. He is now responsible for managing and developing Amazon accounts for the business across Europe and India, whilst retaining ownership of Learning Resources EMEA marketing operations. Managing director of Simon Tomlinson Learning Resources UK, Dennis Blackmore, commented: “These recent appointments reflect the dynamic state of the market in which we operate; they are designed to maintain our strength in core education markets while pursuing major growth internationally and online.”

Neil Mitchell lands role at KidKraft The former Shop Direct buyer has been appointed UK & Ireland area manager. The 50 year old company KidKraft, which has its global headquarters in Dallas, Texas, set up a European head office in Amsterdam 10 years ago, where a team of 35 currently oversees the European market. The UK & Ireland has been identified as a growing area of interest for the company, which has made the decision to appoint former buyer Neil Mitchell as its UK-based UK & Ireland area manager. The company feels that this will be a beneficial approach, rather than continuing to manage the territory from Amsterdam. In his new role, Neil will be home based in Liverpool. He commented: “I’m delighted and extremely excited to be joining KidKraft, and can’t wait to start working with customers and developing the business.” Known for its award-winning doll houses and play kitchens, KidKraft toys are sold in more than 90 countries. The 2016 acquisition of Big Backyard and Cedar Summit expanded the company’s reach beyond the playroom into the outdoors, and the company’s portfolio now comprises indoor toys, play sets and furniture, outdoor play sets and play houses. To contact Neil, email

Orchard Toys appoints Rob Mann as export sales manager Rob returns to the UK toy industry after a period of four years working as an international business consultant, and will replace Mary Watson, who retires from the company in April after 19 years of service. Managing director Simon Newbery said "Robert brings with him a wealth of industry experience and an ambition to drive export sales forward that is in line with our own. We are very much looking forward to welcoming him aboard and I know that he will build on the fantastic base that Mary created for Orchard Toys in export markets.” Robert added: “I am looking forward to joining Orchard Toys and being associated with a great team and product portfolio. Mary has done a fantastic job to develop the company’s reach internationally, and I hope to capitalise on this foundation and bring new opportunities to Orchard Toys through my extensive business experience.”

Swag Distribution expands sales team Swag Distribution continues to grow in 2019 with the appointment of Ian Ham as head of sales. Ian has a wealth of experience in developing sales relationships and creating business opportunities, with proven results growing KiddiMoto and Hornit in the toy and wheeled goods categories. Nathan Ridgard, Swag Distribution MD, commented: “We have ambitious plans for 2019 and are very excited to bring Ian on board. Ian’s close relationships with UK retail buyers and his enthusiasm to drive forward new business will be a winning combination for Swag and its retail partners.”

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Marketing World L.O.L. Surprise! expands digital reach with new OTT channel L.O.L. Surprise! is bringing its original YouTube branded content to OTT channels worldwide. MGA Entertainment has partnered with kidtech platform SuperAwesome to deliver L.O.L. Surprise! Unboxed, and more, to 50m additional homes around the world via Future Today. “Our dedicated focus on providing our fans a secure outlet where they can safely enjoy our content has positioned MGAE as the gold standard for children’s safety in the digital landscape; no other toy company has successfully done this,” said Isaac Larian, CEO and founder of MGA Entertainment. “We will continue to succeed in digital because we continue to deliver fresh, innovative and original content; and we will soon bring more new, creative ideas to other MGAE brands such as Poopsie Surprise, Kingdom Builders, Little Tikes, Viro Vega and more.” “With over 170,000 kids going online for the first time every day, a completely new digital landscape is being created. It requires companies to design both for privacy but also responsibility to engage with this audience, areas where MGA Entertainment has always set the very highest standards. We’re very proud to count it as a customer,” stated Dylan Collins, CEO SuperAwesome. L.O.L. Surprise! entertainment content is currently available on the L.O.L. Surprise! YouTube channel to nearly 1m subscribers, with more than 330.1m views to date. The brand is expanding its reach to Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire where users will enjoy over 60 videos of original content. New videos are uploaded every Thursday.

Masha and the Bear spring campaign comes to The Entertainer Animaccord, rights holder of the animated Masha and the Bear show, partnered with The Entertainer to carry out a spring retail campaign during April. Throughout the campaign period, more than 150 Entertainer stores featured branded Masha and the Bear display stands and security gate covers. This was supported by interactive meet & greet events with costume characters. “Masha and the Bear and The Entertainer have had a close and fruitful collaboration since the range first launched in 2016 and this latest campaign marks the fourth in a string of successful campaigns. In September 2018, sales of Masha and the Bear toys doubled at The Entertainer stores as a result of our autumn/winter in-store activation, and we’re excited to replicate this success with the latest campaign,” commented Mayur Pattni, UK marketing manager, Siso Toys UK. Rebecca Naish, head of marketing and licensing at The Entertainer, added: “Masha & the Bear is a well-loved property with some great content that children enjoy. Animaccord has been a great partner over the last couple of years, working together with us to bring Masha & the Bear to life in-store and online.”

Bespoke Playfoam display unveiled at Hamleys Learning Resources has introduced a bespoke display for its Playfoam range in Hamleys’ Regent Street store. Incorporating a screen for product videos and multiple product facings, the new display has been created to provide an eye-catching branded fixture in the flagship store. Marketing manager Lindsay Van Dyke commented: “We have worked closely with Hamleys on the Playfoam range, and this bespoke display is the next natural step as both the range and sales continue to grow.” The new display is part of a wider national Playfoam marketing campaign to support the best-selling range and multiple new range extensions, including Jumbo pods and new Playfoam Pals. Lindsay added: “We are investing heavily in the Playfoam range in 2019 and will be running a number of digital and in-store campaigns throughout the year. We will be utilising YouTube, social influencers, digital display and TV advertising campaigns as well as developing in-store marketing and experiential events. New FSDUs, POS and marketing support will be available to all retailers who stock the range.” Produced in a number of colours, Playfoam is available in eye-catching hanging blister packs of 4 and 8 pods, a boxed combo party pack of 20 and a counter display pack containing 64 pods. For children who want to add a little sparkle to their creative play, there’s also the Playfoam Sparkle Starter 4-pack. For more information on the Playfoam range, email or call 01553 819380.

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s r o t u b i r t s i d r o f w o h S

y o t s i D t 019 2 y a M t s 1 3 See us a May 28th

For further information: E: T: +44 (0) 1760 721390



On the campaign trail

This month, Jonathan looks the trends that can be uncovered from the latest data on toy-related TV campaigns, and how this information can be used to the benefit of toy companies.


nother full quarter of TV data is now available (Q1 2019), and yet again the outlook is not a positive one – at first glance. Commercial impacts across the children’s commercial stations, January-March, declined 25% year-on-year, which compounds the double-digit declines experienced throughout 2018 (culminating in a 20% decrease across Q4).


YoY % change in CH eq. impacts

0% -3%





-16% -16% -18%






-31% -32% -33% -34%




-43% -50%

To ta l

ey Ca Ju rto ni or on Ne tw or k Di sn ey X D Bo om er an g Ni ck Jr. Ti ny Di Po sn p ey Ch an ne l

Po p Jr. To o Ni ck

Di sn



Ni ck Br ea kf as t Ca rto on ito

CI TV Br ea kf as t Po p M ax

To on s

Ni ck

M ilk sh

ak e


Source: MediaOcean/BARB April 2019 Source: MediaOcean/BARB April 2019 These numbers, of course, focus on the generic trading audience of Children 4-15. Focusing on more specific and relevant audiences to the Toys and Games market highlights a number of different trends, and perhaps most concerning of these is the accelerated decline of the Girls 4-9 audience, which to the end of March had declined by 32% year-on-year. When you consider that of the 145 Toys and Games TV campaigns on UK screen between Jan-Mar, 68 were targeted at girls (compared to 34 more skewed towards boys, where the Boys 4-9 audience All TV

YoY% Change in Eq. Impacts

YoY% Change in Eq. Impacts

0% 0%



-15% -20% -25% -30% -35%

Kids TV

All TV


Kids TV



-20% -23% -25%


-25% -23%

-17% -22%

-21% -22%

-27% -23%



CH4-9 CH

Source: MediaOcean/BARB April 2019


-27% -30%


-30% -35%




has “only” declined by 22%), it is evident how important this audience is to the industry’s potential retail success. The heightened decline of Girls 4-9 viewing, compared to Boys 4-9, has a negative effect on the cost efficiency of the audience. TVR conversions from the Children 4-15 buying audience to the Girls 4-9 audience have fallen an average of 9% (full Toys and Games market, channel mix dependent), whilst Boys 4-9 has increased by an average of 9%. Despite the declining cost efficiencies of TV for the Girls 4-9 audience (and more generally), TV still has an important part to play in delivering effective marketing campaigns in 2019. For the majority of the year, it provides the most cost-effective means of reaching specific children’s demographics, and remains the only way to do so en masse, within a short window.

20% 10%

-32% -30% G4-9 -32%

B4-9 B4-9






CH7-12 CH7-12


However, campaigns should not be limited purely to TV (and should not have been in recent years leading to this point). VOD services are growing in popularity, and whilst we cannot access the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime commercially, viable alternatives to traditional broadcasters are available, if negotiated at the right costs (including Milkshake – recently available again following GDPR compliance issues). YouTube remains the most prominent alternative AV channel for children’s demos, and should be a staple of the majority, if not all, campaigns heading into Q4 2019 (providing targeting is accurate and, critically, safe). Giraffe Insight’s Kids and the Screen data can be utilised to pinpoint periods of the year when selected YouTube inventory is cost comparable to TV for selected targeted audiences, including Girls 4-9. It is not a revelation to state that YouTube is core to children’s media habits; we have all known - or at least suspected - this for some time. Making the most of the seemingly infinite inventory options, however, will set your campaign apart from the competition. For example, which of the traditional broadcasters’ (e.g. Viacom, Turner, Disney) YouTube offerings, if any, should be used? And in what capacity? Also beware of the use of influencers and remember to assess like for like wherever possible. For example, there are some well-known YouTube stars charging over £200 cost per thousand for their videos (and in some cases in excess of £500), whilst some influencers have a pricing model which is far more appropriate to our market (considerably less than 10% of this). These considerations represent only a small portion of what is required to make a success of YouTube campaigns in 2019. If you want to understand how to get the best out of your budgets, or are simply interested to know which YouTube influencers are charging over £200 per thousand, please get in touch.

Source: MediaOcean/BARB April 2019 Source: MediaOcean/BARB April 2019

Jonathan Chambers

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

Toy World 18

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Licensing World Riverside Brands to represent Larva Riverside Brands has added popular kids’ cartoon Larva to its growing roster of clients. Created by South Korea’s Tuba, Larva follows the comic capers of Red and Yellow, two cheeky larvae who live beneath a city storm drain. Since launch, Larva has garnered over 2b views on YouTube, with Netflix commissioning its own exclusive series, Larva Island, in 2018. A second season aired in early 2019. There are 300 episodes, with new content in development and a feature movie slated for 2021. Already a consumer product hit in Asia and Latin America and with a growing UK viewership across YouTube and Netflix, Riverside Brands will manage and implement deals across all categories in the UK, working closely with the UK master toy distributor, Re:creation. The toy range has debuted in The Entertainer, with many more retailers launching shortly, with further categories expected from spring 2020. A large marketing campaign, set to kick off imminently, will further bolster the brand’s presence in the UK. Ashley Holman, MD of Riverside Brands, commented: “We’re thrilled to be representing Larva, which is undoubtedly set to be the next big hit for kids. With overseas CP success, positive uptake from UK retailers and a host of savvy creative marketing initiatives from the team at Re:creation, it’s fair to say Red and Yellow’s cheeky antics will soon be found in every home with a 4-9 year old.” Re:creation general manager, Adrian Mayes, added: ”This is a property with such exciting potential. We’re working closely with retail partners to create targeted and fun marketing campaigns that capitalise on the fantastic personality of the Larva brand.”

Andrew Carly leaves eOne The former head of global licensing is looking for a new challenge in the licensing field. Andrew Carley parted company with eOne in early April, after spending 12 years with the company. Speaking to Toy World, Andrew admitted that he would be sad to leave, adding: “It’s been an amazing journey, I’ve loved every minute of it. It has been a privilege to work at eOne, with the freedom to build the operation into the global powerhouse it is today. We started out with just three people in the UK and now there are six offices across the globe, employing hundreds of people. We’ve taken Peppa Pig from a brand that had around a dozen UK licensees to a truly global property with over 3000 licensees across the world.” Andrew would love to stay within the licensing arena and utilise the extensive knowledge, experience and contacts that he has built up in the global licensing community over the past 12 years. He can be contacted on 07734 066113 or at

Clementoni secures DC licence for puzzles Clementoni has announced a second Warner Bros. partnership following the recent signing of Harry Potter, adding DC to its puzzles portfolio for the UK. Launching in June, the DC range will include puzzles for both adults and children across Clementoni’s best-selling platforms; Impossible 1,000-piece, Panorama 1,000-piece, and a 104-piece ideal for pre-school puzzle fans. All puzzles are manufactured from the highest quality materials, and will offer striking imagery of popular characters from the DC Universe. “Having secured the Harry Potter licence, we wanted to strengthen our partnership with Warner Bros.,” said Shahbaz Khan, UK country manager of Clementoni UK. “With DC being such an evergreen property, it was a perfect fit for Clementoni. The brand offers huge opportunities to such a wide audience, and we are thrilled to add it to our strong licensed puzzle portfolio.” For further information on the new DC range or other products in the Clementoni portfolio, please contact

Toy World 20

New Toy Range launches AW19

with TV and digital support

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Licensing World Posh Paws signs Sunny Bunnies plush deal Posh Paws will be developing a range of feature and standard plush toys, infant plush and cushions featuring the Sunny Bunnies characters Turbo, Big Boo, Iris, Shiny and Hopper. The deal covers all territories in Europe and the Middle East, excluding France. Produced by Digital Light Studio, Sunny Bunnies is a preschool, non-dialogue CGI-animated comedy aimed at 3-6 year olds. Now in its fourth season, the show features five fluffy balls of light that can appear anywhere there is a light source, bringing fun, happiness and mischief everywhere they go. Laura Bull, marketing manager at Posh Paws, commented: “We are thrilled to be the plush partner for Sunny Bunnies across EMEA. We immediately fell in love with the cute, crazy characters and knew they would lend themselves perfectly to a premium plush collection and much more.” Sunny Bunnies features in Fun to Learn Favourites magazines, plus Fun to Learn Friends and Sparkle World in the UK, as part of a compilation deal with Redan Publishing. Additionally, Whitehouse Leisure will be offering a range of amusement plush throughout EMEA. In the UK, the Sunny Bunnies TV series launched on Channel 5’s Milkshake! in January 2019, and is now also available on the My5 on-demand service, as well as the Milkshake! website and magazine. The show is also available in the UK on Sky Kids, Disney Junior and Amazon Prime. Globally, the series is now broadcast in more than 160 territories.

Pop TV to bring 44 Cats to the UK Rainbow has announced a UK deal with Sony Pictures Television’s Pop TV, which will launch the animated show in September. 44 Cats is a Rainbow production in collaboration with Antoniano Bologna and Rai Ragazzi. The series follows the adventures of Lampo, Milady, Pilou and Meatball; four kittens who are part of a band named The Buffycats. Their adventures explore the themes of friendship and altruism, as the cats help others and find creative solutions to everyday hitches, dealing with themes like tolerance, diversity and acceptance. “We are absolutely thrilled with this new broadcast deal, as Pop TV has such a big presence and reputation in the UK”, said Andrea Graciotti, head of sales, TV series, Movies & Co-Productions of Rainbow. “This adds to the buzz surrounding the brand, which has received a great response from across the international TV market.” Sarah Muller, vice president, Children’s and Youth Entertainment Programming, Sony Pictures Television, added: “44 Cats is a perfect fit for Pop, with its blend of friendship, fun and cute kitties.”

Egmont Publishing releases one-off Nick Jr. Top Wing magazine Egmont Publishing has announced a special edition of its umbrella title, Showcase, dedicated to Nickelodeon pre-school property Top Wing. Egmont currently publishes magazines on two other Nickelodeon pre-school properties, Shimmer & Shine and Paw Patrol. Top Wing, the newest Nick Jr. franchise, launched on television last August. Today it is a Nick Jr. top five show among 2-5 year olds. The pre-school series follows four birds, Swift, Penny, Rod and Brody, at the Top Wing Academy, where cadets sharpen their rescue skills and help those in need, learning valuable lessons along the way. The special issue of Showcase: Top Wing includes stories, puzzles, colouring, stickers and a reward chart. Readers will learn all about the rescue birds and receive free gifts, while toy partner Hasbro will be running a competition to win Top Wing toys. A competition will be run in partnership with Milkshake!, with the magazine being promoted both on the Milkshake! website and on-air. Kiran Vara, publisher at Egmont, said: “We’re so excited to be taking flight with Top Wing and bringing the brand’s values of teamwork, perseverance and bravery to the UK magazine market. We’re sure that our pre-school readers will love the magazine’s activities and stories and getting to know the Top Wing team in this special issue of Showcase.”

Toy World 22

NPD Insight

On the receiving end This month, Melissa examines changes in the demographics of toy recipients over the last few years, and what this tells us about the current toy market.


Melissa Symonds

hile 2018 may not have been the girls include Harry Potter, which has significantly strongest year on record for the increased its presence in the girls’ property ranking UK toy market, with value sales in the last twelve months. down -5%, it’s interesting to note Spending on boys aged 5-17 years hasn’t grown as term impact if parents of this age group continue that not all toy recipients declined fast as girls, up just £20m or +2% since 2015. Building to spend less on toys as their children grow. Dolls at the same rate. In fact, since 2015, there have been Sets is the top category for boys, accounting for is the only category purchased for 0-4 years which some significant changes in the demographics of 24% of all toy spend, followed by Outdoor & Sports has seen growth in the last four years: it is now the toy recipients, which can lead to an alternative Toys. Surprisingly, Games & Puzzles is now the second largest category for 0-4 years with 16% of perspective on the current market performance. third largest area, having increased +30% in the last spend, while Infant/Toddler and Pre-school Toys Toys purchased for boys accounted for 51% of total four years. However, the biggest change has been remains the number one category, representing toy sales in 2018 or £1.7b. However, this is down in Action Figures & Accessories category, which has 40% of spend. Outdoors & Sports Toys, Plush and from 53% in 2016. In contrast, toys purchased for dropped from 14% of spend in 2015 to just 10% in Building Sets are also key categories for this age girls have grown to account for 47% or £1.6Bn of 2018, a loss of -£32m. Vehicles remains consistent, group. the market, with the remaining 2% purchased for accounting for 10% of spend on boys each year. Star While parents may be reducing their spend on multiple recipients. Wars remains number one property for boys with newborns and toddlers, the other end of the age Spending on girls aged 5-17 years has increased 4.3% of all spend. Lego City is number two with spectrum, Kidults (or toys purchased for 18+ years +15% or +£115m since 2015, with Dolls remaining the 4.2% , while Marvel Universe, Nerf and DC Universe whether self-purchasing or gifting) has increased top category with 36% share of all toys purchased complete the top 5 properties purchased for boys. +8% since 2015 or +£36m, which represents 14% of for girls, up from 29% and accounting for 70% of Outside the top 5, there has been consistent share total spend on toys. While male recipients account growth in the last four years. This increase has been growth for both Hot Wheels and Playmobil within for 64% of the 18+ years spend and women 36%, heavily driven by Playset Dolls growth, which in this age group. both groups have grown consistently over the last turn has been driven by the huge success of L.O.L. The largest age group for toys remains 0-4 years, four years. The top category for Kidults is Games & Surprise! over the past two years. Unsurprisingly, accounting for £1.1b across both genders and 32% Puzzles, with traditional games such as Monopoly this is now the number one property purchased of all spend. However, this demographic, unlike the and Scrabble still popular, as well as the rise of new for girls. However, it’s not just Dolls purchases that 5-17 years, has seen a value decline of -£209m in the card games such as Exploding Kittens and Cards have grown for girls 5-17 years over the last four last four years, a drop of-16% compared to its 2015 against Humanity. All Other Toys (Model sets) and years. Plush, All Other Toys, Building Sets, Action figure, when it represented 38% of all toy spend. This Building Sets are also popular categories for the Figures and Vehicles spend have all increased, while has been the biggest declining demographic within older recipients. spending on Arts & Crafts, Outdoor & Sports Toys the UK toy market and this trend could have a longCompetition for children’s time as and Youth Electronics has they get older is always a hot topic, declined. It is worth noting with Video Games in particular a that Arts & Crafts remains the popular destination for children second largest supercategory leaving the toy market. However, this 0-4 Years has seen decline of -£209M in the last 4 years while older age for girls with 12% of sales, demographics have increased is not a new occurrence and has been although that figure is down Value Sales £M happening for many years. The loss from the 14% share it held in £1,286 0-4 Yrs of spend on 0-4 years has had a much £1,077 2015. Coming up to her 60th bigger impact on the value of the year anniversary, Barbie £866 5-17 Yrs Boys £886 total toys market in the UK in the last remains popular and is the £758 four years and should be of concern number two property, with 5-17 Yrs Girls 2015 £873 for the industry. Although, as long 4.5% of all girls’ spend, just 2018 £444 as the Kidult category continues to 18+ Yrs ahead of Disney Princess, £480 grow, there may be more balance as with Lego Friends and My £61 Multiple Recipients the industry adapts its perspective Little Pony completing the £51 to cater for a broader range of toy top 5 properties. Other newer Source: The NPD Group | NPD Consumer UK | Full Year 2018 vs 15 demographics. properties being purchased for

Director UK Toys, EuroToys NPD

Toy Recipient Demographics

The NPD Group, Inc. | Proprietary and confidential

Toy World 24

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)

Rank Feb 2019

Rank Mar 2019

Twisty Petz



Since launching in June 2018, Twisty Petz from Spin Master has been one of the new ‘wearable’ toys available in the UK market. March 2019 was a strong month for Twisty Petz with the single unit more than doubling sales compared to February, helped in part by Twisty Petz reaching its highest weighted distribution of 83% for the month. Twisty Petz is the number six property in value, with 2.5% share of Playset Dolls & Accessories segment for March. The single pack is the number twelve best-selling Playset Doll for the month, with just nine L.O.L. Surprise! Items plus Hairadorables and Poopsie Cutie Tooties Surprise outselling it by value. By volume, the single pack is the ninth fastest seller in the category for March.

Fastest Growing Subclasses in Toys While the movement of Easter from March 2018 to April 2019 has had an impact on some of the monthly analysis, there are still areas of the UK toy market which had a strong start to 2019. The fastest growing subclass in Q1 2019 is Action Figures Collectibles driven by the continued growth of Funko Pop!, which has more than doubled sales in the last year and now accounts for 39% of total AF Collectibles. However, with Superzings, Fornite and Treasure X all adding value to the category, this is a particularly healthy area, adding more than £1.1M to the UK toy market. Skates/Skateboards/Scooters growth is driven by Micro gaining distribution this year and MV Sports & Leisure licensed scooters featuring L.O.L. Surprise, Paw Patrol & Peppa Pig. The top Card Games are Dobble and Uno – both showing strong growth this year, while Exploding Kittens is climbing the rankings with expanded distribution. Brainteasers growth is driven by Rubiks Cube and GraviTrax continued strong performance post-Christmas. Poopsie Slime Surprise is driving the Nurturing Dolls Other Accessories, while the L.O.L. House and Pop Up Store are the top two items in Playset Doll Accessories; however Sylvanian Families remains the number one property overall with 23% of the category.

Over 150 Designs Now In Stock! See Them All On Our Website

Fastest growing subclasses

Action Figures Collectibles fastest growth category in Q1 2019 Sales Gained £M Action Figure Collectibles Skate/Skateboards/Scooters Card Games Nurturing Doll Other Accessories Brainteasers Playset Doll Accessories PS Kitchen & Food Playground Equipment Model Supplies Bubble Toys/Solution








Source: The NPD Group | Retail Tracking Service | YTD March 2019 vs. 18

DocumentThe classification: Client/Third Party Confidential NPD Group, Inc. | Proprietary and confidential


+44 (0)1462 446040




Toy World 25 Toy World - Vertical Half Page - Wilberry.indd 20

10/04/2019 16:06:52

In-Store Support

Dedicated Marketing Campaigns

Social Media Activity

Marketing & Distributing Quality Brands

Good Margin

Talking Shop

Plenty to celebrate This month’s retailers are in a party mood, as Toytown Seaford marks 10 years in business and The Trading Post celebrates its 20 year anniversary. They spoke to Rachael Simpson-Jones about the current state of business and raised a toast to the independent sector. High Horse however, is lurking in the kitchen and the beer has run out…

Ginette McGee - Toytown Seaford Toytown celebrated turning 10 years old at the beginning of the Easter holidays, with a huge event in-store on 6th April. Thanks to the generous support of many of our suppliers, our customers enjoyed character visits from Stikbot (Brainstorm), Freya Chocolate (Sylvanian Families), Playmobil Princess and the red Play-Doh can. We also organised a Nerf challenge, competitions which saw visitors guessing the number of Hama beads and the scent of Scentco pencils, and numerous colouring competitions. These are always a hit, and work well for retailers as they require a return visit - a second purchase often follows. Inspired by the Snowdog and Paddington trails we’ve seen in cities in the last few years, we have our own Toytown Rocking Horse trail; there are 11 rocking horses hidden around the store, each decorated by a different Toytown Elf. This initiative has been a surprise hit, and customers are coming in having heard about it from their friends. They then spend a good hour or so in store finding the horses, which of course leads to sales. In the window we have a huge number 10, constructed from hundreds of toys accumulated in my office over the years. We’ve been

challenging customers to guess the number of faces, again for some huge prizes donated by our kind suppliers. This has also proved very popular and has become something of a talking point in the town. A lot has changed in the 10 years we’ve been open; it’s been a huge learning curve, but there are plenty of people in the toy trade who have been supportive, and I hope to be part of the toy world for many years to come. On the flip side, I believe we’ve proved a fair few naysayers wrong; there were many who predicted we wouldn’t see out our first year. The biggest change we’ve seen over the past decade is the rise of the collectible. The first Lego Minifigure blind bags appeared a few months after we opened and really began a tidal wave of collectibles and blind purchases. These are now a sizeable chunk of our business, bringing in parents, grandparents and children, all searching for the toys needed to expand or complete their collections. With the enormous number of collectibles now on offer, some will inevitably be bigger successes than others, but rarely are we stuck with a range we can’t sell. The side effect of these collectibles is that there is less money in people’s pockets for other toys. Apart from pre-school, which remains a strong category, we have seen a decline in the number of toys purchased in higher price brackets. However, this is also due to the rise of the smartphone. Although phones were obviously around when we opened, it’s only the last few years that it has become so easy to purchase in a couple of clicks, wherever you have 4G. We have witnessed shoppers scanning barcodes in-store, photographing toys, which they will then purchase

Toy World 27

online for the sake of saving a pound or two. It’s disheartening when we have gone to a great deal of effort to create an exciting, inviting shopping destination with knowledgeable staff, just to see the purchase walk out of the door. However, enough people are keen to support brick & mortar retailers and do value having a place to take their children toy shopping. We have cut way back on the higher price points, as that’s where most sales are lost to online. Now, we no longer stock slides, playhouses or high value electronics. The internet is here to stay and will keep coming up with ways to entice sales away from the high street, but we will continue to provide the type of shopping experience people value. Dare I mention the B word? There’s absolutely no

Talking Shop overheads where possible, and hope it’s all resolved as quickly as possible. As I mentioned, collectibles are now key to our business, and I’m pleased to say we currently have a few hits. Cuteitoes from Basic Fun, Pikmi Pops from Flair and Bananas from Bandai are all performing really well, and the Sylvanian blind-bags are popular with the younger ones. L.O.L. Surprise! is still sought-after, when we actually have stock. We also have our popular Swap Box behind our counter – a display cabinet with one of each of the collectibles we sell, so customers can swap any doubles with ours. This helps win round parents who are wary of blind purchases, and has proved very successful. I recommend giving it a try if you have the space.

doubt that this has been a very challenging year due to the ongoing Brexit crisis. We see a drop in sales every general election, as people do not like to spend when there is uncertainty; Brexit has had even more impact as it’s been going on for so long. If you ask people individually if they’re cutting back, they’ll likely say no, or maybe just this and that, but when you multiply the little bit here and there by the entire consumer population, it’s had a huge effect. Maybe the once a week pub meal is now once a month, the hair colour can wait another two weeks, or the £15 gift voucher purchase is now just £10, but these all add up. Frustratingly, there’s no end in sight, so all we can do is watch our stock levels and purchasing very carefully, cut

Julia Wingate -

The Trading Post, Kingsbridge

Business is very good for us at the moment, and people seem more positive than this time last year. We are based in the south west and a lot of people take ‘staycations’ here rather than travelling abroad, especially with the unsettled situation currently. This is a positive thing as it keeps consumers in our area. The holiday-let market here is also quite buoyant, with plenty of bookings made for this season, so all in all it looks set to be a good year for us. The pattern of the school holidays is slightly different this year compared to previous years, with Easter arriving quite late. Some of the schools here had a two-week Easter holiday followed by separate time off for the Easter weekend. A couple of weekends in early in April weren’t as busy as perhaps we’d have liked or expected, but footfall picked up the last weekend of April. The varied school holidays meant there weren’t so many kids off during that same, bunched up two-week period. Lego is always one of our bestsellers; its such a strong brand that parents don’t mind their kids spending their pocket money on it, and are often happy to add a little bit on to what they’ve decided to buy. Lego City has always been a particular highlight of our Lego offering, while the licensed Star Wars range appeals to parents and kids alike. We’re seeing a bit of a shift away from family games to more unusual card and board games

- we’re selling more, and selling them more easily. People seem willing to try something different. Things like Dobble and Cobra Paw perform well all year round, while toilet humour games pick up towards Christmas. Uno is a firm favourite with our customers; Mattel has brought out a new version, Uno Dos, which has been well-received. We’ve held a few demo days courtesy of Asmodee, which have been really popular with our customers and have imparted good knowledge and advice for our staff. At the weekend, we often have a demo area set up, so people can get hands-on with the games and learn how to play them. L.O.L. is great collectible line - when we can get it

Toy World 28

in - and Sylvanian Families is a reliable, steady seller all year-round. We also do well with Zapf Dolls; its not a brand that’s available everywhere, so people are pleased to see it in our store. L.O.L has definitely had an impact on the collectibles category; you can only spend your pocket money once, and if you’re spending it on L.O.L then another brand will miss out - but that’s the same across the toy market. Our L.O.L stock comes in and sells out very quickly, so we haven’t expanded shelf space in-store for it, as there are going to be times when it won’t be filled. Collectibles in general, blind-bags and lower priced items (sub £10) have greater shelf space in-store than they did five years ago, simply because there’s a wider range of things to choose from nowadays. We regularly run Lego Minifigure swap days, which let kids trade figures they have two of, or just don’t particularly want. The whole town runs an Easter Egg Hunt challenge each year. Kids look for the Easter Eggs in shops up and down the town, find all 10 eggs needed to spell ‘Easter Eggs’, write down which shop each letter is in, and return their form to the local Information Centre for a prize. This is great at pushing footfall into the shops in our area, getting people meeting their local shopkeepers, and helping to secure a bit of extra business from families enjoying a day out. We also take part in collaborative initiatives among all the local shops, such as Easter colouring competitions; the colouring leaflets are collected

from the store, and must be dropped back in person which generates a second visit. As Toymaster members, we benefit from the group’s central invoicing system along with the better payment terms you get as part of your membership. The accessibility of accounts with new suppliers is another a major perk, as is the collective knowledge and support from the other members through the Toymaster forum – if you’ve got a question or concern, or if you’re desperately seeking stock because something has taken off in your area and you need to get hold of more, then the members are always willing to help. It’s our 20th anniversary this year so we are planning a big birthday weekend with lots of demos, giveaways and character meet & greets with Toby Toymaster and Sylvanian Families characters. There will be a real party atmosphere for visitors to enjoy. It’s a major marketing opportunity that shouldn’t be missed, and we anticipate a healthy spike in footfall as a result. To make The Trading Post stand out, I’m always searching for products that are new and different to what we currently stock, and that can’t be found anywhere else. We have considered going into gifting, but don’t have the space and there are already several gift shops in the town, so our strategy is to evaluate our current suppliers and their margins, and deal with those that offer the highest. Consequently, our range offers consumers great quality and choice, and the best returns. Over the past 20 years I’d say the biggest change I’ve seen has been the rise of online shopping, but we try to turn this to our advantage by emphasising that we have the toys physically in stock; they can be touched and tried out, and taken home that same day. You don’t have to wait two or three days, or pay extra for next-day delivery. Brick & mortar retailers will always be able to offer a personal shopping element that you just can’t get online. I’ve noticed general high-street footfall and spending has decreased over the years. That said, recently I’ve noticed a slight uplift as people return to their local shops to enjoy the knowledge and experience offered by shopkeepers rather than the cold, impersonal online shopping experience. We try to make shopping a social experience and therefore a better quality one, even if the products being bought remain the same. When I talk to other shop keepers in the town, there is an overwhelming sense of the need to be positive. If you’re being negative about what you’re selling your customers will pick up on that. The atmosphere in a shop like that is tangible. I believe that independents must be willing to do more for their customers – a free poster, a gift with purchase, some personalised advice on which toy to buy, just something extra. The retail model has to go beyond simply offering product X at the RRP.

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Race with the Devil Anon

Pondering what’s “High Horse Toys” going to happen with Easter sales as I write this, the tune “Race with the Devil” pops into my head. A great guitar riff, but it reminds me that here we are again. With a peak shopping period just around the corner, we’re giving it all away. It’s a race to the bottom with promotions and prices. I spoke about margin last time, but make no apologies for doing so again. When I first started in this game (and it is a game), we weren’t frightened to sell our goods at a profit. You remember that thing, the difference between the cost of goods and the price we sell them at? This miniscule bit in the middle must pay for our rent, rates, staff, heat & light etc. Competition has changed, we may hope for a level playing field when it comes to purchasing, but increasingly realise that we’re outgunned. 3 for 2 on toys, up to 20% off Lego, up to ½ price toys; we’re all guilty of driving prices down. This benefits no one, as profit margin and sales drop, so why do we do it? 99% of the time it is a reaction to the market place; the independents are not the instigators. While I’m on my soapbox, when is an order not an order? When it’s a blooming allocation. This really gets my goat, spending time and resources, planning an order, creating new product listings, loading them on to the system and raising an order, only to find that the supplier hasn’t got enough stock to cover our orders and it goes on “allocation”. Meanwhile, budget has been tied up and allocated to these products, when it could have been more usefully employed elsewhere. More and more toy companies have started marketing and selling direct to customers. We (the independent trade -remember us?!) have spent time and money purchasing and promoting fabulous toy ranges, to either be banned from selling them on online selling platforms or to have our sites scrutinised and be forced to agree to online rules. We’re all advised to become an omni platform retailer: “You need a presence on all platforms”, “Expand your offering”. Nah. Are we all so stupid and naïve to think that our listings on certain jungle-named selling platforms aren’t scrutinised, measured and used? Having read in the news that Alexa picks up users’ comments to be analysed, sorted and used to pre-empt what adverts they may want to look at and products they may need to buy, what’s stopping the biggest company in the world doing the same with our data? Too late, its already happened; toy companies and retailers have been providing this platform with free valuable market research data for years. Alexa………………..just switch the world off!



The power of a challenger mindset It is no great secret that the European market has been the most challenged global region for Mattel in recent years. Having spent 19 years with Mattel in a variety of senior positions, Sanjay Luthra took over as managing director of Europe just over a year ago, adding the Middle East and Africa to his portfolio in January. When he took over the reins, he came with the perception of being -in his own words - “a digital, techy, algorithm type of guy who would support online retailers.” In practice, he has proved to be so much more: retailers from every retail channel now see him as someone who finds solutions to problems and works with them to help them address the challenges they face in a rapidly evolving retail landscape. John Baulch met up with Sanjay to hear about the changes he’s been instigating and Mattel’s plans for 2019, including the launch of its brand new B2B platform. You’ve been in the role for 12 months – how have you found it? There was certainly a lot of work to do – I knew exactly what I was coming in to and that it wouldn’t be easy. The challenge was very visible. When we looked at where we were in our core markets, in some territories Mattel was ranking at number four, five or even six. That is not our natural spot. It is both a great challenge and a great opportunity. When people ask me ‘what is your dream job at Mattel?’ I say “this is it.” Mattel is in my DNA: Europe has the ability to create huge impact in a positive way.

What has been your biggest challenge? Influencing Mattel as a global organisation, making them aware of how the European market operates – which, of course, is very different to the US – and also of the realities of where we are as a

business in Europe. When the team started making appointments for my first Nuremberg Toy Fair in the new role, we had retailers asking for Sunday and Monday slots. You know your status in the toy industry when that happens! We even had requests for dinner on the Sunday night and breakfast on the Monday – clearly, we were not in a good spot. But, of course, we took the appointments and the dinners.

What do you see as the biggest opportunity? I believe it is the people in the European team; the culture at Mattel is the real strength of our organisation, our competitive advantage. In previous roles, I worked as part of the team to open many of Mattel’s Eastern European subsidiaries from 2007-2012, and during this time I also reported into the UK operation, so I knew the team and its culture very well. They are a very dedicated, hardworking group of people: I knew they would respond

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well to the challenges and the new culture we’re aiming to foster. Operational change was definitely required, but it wasn’t a case of bringing new teams in with me from Canada, there was already a great team in place.

What operational changes did you need to bring about? When Mattel was the market leader, the culture very much reflected that status – we needed to show leadership, to act and behave like the market leader. Things are very different at the moment; we need to have a challenger mind-set. We need to be entrepreneurial, to challenge the status quo and to push decision-making down to the people on the ground. The toy market is changing rapidly: we need to empower the people who are facing customers to be able to take a decision there and then. We need them to think: “If it was my company, would I take that call?” If the answer is yes, then take it – and if

the framework is preventing you from taking that decision, then come back and challenge the framework. The retail landscape is changing so fast – retailers have big challenges of their own, whether it’s conversion, traffic, real estate or digital strategy. I say to the sales team: “When you go to a customer, go with 100 ears and one mouth.” I want the team to listen to their problems, understand the challenges they are facing and help them to start solving their issues. Don’t think about what’s in it for Mattel; think about how we can help them with their challenges. Our success will come through the success of our retail customers. It’s important for us to be quick and nimble and, most importantly, to do the right things for our customers.

How has the team reacted to these changes? The team has fully embraced the changes – they were hungry and working hard, but they weren’t seeing success. They knew that we needed to make changes. Now that we’re seeing positive results, the success will give them the courage to climb the next hill. We really feel that we’ve turned a corner, and the global success we’ve enjoyed with Barbie and Hot Wheels is proof of that. But we need to change our focus from regional to local. The toy companies which have enjoyed success in Europe have done so because they have entrenched themselves in the local market. We need to understand the ‘local’ mum – a German mum behaves very differently to a UK mum. At the beginning, the team and I spent the first three months working to understand the market: what the retailers and consumers in each territory were thinking. We have adapted our approach from having an all-encompassing regional strategy to a local strategy, with particular emphasis on three key territories: the UK, Germany and France. Two thirds of our European business was coming from these three countries, so we decided to go deeper into the

well as they understand the overall toy market. It’s a major industry challenge – there is a joint responsibility on all the Pre-School vendors and retailers to come up with solutions to overcome that.

How important is the specialist channel to Mattel?

layers – we wanted to understand the behaviour of consumers and retailers in these three markets.

Has that change in approach been successful? Absolutely – and in some of these markets, the biggest success story at the moment is Enchantimals. As a brand, it hasn’t been quite so successful in the US market, but in some markets it turned over more than the Jurassic World range last year – and the Jurassic World range was successful in its own right. We’ve found that some of the European markets are better suited to properties like Enchantimals; in fact, the Small Playset category has overtaken fashion dolls in recent years. The games sector has been another area where we’ve enjoyed tremendous European success, particularly in Germany and France.

What categories have presented a particular challenge for you? Fisher-Price and Thomas have been the biggest challenges – this is partly related to changes in the retail landscape, as consumer spending has shifted to the online and value channels. Toy specialists have faced huge challenges right across Europe – including Toys R Us, Ludendo, Top Toys, Intertoys and many others – and these retailers were all strong players in the Pre-School category. Retailers from outside the specialist channel don’t always understand the Infant and Pre-School category as

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I see this as the most important piece of our business. My guidance to the team has been to support the specialist retailers, as they are so important in today’s retail landscape. This is the time when they need us the most. Those small retailers have fantastic relationships with their customers - they can guide them with precision. Toy shops offer a magical experience: they allow parents to spend quality time with their child, and see the joy on their face. They’ll often take a picture and post it on social media; the likes of Amazon, Aldi and Lidl can’t provide that toyselling experience, but Smyths, The Entertainer and the independent stores can. They are destination stores where mum knows she’ll not only find a huge variety of products, but also create memories. In fact, Smyths has created the perfect omnichannel experience, by combining both the destination for the experience as well as the reassurance and trust to buy online. My message to the team has been to learn and understand how we can support these stores to help them create that fantastic experience.

Have you found a way to work costeffectively with the independent channel? Consumers are going to these stores, and it’s essential for us to put our product in front of consumers, wherever they are shopping – we can’t compromise on that core value. In the past, we spent too long investing in ‘shop-in-shop’ installations in Toys R Us when the customer had already moved to The Entertainer. It’s not just about a simple price negotiation – I’m not taking percentages to the bank, I’m taking money. It’s important to acknowledge



Examples of the new B2B platform pages

that specialists have a business model which works for them and works for the consumer, and we need to find the best way to work with them. We want to help the specialist channel make the most of every selling opportunity – hence the launch of our new B2B platform for small retailers, which is hosted via We’ve just launched it in Italy and Spain, and we’ve been piloting it here in the UK with a selection of retailers. We’ll be rolling it out in full later this year. The idea is to offer specialist retailers technology and self-service, to save them having to constantly contact us for information. Now it’s all in one place: product information and recommendations; brand plans; TV advertising creative and instructional videos. While it is rich in information, its primary function is to make ordering quicker and easier; retailers can even track the progress of an order or check if a product has come back into stock. When they log in, the independent retailer can see everything that Mattel is offering them: product information, local pricing, promotional activity and the package deals that are running. A specialist retailer can look on their phone, check the availability of a particular product, so they can immediately react to a customer enquiry. It offers total visibility, SKU availability and ordering capability in one easy to use package. We believe it’s going to strengthen our relationship with the smaller retailers and open up many more opportunities for them to become a true destination store for their customers. We are totally committed to working with our customers to improve the offering, service and overall experience delivered by the portal so we welcome feedback.

You referred to the growth of the online and value channels – do you see these retailers as an opportunity or a threat? Very much an opportunity. The consumer is moving to these channels,

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and it’s very important for us to move along with them: the faster you move with your consumer, the better you perform. If you don’t understand and react to trends and shopper behaviour, you will lose out. We took some big bets as a business last year – as well as our focus on the UK France and Germany, we saw a great opportunity in both the online and discount channels, and those bets definitely paid off. Last year, Mattel grew by 23% in the online channel, comfortably growing at twice the rate of the channel   The discount channel has changed beyond all recognition. Seven years ago, if I had a Lidl shopping bag, I would have hidden it. Today, when you look in the parking lot, you will see Porsches, Audis and BMWs – and people aren’t hiding those bags any more, they are proud to be seen as savvy consumers. As a brand, you have to move with that. These changes are happening right across Europe, even in what are often perceived as traditional markets: in Germany, our discount channel business is growing at 19%, even faster than online. Unlike the US, which now has no toy specialist at the top of the toy market, you are beginning to see true channel segmentation evolving in Europe: specialists, hypermarkets, discount and online all present distinct opportunities, and it is important to understand that and equip our internal talent to be able to maximise on the opportunities within each channel.

What are your aspirations for this year? We want to get back to being the number one supplier in every market across Europe. The plan is well on track: we’re transforming our supply chain, leading in the ecommerce channel, growing the value channel and strengthening our relationships with our key customers. Things are turning round, and we want to continue that progress and help all of our customers to face their challenges – any problem of theirs is a problem of ours.

ZURU Rainbocorns are hatching even more surprises in 2019! With 13 new Sequin Surprise characters, a new range of miniature Sparkle Heart Surprise Rainbocorns and a BIG surprise hatching in fall, the layers of surprise are endless!

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Dolls & Girls' Collectibles

Hatchimals Colleggtibles Mermal Magic from Spin Master

Modish must-haves The girls’ category continues to expand apace, with new brands joining evergreen favourites in this increasingly competitive marketplace. With only so much in-store space to go around, Toy World takes a look at how companies are ensuring that their brands make it on to shelves.


any of us will automatically think of MGA Entertainment’s L.O.L. Surprise! when the girls’ toy category is mentioned. After all, L.O.L is the No. 1 property purchased for girls, according to latest NPD figures, contributing massively to the current success of the Dolls category (which holds a 36% share of all girls’ purchases). However, there are plenty of other interesting developments taking place within the girls’ market. Stewart Middleton, sales director at IMC Toys,

explains: “L.O.L has definitely taken sales from various girls’ ranges. However, IMC’s Magic Tears outperformed L.O.L in the Spanish market within selected weeks AW18 (NPD), showing there is huge potential for the Magic Tears brand and consumer demand for collectibles and dolls outside of L.O.L Surprise!” “The collectibles category is fiercely competitive with new brands and products launching all the time,” adds Ranjit Dhutti, senior brand manager, Spin Master UK, “Hatchimals Colleggtibles continues to be a huge success as each new season

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captures imaginations through innovative features, intricate details and new themes. We are very excited about what’s to come for the brand this year and continue to bring that innovation to lead in this category. There is always room for great products regardless of the competition, and we are seeing lots of innovation in this space. If retailers believe in a strong item, they will undoubtedly ensure this is part of their in-store offering.” Further strengthening Mattel’s girls’ portfolio are Polly Pocket and Enchantimals, both of which are experiencing strong levels of growth. The company

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Dolls & Girls' Collectibles recently announced the appointment of 10-yearold professional skateboarder Sky Brown as global brand ambassador for Polly Pocket. In the UK, Polly is currently No. 10 in the Dolls Super Category YTD, and No.7 in Playset Dolls, up three places since December. Mattel is also set to launch its new licensed doll line based on the Korean boyband sensation BTS. Now in her 60th year, Barbie continues to command respect in the girls’ space, reflected by double digit growth. This year, Mattel is launching its new Barbie Fashionistas; consumer reception to the new diversity in the line, which now better represents physical disabilities including wheelchair-users and amputees, has been very positive. “We’ve continued to evolve the face of the brand by becoming a modern reflection of kids and their families,” explains Kelly Philp, UK marketing lead, Mattel. “Barbie is currently the most diverse doll line on the market, allowing girls to tell more stories and find a doll that resonates with them.” Kelly adds: “Since 1959, Barbie’s purpose has been to inspire the limitless potential in every girl and that message is more relevant than ever today. She has always represented choices for girls and inspired them to be anything - from princess to president, astronaut to robotics engineer; there isn’t a plastic ceiling that Barbie hasn’t broken.” The large dolls category continues to benefit from innovation, technology and an increasing level of realism that provides kids with a complete role-play experience. While there has arguably been a shift away from baby-dolls, in favour of collectibles, they remain a favourite among children who enjoy the nurturing, parental play-pattern they provide. IMC Toys’ Cry Babies Kristal launches for autumn/winter. This ‘poorly’ doll, which kids can nurse better with TLC Yellies! by Hasbro and medicine, has been extremely well received by retailers; as a result, the company is anticipating strong sales for the Christmas period. Spin Master, whose best-selling Luvabella doll proved to be a standout Christmas hit when it launched in 2017, is also preparing to welcome a new product for autumn/winter which promises to bring something “completely new” to the Luvabella doll brand. “We can’t say much more at this stage, but we are very excited,” enthuses Ranjit. Lissi Dolls is also looking ahead to the festive season. The company, which has an impressive Hong Kong showroom, distributes its dolls and accessories globally via a network of dedicated salespeople. With margins of around 50% or more available to stockists, Lissi sits alongside gifting ranges in terms of what it offers in returns. Jonathan Nurse, global

head of sales, says: “I consider Lissi to be the BMW of the doll world, while some other well-known doll brands could be compared to Vauxhall. We offer lovely colour schemes and a high level of embroidery and detailing across our product range, plus strong margins too. Our big Baby Play-Set offers incredible value for money. Imagine coming downstairs on Christmas morning and finding a box that size under the tree, containing a doll, cot, pushchair, play-mat, bouncer, feeding utensils and a changing bag. When we developed that set, I predicted then and there that we could sell high volumes of it; we did, and still are.” Market leader in the large doll segment Zapf Creation has enjoyed a strong start to the year for its brands, with healthy sales figures expected to continue ahead of the Christmas period. According to the company, anticipation is building for multiple new products and brands launching this autumn with the launch of new brand Elli Smiles – which is

currently still very much under wraps - as well as developments within the Baby Annabell and Baby born brands. “Baby Annabell has been a standout performer within the large doll category in the UK for over two decades and shows no sign of slowing down,” says Kasia Leskow, marketing manager at MGA Entertainment. “Throughout, the brand has been at the forefront of product development within the dolls category and has seen vast expansion in the product offering over the years. We are therefore excited to be introducing innovation to our core Baby Annabell doll this autumn, to continue in our tradition of building on the imaginative and nurturing play abilities of the brand.” Zapf, along with other doll specialists, is also

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taking its popular brands into the collectibles category. Baby born Surprise launched in the US earlier this year, with the company now looking forward to seeing success within the UK. Zapf is driving demand for the brand with major marketing investment including TV, digital and social media, combined with strategic PR and influencer activity. “Baby born Surprise provides additional opportunities for imaginative play on top of unboxing and collecting,” comments Kasia. “Each doll will also include a collector’s guide and birth certificate with surprise games to help find the character’s name, birthday, star sign and favourite food for added play value. The brand also taps into a younger age category than a lot of the current leading collectable brands, being aimed at children aged three and above with age-appropriate interactive play possibilities. This enables us to reach children from a younger age who are keen to collect and unbox.” In the collectibles market, it is interesting to note that several contributors have spoken of the move (albeit a tentative one at this stage) towards semi-blind bags that partially reveal or hint at the toy inside. John Adams’ Foodie Roos collectible plush is one such example, contained within packaging that offers a glimpse of the cute creature inside. With the definition of what amount constitutes pocket money becoming increasingly contentious, such packaging is likely to prove a draw for some kids and their parents. After all, if a child has been saving hard for another collectible toy from their favourite series, are they going to be be delighted to discover they’ve spent hard-earned coins – or notes – on a toy they now own three or four times over? Of course, the anticipation of revealing what’s inside the bag has proved to be a huge driver behind the surprisecollectibles trend, so only time will tell whether this is a move that catches on. But what of the child that does own multiples of the same character? Swap days and other initiatives are at hand. As Toytown Seaford owner Ginette McGee explains in this month’s Talking Shop section on page 27, the installation of a swap display can prove fruitful for collector and retailer alike. The Toytown Seaford Swap Box contains figures from the collectible lines sold within the store, which kids can trade for their own. Not only does this go down well with kids and their parents, it brings footfall back into the store after a collectibles purchase has been made. “I recommend giving it a try if you have the space,” says Ginette. Over the next few pages, Toy World takes a look at the newest dolls and collectibles making their way into the girls’ market this year.

Dolls & Girls' Collectibles

IMC Toys 01904 720 908 | In 2018, IMC Toys successfully launched its Cry Babies Magic Tears line, comprising miniature versions of its best-selling doll brand, Cry Babies. These cute blind-bagged collectible babies cry real tears, and each has a magical story to tell. Animated content allows consumers to discover more about the babies and their different personalities. Season 1 has achieved over 250m views and gained more than 700k subscribers in just eight months. Season 2 kicked off in the UK in April; 26 x 5 minute episodes are planned to roll out across the rest of 2019. The content is also off to a strong start in Spain, while broadcast partners such as Nick Jr and Disney Jr. are on board in European markets. Â New products set to launch this year include the Pet House series, available from July. Kids can open the house to reveal cute Cry Babies Magic Tears pets, before feeding them with the bottle. Pressing the back of their head will make them cry real tears. A rare character and special golden accessories can be found in selected packs. IMC launched its new Fantasy Cry Babies dolls, Dreamy and Bruny, in February. Like all Cry Babies, they cry real tears when their dummy is taken away. Dreamy and Bruny also come with either a unicorn or dragon onesie with glittery detail. This July, IMC will launch its new premium addition to the Cry Babies doll collection, Kristal. Encouraging nursing role play, when kids give Kristal the right medicine and a cuddle, the doll will respond. If she gets a cough, kids can give her medicine to soothe her, and if she gets a fever dabbing her forehead with a wet cloth will cool her down. When red spots appear on her face, an injection will make them disappear. Six accessories are included; a dummy, a stethoscope, an injection, a cloth, cough syrup and a thermometer. In February, IMC introduced new characters to the Bloopies collection. The Bloopies Mermaids squirt water out of their mouths when their bellies are pressed and can blow bubbles when played with in a bubble bath. Submerging the mermaids in warm water causes the pattern on their tails to change colour. IMC has also announced the launch of a new Bloopies animated series coming later this year in July. The series will consist of 13 x 5 minute episodes and will introduce consumers to the world of the Bloopies divers and mermaids.

Tobar 01603 397105 | Each lollipop-shaped Zuru Oosh Cotton Candy Cuties container opens to reveal a generous handful of sweetsmelling putty that stretches into web-like strands. Buried in the middle of the putty is a cute and collectible squishy toy. Kids can collect a variety of characters, including a unicorn, kitty, cupcake, strawberry, orange and a pudding, before storing their collection in the lollipop. Competitively priced, and the focus of a major TV ad campaign supported by mass market PR, this is a highly collectible line. K-Blings is a new line designed to add bling to phone, laptop and headphone cables, or any other cable lying around the house. These collectible clip-on characters also strengthen the cables and allow owners to personalise their look. Kids can choose characters from properties including Harry Potter and Rick and Morty, or from a whole host of Emojis. The popularity of squidgies and slow release foam continues to bring success for Tobar. New Jellyballs made their debut appearance at London Toy Fair. Fruzoos are a mixture of the popular existing fruit line combined with animals. Other Jellyball designs include rainbows, dolphins and multi-coloured. Pocket money collectibles in themes including unicorns, flamingos, mermaids and llamacorns are also available in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Spin Master 01628 535 000 | Spin Master’s customisable fashion doll line Off the Hook offers enhanced doll play and dressup fun. There are six mannequin-style dolls to collect, each with their own outfits, accessories and hidden surprises. Children can dress and style the dolls from head to toe with mix & match fashions from three trendy collections; Spring Dance, Summer Vacay and Music Concert. Series 5 of Hatchimals Colleggtibles, Mermal Magic, includes new sea shell eggs, increased character detailing and a variety of water transformations. Hatchimals fans cans choose from the new 1-pack, 2-pack and 4-pack as well as the 6-pack Seashell carton. Play sets including Flower Shower and Water Slide boast real water features, while the Coral Castle Playset is an ideal place to house a collection. Fans wowed by the magical creatures in this new range will want to collect them all. Kids can interact with the new interactive and collectible Lollipets by showing them their favourite treat. They can speed them up, slow them down, or guide them with the included candy accessory, causing their pet to hug, chase, skip, scamper and explore. Lollipets come in a 1-pack and a 2-pack. The three new lines are supported through a strong mix of TV advertising, digital and social campaigns which fuel excitement and awareness around the brands. Autumn/winter will see Spin Master reveal significant new innovation for the Luvabella brand, while upcoming season launches of Hatchimals Colleggtibles will feature enchanting new themes and content to keep fans engaged in this popular evergreen brand.

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Dolls & Girls' Collectibles

MGA Entertainment 0845 0533 333 | MGA’s new Makeover Series has given a fresh fashion feel to L.O.L Surprise! this year. Several new products have joined the range, including the #Hairgoals dolls, Lils and Fuzzy Pets, plus the ultimate customisation craft station, the DIY Glitter Factory. After scooping Toy of the Year, Collectible of the Year and two Dream Toys awards in 2018, the brand continues to hold the top spot in this sector.  Poopsie Slime Surprise was Doll of the Year for 2018 and kicked off 2019 with even more slime surprises for kids to discover. New collectible arrivals include Cutie Tooties, Sparkly Critters and Poop Packs, while the original Poopsie Unicorn doll continues this year. Moj Moj has expanded its squishy range and introduced new collectibles to the series, including Ittys and Crunch. The new products launched with a digital campaign combining influencer outreach and global social platforms, as well as a multi-experiential event. This year sees several new scented collectible products join the Num Noms range, including Sparkle Smoothies, Party Hair Packs, Mystery Makeup Surprise and Smooshcakes Twins. These cute novelty collectibles combine surprise reveals and playful features, and they also smell delicious.

Golden Bear 01952 608 308 | Golden Bear, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary, is further expanding its two new girls ranges. Autumn/winter sees FunLockets Secret Treasure Hunt hit the shelves. The new line builds on the FunLockets Secret Jewellery Boxes USP, which lets kids use a series of keys contained in secret drawers to unlock surprises including collectible charms and jewellery. The secret jewellery boxes come in a choice of pink or purple, and contain 18 surprises plus either a bracelet or necklace to which the cute charms can be attached. FunLockets Secret Treasure Hunt expands on the fun; each drawer, door or trapdoor has a mystery to solve. When kids crack the code, they can then pull the gem to release the Golden Key. The aim is to open the Golden Padlock and to find the hidden jewellery so collectors can wear all their charms. Golden Bear’s new own IP, Pups in Surprise Cups, launched in January. Each of the six collectible characters comes with a colourful teacup that transforms into a bowl, bed and collar for the pup, and is accompanied by a sticker sheet, name tag and surprise accessory. As well as additional characters, the new hero line – the Teapot Playset - is set to launch in autumn/winter, supported by TV advertising. The teapot transforms into a fun-filled pamper parlour for the puppy plush contained within. The top sections form a pamper chair and mirror for a puppy make-over, while the pampered pooch can then be transported in its own puppy carrier. Accessories include ribbons, a brush, clip and a colourful sticker sheet for decoration. To support the existing lines, brand commercials for both ranges will air on channels including Milkshake, Cartoonito, Nick Junior, Tiny Pop, Disney Junior and Nick Junior Too.

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Bandai 020 8324 6160 | Further series of Smooshy Mushy, the squishy, scented surprise collectible brand, will launch throughout 2019, with Series 5 - Sugar Fix - having launched in time for the Easter period. Kids can also get their hands on new themes in autumn/winter, when the innovative Series 6, Mystery Munchies, hits shelves. The collectible Bananas range comprises silly characters hidden inside tropical fruit. The recent launch of Series 2 introduced Bananas in rainbow colours alongside new lemon and lime fruits and all-new characters to collect, including twins. Moving into autumn, Series 3 will include chocolatedipped bananas, more fruits (strawberries) and play sets. The range is supported with robust TV, digital and influencer campaigns, plus engaging social media content. The popular Rescue Runts brand has expanded with the introduction of Rescue Runts Babies, an assortment of 16 12.5cm plush creatures for kids to rescue, love and care for. In addition, the existing four Rescue Runts are joined by new puppies in autumn/winter. Designed to nurture a child’s love of animals, each Rescue Runt needs love and care before it transforms into a perfect pet. The Please No Fleas series launches in autumn with new dog breeds and even more accessories. Pomsies are loveable, fashionable, interactive plush pets kids can take anywhere, simply by wrapping the long fuzzy tail around a wrist, hair or backpack. Spring will see the introduction of new Pomsies such as a Koala, Unicorn and Puppy. New styles based on popular animal trends will follow for autumn, including a Narwhal. Pomsie Poos, mini plush versions of Pomsies, have launched for the spring/summer period. There are 12 styles to collect, each with a heart-shaped clasp. New Pomsie Poos are in the pipeline for autumn/winter, with new animal characters to collect. With season 3 about to hit screens, and seasons 4 and 5 in development, the popularity of Disney’s Miraculous shows no sign of waning. Bandai is introducing fully articulated 14cm Action Figures based on new characters from the show, as well as updated versions of existing product lines. These include a core Ladybug Fashion doll with soft hair, 26cm Fashion Dolls, 15cm plush characters, a Ladybug Role Play Accessory Set and Compact Caller.

Dolls & Girls' Collectibles

Lego 01753 495 000 | The Lego Friends brand has been popular across the globe since launching in 2012. The products and the subsequent hit TV series are based on five girls - Andrea, Emma, Mia, Olivia and Stephanie - who live in Heartlake City. Each character has particular interests and passions - Andrea loves singing and dancing, Emma is creative and arty, Mia likes to be outside and with animals, Olivia is tech savvy, and Stephanie loves sport and athletics. New this year, each of the Lego Friends characters now benefits from a collectible Heart Box that reflects their personality and likes. For example, musical Andrea’s Heart Box includes a microphone, guitar, headphones and a speaker, so kids can take her love of music and singing wherever they go. The removable lid can be used as a stage for the Heartlake City pop star too. Mia loves the great outdoors, so her Heart Box includes a pair of binoculars, a walkie-talkie and sunglasses for role-play fun. Each fun to build stackable box comes complete with a Lego Friends Minidoll, and doubles up as a storage space for special objects. Ideal travel sets, every element fits into the heartshaped case while the lid keeps all the pieces together. The Lego Friends Heart Boxes are available now. To complete the collection, fans can also purchase the Lego Friends Heart Box Friendship Pack.

Skyrocket Toys 01489 668441 | From the creator of the best-selling Pomsies comes Blume, a line of collectible dolls that mixes imaginative, over-the-top hairstyles with a never-before-seen blooming effect experience. Kids use the included watering can to add water to the ‘seeds’, wait a few seconds and then watch as their Blume doll starts to grow out of the flowering pot. As the doll’s unique hairstyle emerges, kids will be able to recognise which Blume character they have. The first collection of 22 dolls, which launches this summer, will include a mix of ‘adorable’, rare and super rare characters, plus one mystical doll to find. By capitalising on the surprise reveal trend, collectability and the appeal of blind packs, Blume delivers excitement and discovery to kids. The brand also offers an element of continued play with a DIY decorative pot, interchangeable hairstyles, mix & match outfits, handbags, cute mini friends and sticker books. By adding play value that extends beyond the unboxing and collecting, Skyrocket aims to ensure that kids and parents remain invested in the brand. Reaction to Blume at the London and New York Toy Fairs has been very positive. Also coming to market in July is Pomsies Lumies, the next generation of 2018’s No. 1 selling special feature plush. These interactive unicorn-like pets can turn any colour; simply placing Pomsies Lumies on an object will cause it to absorb that object’s colour and shine bright. Kids can use this colour-matching play pattern to nurture their pet - more colours means a happier Lumie. Kids can also coordinate their outfit to match their Lumies’ colour, or play games such as Memory and Whack-A-Mole. Pomsies Lumies will react differently depending on their mood and the colours kids find, with over 100 sounds and phrases to enjoy. For added fun, Music Mode sees the Lumies pull beats and melodies out of everyday objects through colour. There are three Pomsies Lumies characters to choose from - Sparkle Rush, Pixie Pop, and Dazzle GoGo - each with their own unique look and sound. For more information, please contact Amy Saunders, head of Skyrocket UK, on 07824 435512 or

Posh Paws 01268 567317 | The Posh Paws range of Disney Princess soft toys is ideally suited to kids looking to create their own collection of favourite princesses. The doll range offers excellent quality and beautiful styling to bring the magic of Disney to life, in a range of sizes including 8”, 10” and 20”. Recently named as the distributor of Nici in the UK and Ireland, Posh Paws has a new collection of collectible gifts and stationery items featuring the cute characters from the world of the popular brand. Included in the collection are MagNici 12cm plush characters with magnetised ends; these cute plush can be stuck to metal items around the house. Also part of the Posh Paws Nici offering is the Nici Doos range. The glitteryeyed, brightly coloured characters are available to collect as 9cm keyrings or 12cm and 16cm soft toys, all falling under a £10 price point. Joining the Posh Paws portfolio later this year, and perfect for collecting, will be a Love Hearts plush range. Adorned with on-trend messages such as ‘Be Unique’ and ‘Let’s Avo Cuddle’, just like the sweets that have inspired the collection, the cuddly characters offer the same high quality all Posh Paws products are renowned for.

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Dolls & Girls' Collectibles

Epoch making toys 08435 574 062 | Epoch making toys reports that Sylvanian Families has enjoyed a strong Q1, as the new CGI animation series, which was launched in November 2018, continues to gain new fans. Last year saw the anticipated launch of the Baby Band Series, which featured baby characters playing musical instruments. Epoch will release a Baby Shopping Series later in 2019, with neverbefore-seen babies to collect. This series also includes an unidentified special figure, making the characters highly sought after. Furthermore, the series will decrease in price; each pack now costs under £3. Targeting past, existing and future fans, the brand has released a series of new products which expand one of the core ranges - Nursery. The ready-to-play Nursery range, which launched in 2018 and has proven popular since, welcomes a new Baby Ferris Wheel and Baby Airplane Ride in July. Each set includes a Sylvanian baby figure, making them ideal first purchases as well as an attractive option for current fans. To bolster the comprehensive Sylvanian Families portfolio, four new families will launch throughout 2019, bringing the total of families in the range this year to 23. Children can create stories with the new Elephant Family, Polar Bear Family, Woolly Alpaca Family and the Splashy Otter Family.

Craze Toys (49) 721 38 13 47 |

Worlds Apart 0800 389 8591 | Worlds Apart and Moose Toys will be introducing the magical world of Kindi Kids next month, in tandem with a new girl’s doll product portfolio. The Kindi Kids official YouTube page will be launching with its kindergarten series from June, featuring storylines focused on friendship, discovery, humour and imagination, targeting girls aged 3-5 years. The four characters have unmistakable large glittery eyes, colourful hair and ‘wobbly bobbly’ heads. Widely available at major UK retailers from late July 2019, the four feature dolls - Marsha Mello, Jessicake, Donutina and Peppa-mint - all benefit from interactive accessories and removable fashion. The 2019 range will feature three new interactive Kindi Fun play sets in addition to the dolls, so girls and their Kindi Kids doll can role-play side-by-side. Play sets include a Shopping Cart that Kindi Kids can ride on, a Fridge with a working ice cube dispenser, and a working Supermarket complete with a cash register, conveyor belt, coins, a giant playmat and more. The marketing line-up will consist of a 360 campaign across the full range from July to December, including heavyweight TV, influencer and celebrity partnerships, digital advertising and retail activations that celebrate friendship and play. In September, Worlds Apart & Moose Toys will be launching the latest addition to the Scruff-aLuvs range; Scruff-a-Luvs Babies. Like all Scruff-a-Luvs, these little baby balls of fur are lost and need rescuing; however, a twist on the original water reveal play pattern sees these baby animals go from scruffy to fluffy by combing out their dry, matted fur. There are 21 characters to collect, made up of nine different species across a mix of popular, rare and ultra-rare characters. From baby kittens and puppies to lions and bears, these animals will surprise and delight children everywhere. Arriving in a re-usable pet carrier, the babies also come with a dummy, comb and a heart shaped clip so that children can carry them wherever they go. Nurture is a key part of the Scruff-a-Luvs brand, and this latest launch is no different. Scruff-aLuvs Babies brings a collectible element to this popular property which will be marketed as part of the wider 2019 Scruff-a-Luvs range, benefiting from a 360 marketing campaign that will roll throughout the year.

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Craze Magic Slimy can be pressed, pulled, squeezed or kneaded, and is available in several on-trend designs including Unicorn. 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. 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.

Marketing support: huge social media influencer campaign. Kids targeted PR and sampling.

14cm collectible llamas bursting with personality. From Bahama Llama to Drama Llama, each one comes dressed in a cute outfit and boasts one of four super silly features: winking, spitting, grinning, or sticking their tongue out.

For further details contact:

01344 638900

Who’s Your Llama? is a line of collectible llamas bursting with personality! These are the silliest llamas you’ll ever meet. Sure, they might spit at you or stick their tongue out, but they might also give you a wink or a toothy grin.

15cm Plush includes six adorable plush llamas to collect.

5cm Mini Collectible Series is a line of cute mini collectible llamas, offering many different colours and styles to choose from.

Dolls & Girls' Collectibles

Character Options 01616 339 800 | Character Options’ Boxy Girls Mini Dolls series is a pocket money option ideal for collectors. Each box contains one of six Mini Boxy Girls Dolls, plus three mini accessory boxes. The Boxy Girls Unbox Me blind box series offers 36 dolls to find; at a sub-£10 price point for a full-sized doll, this new series is set to be highly collectible. The Jumbo Crate will provide the ultimate Boxy Girls gift. Echoing the kits created for YouTube unboxers, the box comes laden with two exclusive Boxy Girls dolls and approximately 33 fashion surprises. The Ballerina Dreamer Dancing Ballerina is a beautiful 18” feature-packed doll that will appeal to aspiring ballerinas everywhere. When kids press down on her tiara she will pirouette, spin on both toes, and kick forwards and backwards. The doll can also shuffle her feet and do the splits. Pressing her tutu will play music for the doll to dance to, and the tutu lights up so kids can enjoy a dazzling performance. New for the hugely successful Little Live franchise is OMG. The OMG Pets range of collectible puppies combines unique silicone material and interactive technology for a realistic and cute aesthetic. With 15+ sounds and reactions, each pet needs to be fed and nurtured, and comes with its own bottle and birth certificate too. Wave 1 includes four popular breeds, such as Pierre the French Bulldog and Shep the German Shepherd. To add to the play experience, an OMG Pets Bestie Bag play set includes an exclusive puppy, plus a hammock, mat, bottle and bowl.

DKL Marketing 01604 678 780 | DKL Marketing offers a large range of girls’ collectibles including Breyer Model Horses. Breyer’s Classic range is designed to appeal to junior collectors with a variety of breeds, all complemented by a variety of accessories. Breyer also offers the entry level Stablemates range of horses, sets and accessories at a competitive price point; Mystery Horse Surprise lets kids collect eight different breeds. Breyer’s blind-bag portfolio welcomes Unicorn Surprise. Featuring seven different styles of the mythical equine to collect, the 24 assorted pieces come displayed in an attractive CDU. Mini Whinnies Surprises features 18 different horses to collect, including the special pink chase horse to drive repeat purchases. The Pocket Box range includes Pocket Box Cats, Dogs, Animals and Aquarium Sets, each containing two animals and stickers. There are 24 assorted sets in each themed collection, and every one comes with the animals neatly housed in their own mini home. Offering something for all interests, the packs are displayed in a themed box for an eye-catching countertop display. With each model being meticulously crafted by hand, Breyer traditional collectibles offer a high level of realism and attention to detail. Paired with a wide collection of barns, accessories and riders, the traditional collection - scaled at 1:9 - will bring the world of horses to life for customers. New to the range this year is the seainspired Cascade & Caspian Mare & Foal set; their manes and tails glitter in the light. DKL supports all its ranges with full marketing campaigns, including everything from bespoke planograms to extensive social media and PR activity.

Flair/Just Play 020 8643 0320 | New nurturing doll brand Bellies offers unique play value, combining interactivity, cuteness, humour, collectability and plenty of surprises. Hailing from Bellyville, the Bellies are looked after by nanny Beth. Each of the six cute characters in wave one has its own unique story and personality and is ready for a new home. Kids remove each Bellies’ plaster to hear their heartbeat and listen to them babble in their own language. When together, Bellies will interact with their Belly brothers and sisters. Kids can also discover their baby’s birthmark and check out the surprises left behind in their nappy, consulting the ‘Poopypedia’ to see what type of care the baby needs. Already Popular in South Europe, the Bellies will be available in the UK from July. The launch will be fully supported with TV and digital ad campaigns. Just Play’s Hairdorables brand recently introduced new Series 2 dolls. The girl squad with ‘Big Hair Don't Care’ attitude welcomes 26 new dolls to collect, with all-new styles and a new colour reveal accessory. Also new for spring is Hairdorables Pets. Each of the 24 pets comes with its own brush and accessories so that girls can style their hair, just as they would the dolls’. At New York Toy Fair, Just Play also unveiled new Hairdorables lines set to hit shelves this autumn. The next chapter for the brand will include Series 3 dolls, their little sisters, the Shortcuts, and the introduction of Dudes to the Hairdorables tribe.

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Dolls & Girls' Collectibles

Zuru 01604 401 719 | Following the successful launch of the Rainbocorns plush line last year, Zuru is focusing on strategies to expand the range. Rainbocorns Sparkle Heart Surprise combines layers of surprise with cute, cuddly plush and a shimmering heart that kids can peel to reveal a secret surprise. Contained within every egg is also a quantity of stretchy scented Rainbocorn Poop compound. Also new to the collectible range are the colour changing baby Boo-boocorn pencil toppers. Only available with the Sparkle Heart Rainbocorn, kids can dip their Boo-Boocorn in water to see the colour change before popping them onto pencils or trading them with friends. Zuru has also recently acquired Sparkle Girlz, the 10-year-old doll brand developed by Danuta Saville as Funville. With product development and marketing initiatives aimed at growing and elevating the brand in the pipeline, the doll range is set to be a strong addition to Zuru’s collectibles portfolio. The brand features an extensive product range including themed dolls such as fairies and princesses, hair styling unicorns, baby dolls, interactive play sets, castles and surprise collectibles.

Mookie Toys 01525 722 769 | Visitors to the Mookie stand at Toymaster can meet the #Snapstar squad from Yulu. Lola, Aspen, Dawn, Yuki, Echo and Izzy are part of a fresh new fashion doll brand that the company says will ‘define what's new and next for girls ages 5-11’. Thanks to the free #Snapstar Studio app, 'tweens can turn their doll into a social media star. Kids can take a photo of their doll and use the customising tools on the app to add make up, change the hairstyle and more. Photos can then be saved to a users' camera roll for sharing with friends and family, or posting to social media where friends can comment on the different looks. #Snapstar dolls are fully poseable thanks to their 15 points of articulation, providing an ability to style and play which helps bring their world to life. The included stand and green screen allow fans to pose their dolls and snap a photo against a background of their choice.

Jazwares 0203 598 5119 | Presented in an eye-catching take-away style box, every Lucky Fortune cookie includes a surprise bracelet with a charm and a paper fortune for good luck. Already a highly-anticipated launch, Jazwares, in partnership with WowWee, will support Lucky Fortune with a host of activity including TV advertising, instore events and activity, digital and YouTube campaigns, as well as creative PR campaigns, social media and press events. Lucky Fortune introduces a new and innovative play concept. Kids can crack their Lucky Fortune open to see what the future has in store for them. The pretty and highly collectible bracelets can be worn, traded and even gifted to a friend in need of good luck. The more they have, the luckier kids will feel. There are 100 different bracelets to collect, with four levels of rarity, as well as a coveted Ultra Lucky four-leaf clover dipped in real gold. Available from July, Lucky Fortune will retail at sub-£5 per cookie.

Tomy 01271 336 155 | Tomy’s innovative new girls’ collectible Ritzy Rollerz will be launching in July. Promising to bring something new to the girls’ collectible market, the range comprises cute and sparkly animal characters with individual personalities that will appeal to kids aged four and above. Each Ritzy Rollerz character comes with charms for customisation, plus hidden surprise charms to discover in the booty trunks. The individual characters have a sub-£5 pocket money price point, with 12 available at launch. The launch will benefit from character videos hosted on YouTube, in addition to a heavyweight TV campaign. Kids can expand their Ritzy Rollerz world with two mobile play sets - Donut Dani’s Sprinklez on Wheelz and Helena Heelz Heelz on Wheelz – while the unicorn themed, musical Dance ‘n’ Dazzle Spa play set offers multiple play features for serious Ritzy Rollerz collectors to enjoy.

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Dolls & Girls' Collectibles

Zapf Creation 0845 0533 333 |

Hasbro 0208 569 1234 |

Following strong sales in spring, autumn will see Zapf Creation introduce engaging innovation to the core Baby Annabell and Baby born brands. Updates to the Baby Annabell core doll, and a host of new product launches including the new Lunchtime and Feels Better ranges, will extend the opportunities for imaginative play. Baby born will see the launch of the Sister range of dolls. New dolls will be added to the existing portfolio of successful products, while creative additions will enhance the Bathtime, Boutique and trend-led fashion ranges. April saw the launch of Baby born Surprise, a range of 12 baby characters each with over 10 surprises to discover; a swaddle in designs ranging from a hot dog to a unicorn, wipeable colourreveal eyes, unique hairstyles, a bottle and a colour-changing nappy. More characters are set to be announced in autumn, as well as some bigger surprises. Autumn will also see another exciting brand launch for the dolls market in the shape of Elli Smiles. Set to be a best-seller, retailers are urged to keep an eye out for product information which will be revealed soon.

Hasbro’s Baby Alive Shimmer N’ Splash Mermaid doll allows kids to enjoy mermaid fun both in and out of the water. Pulling down on the skirt will transform the doll from a baby to a mermaid, complete with a shimmering tail. When out of the water, kids can care for their baby, by giving it the included bottle, and change its nappy when it gets wet. The dolls come with a removable top as well as a removable mermaid tail swimsuit. Baby Lil Sounds by Baby Alive is an interactive doll that makes real baby sounds when played with. The doll reacts when put to bed and when woken up and can be soothed using the included dummy. As well as making sucking noises when the dummy is in her mouth, Baby Lil Sounds will react when the dummy is taken away for a realistic role-play experience. A removable dress allows kids to dress the doll. The Cutie Mark Crew combines the worlds of My Little Pony and Equestria Girls. The My Little Pony Cutie Mark Crew Series 3 has a You’re Invited theme, bringing together characters for a royal wedding. Each blind bag includes a 1.5” figure, a partythemed accessory, collector’s card and a storage case. The more Cutie Mark Crew blind-bags a child collects, the more stories can be created. What’s more, 12 of the 24 figures have special finishes such as neon or glitter. Yellies! are squishy, glittery pets that respond to a person's voice. New for spring are the Yellies! Lizard and Yellies! Bunny characters. Each toy has its own look and personality, as well as fun surprises. Voice and sound-activated, Yellies! respond to talking, yelling, clapping, singing and music. The louder kids yell, the faster they go. 

Schleich 01279 870 000 | Tournament season welcomes new characters plus mares and stallions with highly detailed manes and tails, plus matching accessories, to ensure they will be best in show, while accessory sets will continue to be year-round favourites. Hannah’s Guest Horses, complete with Ruby the Dog, Hannah’s little sister Mia and her Shetland pony Spotty, add even more choice to the impressive line-up. With the popular horse lovers Hannah, Sofia, Lisa and Sarah, children can embark on new adventures starting in July. Each girl has an individual personality and a special relationship with her horse to enhance the creative and imaginative play potential Horse Club offers. Sofia and her Andalusian mare Blossom form a real dream team, while Hannah, a passionate Western rider, loves spending time in the stable with her Quarter Horse gelding Cayenne. Sarah loves to go on long rides with her Arabian mare Mystery, and finally, Lisa regularly wins showjumping tournaments with her Hanoverian gelding Storm. Horse Club will be supported with its first ever TV advertising in Q3/Q4 in the UK. Added to this is The Horse Club website ( which offers activities, games and the latest figures to view. New purple magic horses join the bayala range this year. The Moon Unicorn stallion and the Star Pegasus mare guard their cute Shooting Star foal with Argus eyes. All three figures are decorated with glitter elements and rhinestones to reflect their otherworldly origins.

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Red Roof Cosy Cottage

Connect for Even More Fun! Red Roof Country Home

ucts Available Across the Range! New Prod

Sweet Raspberry Home

Elegant Town Manor

Comfy Living Room Set

New! Sylvanian Families animation series available on:

Full TV, digital & PR support throughout the year!


Wide range of display & POS material available!

Contact us for more information on all our new products! 2nd Floor, Capital Court 30 Windsor Street, Uxbridge MIDDX, UB8 1AB

Tel: 0208 049 1363 Š EPOCH


Dolls & Girls' Collectibles

Siso Toys UK 01620 674 778 | Siso Toys UK tookover distribution and marketing of Masha & The Bear in January, and will support the range in 2019 with full 360 marketing support comprising heavyweight TV, YouTube, social media, digital and PR. The range consists of current best-selling doll lines; the 12cm doll is an ideal entry-level option for fans, while the 23cm soft body doll was among the top three most popular lines for the company last year. Other dolls in the range include the 40cm Masha doll in her winter outfit and the 36cm singing doll which sings the Masha theme. The second series of Wissper premiered on Milkshake in late 2018, and was among the top five pre-school shows in Q4. Siso Toys UK will be supporting the show with a basic 23cm Wissper doll, which comes complete with a figure of her best friend Peggy and various accessories. A 34cm feature doll with interactive capabilities is also available.

HTI 01253 778 888 | A core part of HTI’s product portfolio, the pram category has seen further investment and innovation over the last 12 months. New licence Joie brings innovation and fresh tooling, while HTI also continues to enjoy strong relationships with brands including Mamas & Papas, Chicco, Baby Annabell and Baby born. From the fastest growing nursery brand comes the Joie Pact, an accurate replica of the contemporary Joie nursery pram. Key features include a folding mechanism just like the real-life version, complete with shoulder strap. Suitable for children aged 3-8 years, the pram comes with a reclining seat and an underseat shopping basket for storing accessories and other items. The classic design and vintage style of the Baby Annabell Carriage Pram come complete with a sprung chassis, adjustable hood and removable apron. The matching pillow and bedding set features the Baby Annabell lamb and floral rose design. The chic Baby born Stroller benefits from a fresh pattern created in line with the brand’s 2019 colour scheme, featuring pastel shades. With sleek design, the stroller is easy to use and easy to store, and folds up for on-the-go play. Finally, own brand BabyBoo has also seen further development. Already performing well with a number of retailers, the range offers similar quality, functionality and design to the leading licensed offering, but at a lower price point. The Babyboo Carriage Pram comes in pale pink with large slim wheels and a sprung chassis, while its vintage style is rounded off with an adjustable canopy. The traditional dolls pram is ideal for multi-functional role-play.

Learning Resources 01553 819 380 | Playfoam topped the sales charts for Learning Resources last year and has had an impressive start to 2019. Building on this success, the Playfoam Pals range has expanded with three exciting new series, Pet Party, Snowy Friends and Fantasy Friends. Playfoam never dries out and is mess free, meaning the opportunities for creative play are endless. The non-stick formula means it can be used over and over again, and it can be taken anywhere for creative fun on the go. Produced in a number of colours, Playfoam is available in eye catching hanging blister packs of four and eight pods, and a counter display pack containing 64 pods. Playfoam Sparkle and Playfoam Glow-in-the-Dark are also available. Playfoam Pals combines creativity with collectibles; each series includes 12 Pals to collect, plus a rare Pal. There are four Series of Playfoam Pals; Series 1 Wild Friends, Series 2 Pet Party which combines two colours of Playfoam, Series 3 Snowy Friends – shaped in the style of a snow globe and the recently launched series 4 which contains three tone sparkle Playfoam. Each Playfoam Pal has a pop-apart body and head for mixing and matching with other pals. Once children have discovered their Playfoam Pal, they can use the Playfoam to build perches, nests, beds and more and record the find on the included collectible card. Playfoam Pals are supplied in 2-pack, 6-pack or a CDU display of 12 pods. This Autumn, Learning Resources is adding to the range with series 5: Monster Party. There are 12 spooky pals to discover inside Glow-in-theDark Playfoam, including a rare Alien Cat. The Playfoam range is supported by a targeted marketing campaign including digital and social media, bloggers, YouTube advertising and instore marketing.

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Dolls & Girls' Collectibles

Magic Box Toys 01403 251 286 | MojiPops Series 1 is made up of everyday objects brought to life as unique, fun-loving characters with an array of colourful emotions based on popular emoticons. From an ice cream to a cactus, and a television to a pillow, each blind-bagged character has a removable double-sided face; kids can flip it over to switch between emoticon-based expressions depicting a huge variety of sentiments, or even swap faces completely with another character in the collection. Children can also switch their character’s mood from sleepy to happy, sad to cool, as there are six different-coloured face pieces, each with two distinct emotions to alternate between. The series features 90 different characters to collect from the worlds of pets, home, nature, travel, music, food and sport, including six ultra-rare Glitter Moji Pops. These new characters, and the accompanying accessories and toy range, offer hours of role-playing potential for young Moji Pops collectors. A range of different SKUs is available, including; 12 boxed Story sets complete with two Moji Pops and a mini stage for them to act out a scene; six Photo Pop blister packs, each containing four Moji Pops, photobooth-style accessories, display stand and a mini photobooth frame to capture poses; Blister Glitter Surprise, a blister 8-pack which comes packed with six Moji Pops plus two surprise ultra-rare Glitter Moji Pops; and four different ‘I Like…’ play sets. I Like Ice Cream, I Like Pets, I Like Party and I Like Movies each contain two themed Moji Pops, various pieces of scenery and the accessories required to bring the them to life.

John Adams 01480 414 361 | Foodie Roos are mini plush collectibles that look, feel and smell like the snacks they’ve eaten; kids can squeeze their tummies to feel the surprise. The soft-feel fabric features photo-realistic prints of each Foodie Roos’ favourite foods. Unlike some other collectibles, Foodie Roos have a unique ‘Peek a Roo’ reveal that offers collectors a glimpse of which character is inside the packaging. This makes finding and collecting the desired character a simpler, and arguably more enjoyable experience. There are 20 characters to collect, including Kernel Kitty, Cookie Cub, Bouncy Bear and many more. Foodie Roos will benefit from a major launch in the US and will be supported in the UK with TV, VOD and digital advertising as well as full PR, social media and influencer plans. The brand will also benefit from YouTube webisodes which will bring the characters to life online.

TER ADD WA HO EE & S Ws? blume

act iv int er ts ! e pe



s bow Chasing R ain ! ats & Mixin’ Be I I Touch!

Creators of the #1 Feature Plush Toy POMSIES!

Dolls & Girls' Collectibles

Basic Fun 01189 253 270 |

Wilton Bradley 01626 835 400 | Created to encourage imaginative roll-play fun, the Snuggles range of dolls and accessories lets little ones learn how to look after others. As well as a range of cute outfits to choose from, each doll has a fully poseable body. Ranging from classic to fully interactive dolls, the range offers a host of features that take role-play realism to the next level. From life-like sneezes and coughs to light-up red cheeks, the Snuggles dolls let kids build a story around their doll as they pretend to care for their poorly child or take them out for a day trip with all the family. The Sara doll comes with a dummy that fits in her mouth so children can comfort her when she's unwell. The included stethoscope can be used to listen to her heartbeat, while pretend medicines and a medical card are ideal for children who love playing at being a doctor or nurse. The Snuggles range also offers a raft of accessories to choose from, including a doll swing, travel cot, buggy and walker. Each comes in a vibrant floral print, a hallmark of Snuggles.

Cutetitos has enjoyed a strong launch in the UK. Series One, Two and Three all include 12 different Cutetitos to collect, all with rarity Hot Spots and added rarity features including extra fur, patterns and sparkly fabrics. Series 2 and Series 3 introduce new creatures to the collection, including Unicorns. A side range of Babitos is launching soon; each Babito will come packaged in a Taco, and will reveal a Babito boy or girl, wearing a removable nappy and embroidered with the range’s signature Hot Spot. The Little Lucky Lunchbox range comprises of tins which contain two Foodie Friends, each holding a secret reveal inside. There are 50 Foodie Friends to collect. Series One includes Foodie classics such as hot dogs, pie and juice; and Series Two will launch over the coming months and include International Foods. Other bigger packs will be available later in the year. Celebrating its 35th anniversary, the original My Little Pony range includes classics such as Cotton Candy and Butterscotch; and Collector Ponies including Unicorns and Pegasus. Basic Fun is also bringing to life one of the brand’s original biggest selling products, the Pretty Parlour playset. The range will appeal to parents who played with My Little Pony in the 1980s and now want to share those memories with their own children.

Lissi Dolls and Toys 07703 648444 | Lissi dolls and accessories, which have been developed over six generations, offer doll lovers a comprehensive range of options with eye-catching outfits, created by an in-house fabrics designer, and appealing faces. Lissi offers products that embody the traditional qualities of a best-selling doll line with the realism and high-quality finish that appeals both to kids and doll collectors. A number of interactive dolls with sound features are available. Baby Beatrice has seven different functions, such as burping after she takes a drink and laughing when her tummy is pressed. Pressing her hands or feet will also cause her to say words such as ‘mama’ or ‘hello’. Amazing Alexa includes the same seven functions, but giving her the dummy or bottle will also cause her face to move. Doll sets, complete with accessories, enhance the play potential; dressed in a pink outfit and hat, Angelina also comes with a dress, bib, booties, feeding utensils and a handy bag. Lissi also offers a comprehensive range of separate accessories for an engaging and realistic role-play experience. Pushchairs, prams and strollers in a range of colourways are available, along with travel cots, bouncers, swing-chairs and highchairs. Lissi’s entire range is EN71 and ICTI certified. A global company, Lissi’s permanent showroom is located in Hong Kong, where Carsten Martin, owner of the company, is based. Carsten develops new concepts whilst also controlling factory audits to keep Lissi in an elevated position in the competitive girls’ marketplace. The company has sales reps in France, Mexico and the USA, under the supervision of Jonathan Nurse, global head of sales. For more information please call Jonathan on the number above, or email

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Dolls & Girls' Collectibles

Little Tikes 0845 0533 333 | Little Tikes is set to introduce Springlings Surprise in July, a range of plush toys combining surprise play with collectability. Each Springling pops out of its special home, ready to play time and time again. No batteries are required to pop the creature out; kids simply press the button and watch as the furry animal springs into the air. There are 12 plush pets to collect, including a Narwhal, Hedgehog and Unicorn, among others.

Funrise 01908 555 640 |

Grossman 01416 132 525 |

Funrise has created the master toy line for the latest Paramount animated film, Wonder Park. In keeping with the fairground theme, the Wonder Chimp Surprise Packs contain a Wonder Chimp together with its own Roller Coaster Cart, which kids can bring to life with the Wonder Chimp Wind Up assortment. The Wonder Chimp Clip-On plush assortment offers eight individual chimps; each of the scented characters is ideal for adorning a backpack or satchel. Finally, kids can enjoy the pocket-money Small Character Plush range, which includes all the main characters from the movie.

Grossman’s Mermaid Grow Eggs give kids the chance to grow their own mermaid, in a pocket money range that includes three of the mythical creatures to collect. As with the company’s popular Unicorn Grow Eggs, simply submersing the eggs in water starts the hatching process. Unicorn lovers can also enjoy a wide range of themed products from Unicorn Poo to pogo sticks. Fizz Pods, which dissolve to reveal new characters to collect and swap, have been a pocket money success story for Grossman. Squidgies and slow release foam collectibles also continue to perform well; the company offers a full range for kids to collect, including unicorn-themed.

Vivid 01483 449944 | Muddy Buddies are abandoned pets that need to be rescued and loved. Once rescued, kids can wash them in warm water to reveal the beautiful pet hidden beneath the ‘muddy’ layer. Each Muddy Buddies pet comes with its own brush, play accessory and collector file. There are 12 to collect in Series 1, with a second series following later in the year. Squeezamals 3Deez is the newest edition to Vivid’s successful Squeezamals line; these scented, soft and squishy toys are available in four cute animal characters. Splishies is a soft range of creatures with squishy insides. Shaking and squishing them causes the glitter and charms to swirl inside their bellies. Two size options Splishies and the larger Super Splishies – means there is plenty of choice for young collectors.

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Mattel 01628 500 000 |

Dolls & Girls' Collectibles

In autumn/winter, the Barbie brand is introducing its most diverse and inclusive Barbie Fashionistas range to date. Among the new offerings will be dolls which reflect physical disabilities, including a doll in a wheelchair and a doll with a removable prosthetic limb. New body types for Barbie include a figure with a smaller bust, a less defined waist and more defined arms, while diversity has been further enhanced with added skin tones, eye colours, hair colours and textures, including braided hair. Also new this autumn is the Barbie Dreamplane with 15 accessories, the Barbie Dreamcamper - which transforms from a camping RV to a glamping scene – and the Barbie Dreamtopia Princess Doll and Unicorn. Following its re-launch in 2018, the Polly Pocket range continues to grow, and kids can now explore the world of Pollyville with play sets and vehicles. New for autumn/winter is the Pollyville Mega Mall, the Pollyville Stores Assortment including Peanut’s Pit Stop and Arcade, and the Pollyville Vehicles Assortment. The Polly Pocket World Compacts line expands with new additions Schoolbook and Birthday Cake, while there are now 12 Tiny Pocket Places to collect. The animal-themed Enchantimals doll brand introduces a new Junglewood theme for autumn/winter. The Enchantimals Junglewood Café is a 2ft tall play set which will offer fans endless and enchanting play potential. The Enchantimals Core Dolls line welcomes Tamike Tree Frog, Fanci Flamingo and Larissa Lemur to the range, while the Enchantimals Dolls and Large animal assortment introduces Hedda Hippo and Tadley Tiger. Mattel unveiled the BTS Core Fashion Dolls Assortment in spring. The Korean boy band BTS is a worldwide phenomenon with sold out tour dates at Wembley Stadium and over 14m followers across social media. The dolls’ stylish outfits are inspired by the group’s Idol music video; Mattel states that these fashion dolls are unlike any others currently on the market. Fisher-Price’s new Sunny Day toy range, inspired by the Nickelodeon TV series, encourages children to express their style. The range includes the 6” Dolls and 11” Brush and Bracelet Dolls, the innovative Little Wonderbun Assortment with surprise reveals, and Sunny's Hair Dryer Kit for role-play fun. The Genie and Zahracorn figures remain a key focus for Shimmer & Shine, while Teenie Genies welcomes the Ring Surprise Assortment and Leah's Teenie Genie Vanity Playset with 6” doll.


Kids Russia

From Russia with love

Toy World Publisher John Baulch reports from the Kids Russia show in Moscow


eyond the established global toy trade shows, many localised events continue to survive and thrive; the advantage of domestic trade fairs is that they are laserfocused on a particular territory, so they offer exhibitors and visitors a specific opportunity to get to grips with an individual market in a cost- and time- effective way. This year I was given the opportunity to attend one such show – Kids Russia. The show has been going for 13 years, attracting several hundred exhibitors and in the region of 10,000 visitors each year. The venture is jointly owned by the Russian-based show organiser and the team behind the Spielwarenmesse, as part of its programme to extend its specialist toy credentials by establishing events across the globe. Kids Russia, which is held at the Crocus Expo centre on the outskirts of Moscow, is a multifaceted event, combining toy, nursery, gift, party and licensing companies, the latter through the concurrently held Licensing World Russia event. It is certainly one of the more idiosyncratic shows I have ever attended; one stall was selling dried deer and bear meat, while another featured a very realisticlooking wooden machine gun – not the sort of things you would encounter at most international toy fairs. Indeed, Russia is anomalous in numerous ways. It is a vast territory, but the bulk of its population is concentrated in specific geographical areas of the country; huge swathes of Russia are incredibly sparsely-populated. There are 12 major cities: of these, Moscow is by far and away the largest, the most heavily-populated – and the richest. Described by most of the people I met as “a country within a country”, Moscow-based stores can represent as much as 40% of the turnover of many Russian companies. There is evidence of distinct regional

idiosyncrasies and demand, but above all, it’s important not to presume that all of Russia is like Moscow – as I am told many Americans do! The simple truth is that much of the country’s wealth is concentrated in Moscow, with a large percentage of the country’s population relatively impecunious in comparison. While store-checking at Detsky Mir, Hamleys and Early Learning Centre branches, our interpreter took us through the pricing architecture;

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while prices seemed quite reasonable to western visitors, once you factor in the amount which average Russian earns, that perception suddenly dissipates. Indeed, many of the shelf tickets featured significant price markdowns, evidence that a lack of disposable income is an issue, even in prosperous Moscow. In terms of the show itself, I was told that the current level of attendance doesn’t quite match the numbers of the show’s earlier years, mainly due to the challenges currently being faced by the Russian economy. Apparently, until 2014, the show had been growing healthily each year - that all changed five years ago. A combination of steep inflation and wage stagnation, a result of “the oil money drying up” according to some, saw a fundamental shift in the Russian economy, which in turn had a significant impact on the Russian toy market. I spoke to an established Russian toy distributor, Marina Ouchakova from Yandex, who admitted that while the Russian toy market is relatively stable, it has struggled for growth in recent years. She also told me that the market is changing fast, with sales moving online “unexpectedly rapidly.” It is clear that the pace at which online sales is increasing has had a huge impact on Russian toy companies and distributors, with several admitting that they have had to drastically adapt their business models to reflect changing consumer habits. The advantages to the Russian consumer of spending online are the same as they are across the globe: prices are generally lower, there is far greater convenience and – as Marina admitted – “kids are living on the internet”. Her expectation is that consumers will continue to migrate online, providing a huge challenge to bricks and mortar retailers moving forward. I also spoke with the team behind Toy.Ru, the

largest Russian toy chain, with almost 200 retail stores and a major online presence. Despite the challenging economic conditions, the company grew its sales by over 30% last year, and has ambitious plans to grow its store estate to around 450 outlets in the future. Toy.Ru’s product selection focuses on quality branded and licensed product: according to CEO Lydia Tsarenko: “The middle class want real brands, not cheap unbranded items – there will always be a demand for high quality products in Russia. A number of distributors have fallen by the wayside over the past five years, especially those who concentrated on unbranded goods from the Far East. There have been challenges with the economy, but successful companies can overcome them. We have opened six warehouses across Russia to help grow our sales.” In addition to its strong bricks and mortar presence, the company also runs a successful online business: Toy. Ru was arguably the pioneer of online toy sales in Russia, winning the award for the Best Internet Store of the Year for the past two years (in addition to the Best Children’s Chain Store of the Year). It also launched a new venture last year: a series of stores which cater to the 0-10 market, stocking a wide variety of merchandise – everything from nursery products to sunglasses, bags and purses – much of it character licensed. Completing the circle, the company also runs a licensing agency – Saks Licensing – which represents L.O.L. Surprise! and Num Noms for the Russian market. The team behind the company is clearly well-connected, having been working in the Russian kids’ market for over 20 years, and its omni-channel strategy appears to be paying dividends. Several of the other main Russian online retailers are not toy specialists, but operations which sell a wide range of consumer goods – Ozon and Wildberries were identified as key players. In addition, smaller sellers have been able to offer more focused, premium-quality ranges, outsource their logistics operations and establish a viable online business. However, fierce competition online has seen prices reduce, and while suppliers are convinced that the race to the bottom cannot continue indefinitely, they are grappling with how to balance the numbers in this new world. The marketplace concept is becoming so popular that established operators such as Ozon and Wildberries are transitioning to that approach. The interesting thing about this trend is the logistics challenge presented by Russia: as previously mentioned, this is a vast country, but huge areas are extremely sparsely populated and regional stores are often basic. So, it makes sense that as someone in the Urals doesn’t have access to the kind of toy stores that a Moscow consumer has on their doorstep, they would be tempted to order goods online. But how can

an e-tailer send a £20 toy to a customer 1000 miles away and not make a huge loss on it? Apparently, the big e-tail operations are rushing to build massive regional distribution centres on the scale of their Moscow facilities, but still one wonders how the sheer size of Russia, the variable transport infrastructure (there is a huge lack of roads and airports in many areas) and the unequal population density lends itself to profitable ecommerce operations. Investment in logistics will need to be huge in order to keep up with increasing demand. That said, the government has pledged to invest heavily in regional transport infrastructure, which - assuming it delivers on its promise - will only help to fuel the growth of internet sales. We should also not ignore the Russian grey market; even in bricks and mortar retailers, as much as 60% of sales in more remote areas of Russia has been estimated to be grey market product. By all accounts, the high quality control standards found in Moscow stores are often sorely lacking in other areas of the country. Whether it is the growth of online retail or the proliferation of counterfeit products, many of the challenges faced by toy suppliers and retailers are the same the world over. However, Russia remains a highly individual market in many respects. In its toy preferences, it is far closer to Europe than the USA. The people and their lifestyles are different; they like to hold on to their traditions – the images

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that adorn children’s books in Detsky Mir are more likely to be pre-Soviet era classic fairy tale illustrations than the latest Western TV or movie properties. Rather like Germany, they appreciate classic toys that have value and educational benefits; US toys are described dismissively as “toys for a day.” The market is not as sensitive to TV and licensed characters as the UK or the US; apart from Masha and The Bear – which has translated well into the international market – I didn’t recognise a single character in the traditional show character costume parade. The time it takes to get product to market is longer; there is no mass retail infrastructure, no Russian equivalent of Walmart or Target. A lot of product is sold through a web of distributors and subdistributors, adding to both the complexity and the cost. However, as I walked through the stores, the roll call of international toy brands is almost complete, so there must still be a viable route to market for the global toy giants. Barbie, L.O.L. Surprise!, Nerf, Lego, Hasbro Games, Treasure X, Bruder, Shopkins, Hatchimals, Schleich, Enchantimals, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Aquabeads, Crayola, Fisher Price, Cry Babies, Baby Born, Playmobil, Geomag, Brio, Ty, JCB, Little Live Pets and many more were all present and correct. Moscow is certainly a fascinating place – a grand city where traces of historical grandeur and decadence rub shoulders with Soviet era austerity. And listening to my tour guide get nostalgic when we walked round an exhibition of old toys at Detsky Mir, it is clear that a love of toys and affection for what we all do in our day job is no different to anywhere else I have visited. English is not spoken everywhere, but I sense that the younger generation views it as an important step to integrating with the rest of the world, so I expect to see it becoming more widespread in years to come. Before I travelled, I had read and heard stories that parts of Moscow are not safe, but I encountered no sign of trouble and felt that Moscow was no different to any large city – if you stick to the right areas, you will be fine. The people were friendlier than many had led me to believe – only the ‘authority figures’ such as airport security guards lived up to the surly, humourless Russian stereotype. Everyone else I met was friendly and welcoming. And the after-show parties are truly unique: strong man competitions (how long can you hold a keg of beer in one hand at arm’s length) have yet to make an appearance at any of the events I’ve attended in Hong Kong, London, Nuremberg or New York. Neither have any of the other international show organisers serenaded guests by singing along with an accordionist - it’s all part of Moscow’s special charm and certainly one for other toy show organisers to ponder.

Viewpoint All around the world

Ruth Clement Ruth is co-director of Full Steam Consulting Group and Insights Director of Consumer Fluent. She is a Consultant for Kidz Global and combines the best in Kidz Global’s syndicated data with Consumer Fluent’s own custom research in to connecting brands with kids and families. Ruth will be presenting at the Global Insights Conference on 16th May, on “Engaging kids, marketing to parents”.


’ll be honest. Given the advanced state of online shopping in the UK, which took root and flourished faster and earlier than any other market, I always thought that, like their parents’ shopping habits, UK kids would be the heaviest users of online digital in media, in Europe and perhaps even globally. That is, until I read Kidz Global’s latest issue of The Kid Consumer Report. It’s sobering to see UK kids’ consumer behaviour in context, benchmarked against multiple countries, time-zones, hemispheres and continents. Such insights could help us to predict future trends, based on a deeper understanding of the factors driving those differences in behaviour. Factors such as climate; daylight hours; culture; attitudes to individual liberty, responsibility, productivity or competitiveness; or the origins and roll out of global brands. So, let’s take a brief look closer to home, benchmarking the UK with two other European nations. If we map all the countries which Kidz Global surveys in its trend reports (there are 50 of them) there are two axes along which we could define these three markets, and the rest of the world, one described as “liberal, leisure oriented” and the other “controlled and functional”. In the liberal, leisureoriented group sit the USA, UK and Sweden, amongst other countries. Sweden has the highest household penetration of YouTube and Netflix, and lower viewing of all other channels, including Disney or Cartoon Network. It has the highest usage of tablets (and also very high ownership of the Apple brand) and TV-based video games consoles, but crucially, the highest personal ownership amongst kids of mobile devices -

take anywhere, watch anything equipment. More kids in Sweden, than in any other European country, use a device in their bedroom, away from shared family space, spend more hours using digital devices, watch more content and use more apps. More Swedish kids have social media accounts, particularly emerging brands. Their parents apply the lowest levels of parental controls, both in terms of time and content restrictions. The UK is more closely aligned to Sweden, in its digital and media usage, than most other European countries. Whilst it has a globally average level of household penetration of digital devices, like Sweden, kids’ personal ownership of mobile devices – phones and tablets – is higher, meaning more use in bedrooms, away from family space. Unlike Sweden, social media use - in time spent, the number of accounts used and app downloads - gives way to higher video game use in the UK, and, also unlike Sweden, kids in the UK are more likely to play video games online with other people they know rather than with strangers. In the controlled and functional group sit, amongst others, Germany, Poland and Brazil. Poland has high household penetration of laptops and mobiles, the working tools of parents, and kids aged 3-14 in Poland are more likely to borrow these items than to own them, so tend to use them in social spaces in the home, rather than in their bedrooms. Their social media use is above average, but, possibly because they share a device with a parent, social media use revolves around the more family-parent adopted Facebook and Messenger. Parents play a much greater role in influencing the social media

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which kids in this market use. Taking a step back and benchmarking the UK’s performance on a global scale, its digital and media performance indicators are decidedly average, for kids aged 3-14. China, Brazil and the USA all have divergent trends which help place it here. The degree of personal ownership amongst kids, their opportunity to determine a device’s use alone, shapes the degree of access and control they have to use different media and the higher that personal ownership is reflects a more relaxed attitude to kids’ media access overall. I’ve already mentioned that UK kids have an above average propensity to play video games, specifically TV based consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation. This brings with it the need for a different approach to advertising and engaging UK kids in their digital space. Kids are least likely to multi-task on other digital devices or media, whilst playing a video game, so engagement with your brand message can only really happen within the game they’re playing. Not all brands can bring to market apps or video games with which to reach their target consumer. Rest assured that the majority of hours spent by our core toy consumers, 3-8 years old, is still, regardless of the wider world of media, in watching content - cartoons, shows, comedies, movies. The main multi-tasking activity, whilst watching TV, for this age group, is not the distraction of another digital device, but eating food. The power of VOD means that kids can and will skip TV advertising. The trick is in knowing how to keep them tuned in to view your ad at the moment when kids become aware that the ad break has begun.

Place your order today tel: 01603 397 105 email:

A World of Fun!

Viewpoint Reasons to be cheerful

Vance Withers Vance is an experienced company director, now running The 496 Partnership. He has previously worked at Worlds Apart, as a comme rcial consultant and in the FMCG industry.


ith everything that is going on at the moment, it can be quite a challenge to stay focused and positive. The toy industry is traditionally very upbeat and optimistic, but we’re constantly being bombarded by negative news stories, and it’s easy to see why people might be feeling more cautious than their normal positive outlook. Yes, it’s tough out there but not everyone is having a bad time. You only have to look at retailers such as Smyths and The Entertainer and the phenomenal success of the L.O.L. Surprise! brand. Unless we allow ourselves to appreciate all the good things that are happening, 2019 is going to seem like a long year. My challenge to you is to find the time to step back from your busy schedules and think about the positive things happening within your businesses. It’s easy to miss the good things when negative things are constantly in the limelight, but within every business, there will be positivity to focus on. I’m sure you can identify products that have shipped early or sales that have outstripped expectations. People are seeing market shares growing, and digital

What’s going on?

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.


he honest answer is… we don’t really know. We are now in the weirdest Brexit phase yet. Having missed deadline one, on the 29th March, we’ve just missed deadline two on 12th April. So, we are definitely out on, or before, 31st October. Are you sure? Totally! 100%! Leave Means Leave! But we are going to have a deal. Perfect! Nothing for us all to worry about then, we can all relax. We can stop ‘no deal’ planning and carry on. But I’ve invested millions in stockpiling toys…oh well never mind. What about the 3,000 word report I did for shareholders and the banks about our contingency for a no deal scenario? Binned. I’m sure this conversation has been happening right across the toy industry, but let’s focus on the positives. By kicking the can down the road to 31st October, we should have most of our Christmas stock landed. And if most of our Christmas stock lands before Brexit, we’ve just gained the best 2019 contingency plan we could have hoped for. The government

campaigns are reaching more people than ever. It’s not all doom and gloom. Of course, it makes good commercial sense to control costs and to make contingencies, but there’s a danger that if you’re constantly planning for a negative outcome, negatives things will actually happen. Positive thinking doesn’t mean simply ignoring all the bad stuff that’s going on, but recognising the need to focus attention in areas where you can actually make a difference. It’s important not to become distracted or obsessed with things over which you have no control. I always try to think about things in three ways: • What I control • What I can influence • What I can do nothing about Once you realise that there is no point stressing about things that you can’t do anything about, it will enable you to put more energy behind the areas where you can make a difference. For example, the demise of Toys R Us was of course devastating for the staff who lost their jobs and sad for the market in general that lost an established icon. However, some

& the EU have just de-risked Christmas 2019. The buyers must be delighted, and the orders will now be forthcoming. The exchange rate will return to $1.50 and the whole toy industry will get a significant, profitable shot in the arm. Ok I may be getting a little giddy, but the toy industry is always best when it’s a little bit giddy… Everyone has their own awesome item that is going to make their year, and I was reminded of this at a distributor preview in London recently. As many of you will be aware, Kids@Play has some Harry Potter licensed products within our range, and an item that has been in development was presented. Furthermore, our partner gave me two samples. I was on the train and paranoid someone would get a sneak peek, but they made it home safely. My children have seen and heard it all before, but when a 13 year-old says “that’s actually quite good,” you know you are on to a winner. Who to target selling it to? How many in a container? What duty rates? Such details saw me frantically

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have recognised that although the number of ‘doors’ has decreased, the number of parents and children has remained the same and the opportunities to sell products have not diminished. It was a case of having to review strategies and trade partnerships in order to capture the opportunities within the new channels that are quickly developing – specialists, value, discounters and digital. Research tells us that viewing things more positively has a positive impact on our own wellbeing. You only have to look at some of the independents to see how true that is. Also, your own positive outlook will affect everyone around you. People feed off each other’s energy and in uncertain times, it’s important to project a positive outlook – you to your team, your team to each other, your team to your customers etc. We all have a certain amount of energy that we can use to focus on the world around us. It’s important to maintain a sense of balance. Don’t waste your energy on the wrong things and in the wrong areas. Positive outcomes come from positive thinking. There really are ‘reasons to be cheerful’ - ask Isaac Larian!

tapping on a calculator, a video conference quickly organised with the sales team and a product demo completed. Sell sheet, we need a sell sheet! Can we show it yet? Have we got licensor approval to show? When is it landing? How many to buy? How many samples can we get in the hands of the press? Can I take it to the AIS show? Can I take it to Toymaster? The buzz and excitement remind us all: this is why we do it. We work in one of the fastest changing, single product influencing, rapid paced environment of any industry you care to mention. Any one of the suppliers can have toy of the year and any one of us could disappear tomorrow, only to be replaced by another company. It’s challenging, with the highest of highs and sometimes the lowest of lows, but Christmas comes every year. As Christmas 2019 operationally now appears to be pre-Brexit, we need to factor it in to our Spring Summer 2020 quotes. I can’t wait for those conversations to start and, I’m sure, neither can you.


DKL Marketing

Long term values

With seven quality brands in its distribution portfolio, DKL Marketing celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. David Allan, sales & marketing director, spoke to Toy World about how things have changed in the past three decades, and what the future holds for the company.

It’s no mean feat for a toy company to celebrate its 30th anniversary – what do you think are the main factors that have helped DKL Marketing to reach this milestone? We’ve always distributed trusted, high-quality brands, and we work closely with our customers to offer strong in-store support. DKL has always responded to emerging trends and changing market conditions, bringing in products that consumers want to buy and that retailers want to sell. We started a TV advertising campaign for Hama in 2018 which worked very well, and with Plus-Plus really coming into its own this year we’ve decided to do the same for this brand. Marketing is one of our core strengths; we’re investing in TV, social media across all platforms, print, in short everything (within budget) to ensure that our brands are asked for. Retailers are facing a challenging time, so we want to help drive consumers into stores.

consumers increasingly conscious of price, perceived value is crucial. The previous generation would buy a toy that would last for years, but this has shifted in favour of a toy that may last only a year or so. Our marketing aims to show consumers that a long-term toy offers tangible benefits over one with a short lifespan, and it’s my belief that these toys will win out long-term. Retail has also changed - you can’t just throw a product on the shelf and hope for the best anymore. DKL offers in-store competitions, promotions and social media initiatives, while new stores benefit from special promotions and POS solutions. We also undertake training to help retailers with demos, which we have found are particularly important for brands like Hama and Plus-Plus.

How has the toy market changed over the past 30 years?

What are the biggest challenges for a toy distributor in the current retail climate? A lot of retailers are going own-brand - once they see a product doing well, they’ll try and make it themselves. That is a major challenge for us and is why our advertising it so key. We need to be driving consumers into stores in search of our brands. Price perception is also a challenge, as reflected by the success of retailers like B&M and The Range. We look at our ranges every year to ensure that the value consumers want is present across all our brands. A £10 product now has to offer a lot, and for that money consumers also expect a big box. Balancing pricing and box size against environmental factors is an ongoing battle.

What does the future hold for DKL?

Compared to 10 years ago, when the focus was on getting kids to play together or with their parents, parents are now looking for entertaining toys that kids will enjoy, but will also allow parents

Kai Hawaleschka with his celebratory champagne, presented at Toy Fair

to enjoy precious time to themselves. The market is also being impacted by electronic toys and games. With

Trolls. Kai used to tell me stories of retailers queuing up at his Toy Fair stand, calling him at all hours to ask for more stock because they kept selling out – this is surely a key moment in the company’s history. My own stand-out moments would be the Breyer and Carrolle display that we installed in Harrods many years ago, and seeing our first ever TV campaign air. This was when we felt we’d truly become a major UK toy distributor.

We’ve seen a tremendous increase in Plus-Plus sales. It’s a great pick up line, and kids and parents alike love that it’s themed. Hama has completely changed its packaging, which has really modernised this traditional brand. Breyer has allowed us to access the gifting and equestrian markets, while Play Mais lets us enter new retailers such as Hobbycraft. As time goes by, you’ve got to look at markets other than toys to grow your business, and you also have to react to the increase of online and mail-order consumerism.

What have been the stand-out moments from the past three decades? When Kai Hawaleschka (managing director) and his wife Dorte launched DKL they started out with

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We’re ready for more growth. To prepare for the changes brought about by Brexit we’ve moved to a third-party warehouse which allows more flexible shipping. We’re also looking at different ranges, which I’ve been viewing on my travels; there’s a big difference now between mass-market and independent ranges. We have to grow, but we have to grow carefully, and to continue being a distributor that people trust we have to manage our ranges well. Our TV and other marketing campaigns are already contributing to our growth as a company; long may this continue.

Do you have anything planned to mark the anniversary? We’ll be giving away special products across several of our ranges at upcoming shows including Toymaster, and we had a celebration at Toy Fair where we presented Kai and Dorte with special champagne flutes and a bottle of bubbly. While it’s nothing too high profile, we’ll be reinforcing that we are a key toy distributor in the UK, and that we have the experience, and quality brands, to support all types of retailers.

For UK sales contact:

Tel: 023 9387 6600


Toymaster Preview

Make a date in Harrogate With the 2019 Toymaster show just around the corner, Toy World caught up with Toymaster’s Paul Reader, product manager, and Brian McLaughlin, retail manager, about what’s in store for attendees and exhibitors this year.

Brian McLaughlin

PR: There are over 100 exhibitors this year and around 15 of them were not at last years show, so there will be plenty of new products for visitors to see. Canal Toys is attending for the first time, as is Kids@Play and Siso Toys UK, whilst Rubies is returning after a few years away. The show presents an unrivalled opportunity for companies to get in front of our Members. Very few Toymaster Members go to previews as they cannot justify time away from their businesses; our show, however, brings all the major suppliers together under one roof, making it an easily justified few days away from the ‘office’. It also affords Members quality time with suppliers, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. All the stands are open; some independents have told us that they struggle to get on closed stands at other trade shows. The Toymaster May show, for some, may be the only place our Members can enjoy face-to-face meetings with all the leading toy suppliers each year, which is a refreshing change from phone or email business dealings.

What kind of offers will be up for grabs? Paul Reader

How are preparations going for the May show? BM: The planning for the 2019 event began straight after last year’s show ended, so we are well prepared. All available space sold out within a couple of weeks when we opened for stand applications in January, and most of our Members are already registered, so we’re expecting it to be a busy few days. It all comes together in the final few weeks, so there is plenty to keep us busy from now until the doors open.

Are there any new exhibitors that attendees can look forward to seeing this year?

BM: Most of the suppliers attending the show offer great deals on top of their standard terms and conditions. Extra discounts, as well as product specials and close-out opportunities, are available to Toymaster Members. In addition to these offers, many new and exciting lines will be on show for the first time, while working samples and finished packaging not on show in London will be taking pride of place on suppliers’ stands. The Toymaster show is about encouraging people to buy for autumn/winter, so the incentive is there to make purchases and commitments promptly, as opposed to window shopping. With some deals offered on a first-come, first-served basis, turning up promptly on the first day is recommended.

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We understand that The Majestic has undergone some renovation works – what does this mean for the show and for visitors? PR: The hotel is undergoing a major renovation, and the changes so far make it look much better. All the public areas are now completed, along with most of the bedrooms, so visitors will see a big difference. There will be a number of changes to room names and the layout – the Ballroom and North/South Lounges are now a Restaurant and Bar, so there will be an additional marquee outside instead. The show guide will be updated to reflect the changes that have been made. Despite the renovation works, The Majestic still retains the charm and character that attendees have come to know and love.

Who can attend the show? BM: Our May show in is open to all brick & mortar independent toy retailers, regardless of whether they are Toymaster Members, and it’s where many of them do the main bulk of their business. All the key suppliers exhibit, and most offer deals and promotions specifically at the show which all attending indies can benefit from. Our main aim at the show will be to catch up with our existing Members; to find out how they are, how they’re trading and how things are in general. We also want to meet non-members so we can understand their reasons for attending and whether they could benefit from membership of Toymaster. We are happy to arrange meetings with anyone who wants to discuss membership, or alternatively they can just come and speak to us informally at the show. The whole Toymaster team will be available so there will always be someone to help answer any queries. Any independents wishing to attend can still register




Toymaster Preview

at, and anyone wishing to discuss membership benefits and opportunities can contact me at brian.mclaughlin@

Will there be opportunities for networking and socialising outside of the show opening times? BM: All visitors are welcome to attend Toymaster’s evening entertainment on the Tuesday and Wednesday - just let us know when you register on the website. These events are a great opportunity to unwind and catch up with old friends, and to make new ones. The Tuesday evening will be an informal get-together which will allow people to discuss their day while they enjoy a three-course meal and music. As its our 30th anniversary, there will be a loose theme based on the year 1989, but, unlike in previous years, it won’t be a fancy-dress event - this is primarily an opportunity for simple fun and networking. The Wednesday evening event is a more formal affair, requiring elegant dress. Guests can enjoy food, music, dancing, and an award presentation in glamorous surroundings.

It’s Toymaster’s 30th Anniversary this year; are you doing anything in particular to celebrate this milestone? BM: We are proud that after 30 years we are still supporting the independent toy trade and continuing to grow and evolve. We can only achieve this with the support of our Members and suppliers, and will take the opportunity to hand out a few special recognition awards on the Wednesday evening.

What are your thoughts on what 2019 has to offer in the toy space now the show-season is almost over? PR: Coming out of 2018, we were expecting to see less product, given the demise of Toys R Us and

the many changes to the toy retail landscape. However, this was far from the case. There are plenty of new lines and just as many collectibles as there were last year, including more that are targeting boys. During tough and challenging times, we often advise a return to the basics; Toymaster offers retailers a huge opportunity to promote key destination brands like Lego, Playmobil, Schleich, Ravensburger, Galt, Ty and a number of others. Despite a tough start, with a lack of any standout craze line like we saw with spinners, we believe there are plenty of great value products to capture the imagination. As for new ranges, we particularly like Robozuna from Bandai, Boxy Girls from Character, FunLockets from Golden Bear, Hidden Side from Lego, Kingdom Builders from Little Tikes, #Snapstar Dolls from Mookie, Mission to Mars from Playmobil, Candy Locks from Spin Master, Ritzy Rollerz from Tomy, Ryan’s World from Vivid and ZoomiZooz from VTech. There are also some strong new products such as the Movin’ Lips Mr Potato Head from Hasbro, Who’s your Llama? from Jakks, and Bank Attack from John Adams. We are also looking forward to the Toy Story 4 and Frozen II movies this year - there are some great licensed products available for both of these long-awaited franchise instalments. The May Toymaster show is the perfect venue to see all these new and exciting products along with much, much more - we all know Santa’s coming, so it pays to be prepared.

How are Toymaster Members faring at the moment, given uncertainty both politically and on the high street?

The Toymaster May Show 2019 21st - 23rd May The Majestic Hotel, Ripon Road, Harrogate, HG1 2HU

PR: It’s no secret that its been a tough start to the year; we haven’t had a pocket money craze to match that of previous years and Easter was very late. When you combine this with Brexit uncertainty, then you can perhaps understand why customers have been holding back a bit. However, our Members are resilient and have been focusing on what sells best for them, while keeping the strongest products and ranges in stock. We look forward to welcoming old friends and new faces and hope everyone has a fun and productive show. the Toymaster team will be on hand throughout if anyone has any queries. See you there!


Contact: Brian McLaughlin

Phone: 01604 674477 Toy World 70

Retail Profile

Toy Barnhaus

Toy Barnhaus -

independent spirits Ten years ago, having been made redundant from Woolworths, Stephen Barnes and Mark Buschaus launched Toy Barnhaus and today operate eight successful stores. As they celebrate the company’s 10th anniversary, Toy World editor Rachael Simpson Jones spoke to Stephen and Mark about the growth of their retail empire. They surprisingly didn’t mention food once.


e celebrated our 10th anniversary on the 28th March, marking a decade since we opened the doors of our first shop. We were both made redundant from our positions at Woolworths in January 2009 during the credit crunch. Woolworths was the No. 2 toy retailer in the country at the time, so when it went under, a gap in the market opened in our area. Toys seemed by far the best category to go for, so we started looking around for a unit. We knew how to run a shop but had no idea how to set one up, so we had to learn as we went along; it was a huge learning curve. Crawley was our local area and so we knew it well, and we also knew the shopping

centre manager from our years at Woolworths. He showed us around a few units, but the rents were horrifying. Luckily there were deals to be done, and after a bit of negotiating with a local landlord, we managed to secure flexible terms over the first year for a price we found acceptable. This minimised the risk to us in those early days while getting us into a unit with the lights on and ready to go. It was a better deal than we ever thought we’d get, but not many people were opening shops at that time and haggling was possible. One of our friends, a guy called Rob Baker who had worked for Woolworths as a manager for 30odd years, had decided he was going to move into

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DIY shop fitting. It was certainly news to us that he could do DIY, but he offered to fit out our shop for us and became an absolute godsend. Other friends mucked in with painting and merchandising too, which really helped pull things together. We took on a couple of ex-Woolworth’s staff from the previous Crawley store, a Saturday lady and a weekday person. Fixtures came next; we managed to get into an empty Woolworths and cleared it out, which gave us fixtures galore – more than we needed. We sold everything left over to help fund some of our start-up costs and take the edge off our initial outlay. The only thing left to pay for after that was stock, and as a new opening during

Retail Profile

Toy Barnhaus four of its former staff members, including our store manager, Mike O’Conner, and our assistant manager, Mia Glenn. Knowing what we personally had gone through some years before, it felt wonderful to be able to provide stable employment for people in the same boat. They’ve been great and seem to be thoroughly enjoying working for Toy Barnhaus – including the speed with which we can pick up stock.

the credit crunch we couldn’t get much credit. Our parents supported us with a loan to bring in the stock we needed for opening, and, let me tell you, until you actually open a shop you don’t realise how much stock you need to fill it! We had 900 sq. feet and although it was full, it was pretty stretched because we couldn’t afford anything more. When we opened, the local press got involved; the paper and local radio station. Because the Woolworths angle made it a good news story, BBC Southeast covered it too. We made the most of all the publicity we could get, and our first day couldn’t have been better. We put a book by the till, and invited customers to write down what they wanted us to stock if we didn’t already have it. One the first day one we were asked for diabolos. We’d never sold these at Woolworths, but quickly found a wholesaler who got a shipment to us within 10 days and since then we’ve sold thousands. During the first few months we were fortunate enough to be getting by on redundancy money, so we didn’t need to draw salaries from the business. This allowed us to plough everything we took straight back into Toy Barnhaus, building our ranges and attending trade fairs to secure new suppliers. Over three or four months we increased our stock holding by some 50%, which naturally had a positive effect on profits. Around two months after we opened there was a sudden spell of very hot weather, and – being small and nimble – we managed to secure plenty of paddling pools which sold out very quickly. At Woolworths, you’d never be able to get enough stock whenever there was a craze or other unforeseen event, so it was so refreshing to experience buying from the point of view of an independent retailer. Working in store, we’d been so used to having no control whatsoever over stock levels, so being able to order as much as we liked, and therefore being able to supply near enough every consumer who came in, improved our reputation even further. We were the last store locally to run out of pools. When you look after a business for someone else, your hands are tied behind your back half the time; as an indie, you’re free to make your own decisions. Fidget spinners are another example of this. The first shipment we had in sold out within days. We then took in another 1,000, which sold out again, and for four or five weeks we just couldn’t restock fast enough. I remember placing an order on a Friday, but the supplier couldn’t get them out till the Monday. No problem - we took our van to the warehouse that night, picked up the stock, had it on-shelf by Saturday morning and had sold out by Monday. Going that extra mile kept the customers happy and helped us make the most of that craze while it burned as fiercely as it did. Our first Christmas at Crawley went much better than we expected. Building stock levels without credit was a challenge, but the bank provided an overdraft which really helped us through. After Christmas we went to Redhill to view a unit with a view to opening a second location. This came to fruition around a year after we opened our Crawley

We don’t have any immediate plans to expand our store portfolio, though even when we say we’re not looking, we always are! It’s a case of waiting for the right unit to come along. Being Toymaster members, you do need to liaise with the group to ensure it works for all involved, and that you aren’t stepping on the toes of any other Toymaster member. If we got too much bigger we would need to bring in a full-time warehouse person and a couple of full-time drivers, which adds up. At the moment we can get around all our shops within a day, and we like it that way. Having started out with second hand fittings, we have now got mostly new shelves and units in our stores, which has smartened things up. Last year we started adding promotional end-caps, with slatted sides or clip-strips. Getting panels designed to strap onto the gondolas has made a huge difference in-store, and they look great. We’ve now got space to hang stuff; pick-up lines, batteries, water guns, just little things - whatever you put on them sells. By doing this, we’ve added around seven or eight bays to our shops without taking up any extra space, and all stores will have these by next year. We are always looking at what we can do better. Yes, we’ve been successful so far, but if we rest on our laurels we’ll be going backwards before you know it.

store. We bought an ex-Woolworths assistant manager on board as store manager, and Stephen’s sister was appointed assistant manager; a couple of other Woolworths staff joined us too. By this point, around three-quarters of our staff were exWoolworths. One of our managers owned a shop in Epsom, but had decided it wasn’t really for him, so in 2010 we took that over too. It was at this time we joined Toymaster. With three stores under our belt, we needed the security and payment terms, as well as the catalogue. The following year, 2011, we upsized both our Crawley and Epsom units to double the space of each, and we managed to secure Lego as a supplier, which helped our business enormously. In 2012 we opened in Croydon and Worthing, and in 2013 we opened in Sutton and Horsham. We then opened in Staines last year, bringing our total stores to eight. Alongside the new openings, Redhill and Worthing have also been upsized, as we’ve worked out that around 2-2,500 sq. feet shops are perfect for us. You pay quite a lot to be in a shopping centre, so we need to balance costs against location. Our Staines location opened in a shopping centre that had formerly housed a Toys R Us unit, and we ultimately ended up employing

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We always attend Toymaster; it’s our favourite show of the year. Toy Fair is an excellent viewing show, but for us it’s Toymaster where the orders are made. It’s the right time of year, all our major suppliers are there, you’ve got the catalogue listings, and there tend to be good deals available. You can also gain a good sense of which ranges are selling and what will be good Christmas lines. The Majestic is a great location, and it’s hugely convenient to attend a show at the same place where you can sleep, eat and drink. Toymaster’s FOB show was busy this year too, and it was a great time to pick up with suppliers we hadn’t seen since Toy Fair. There are so many new products, with major new lines from Lego, Hasbro and MGA coming through this year, so it was well worth attending. The retail scene has been somewhat challenging so far this year, but you can’t always be up every year, year after year. At the end of the day, we sell toys and we like to be positive. With Toy Story 4, Frozen II and Star Wars still to come, we think the rest of 2019 will be great.

Come and visit us at:

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Interplay 01628 488 944 | The new Fairy Kitchen Garden is the first fairy home with pea shoots kids can grow, harvest and eat. Featuring a beautiful fairy, complete with a cottage and picket fence, the windowsill set takes children on the journey of food from seed to delicious home-grown greens. For autumn/winter, Interplay is introducing the Fairy Nature Garden. Designed to supports children’s learning about nature, the fairy plant pot house comes with two fairies, a frog, a butterfly, two ladybirds, a bug house, a water butt and a wind spinner. In addition, My Fairy Garden welcomes the Dragons’ Tower Garden set. Featuring a magical castle, home to a mother and baby dragon as well as a fairy, the set allows kids to grow pea shoots and mustard seeds in three different growing areas. With its advanced temporary face tattoo technology, Face Paintoos transforms face painting into a fun and easy activity for children and parents. With Face Paintoos, it is simple to achieve perfect, long- lasting results every time; enjoyable and quick, everyone can apply and remove the face tattoos with ease. The range is launching with four different sets; the Wild Pack, Pet Pack and Pretty Pack will all be available at under £10, while a bigger Party Pack is available for under £20. The range will be launched with an extensive PR and social media programme, as well as digital marketing campaigns, which will promote its play values and benefits to parents and carers. Interplay’s new games portfolio will also launch from summer. Hero titles include Orangutwang, Relative Insanity, Take ‘N’ Play and the award-winning 5 Second Rule, which is available as the main board game, a Junior version and a mini game. The range will benefit from a strong commercial focus and marketing investment which is set to make games a significant addition to the Interplay UK business. Fuzzikins is a rapidly growing brand. With over 100% range increase in 2018 alone, Interplay has new launches with new animals for 2019, introducing everyday low price point items and higherpriced play set items that will offer a play experience for all occasions. Fuzzi Babies will launch for spring/summer. A collectible range of little Fuzzi baby animals with a bed, a cuddly teddy and three pens for decorating, Fuzzi Babies will be available at a pocket-money price point. A Fuzzi Street range featuring cardboard shops with cute animal characters and accessories will also launch, which kids can customise with the included pens and stickers, while the bigger Fuzzi School Pop-up Playset comes complete with six Fuzzi babies and a wise owl teacher. Both will launch in July. The new Fuzzikins launches will be supported with digital marketing, TV, PR and social media activity, plus a press event, to build awareness throughout the year. With the launch of the new FabLab Tie Dye Luxury Kit with seven fashionable colours, FabLab continues to offer on- trend creative kits. The FabLab Tie Dye Luxury set lets kids experiment with creating their own fashion masterpieces in the form of clothing, hats, bags and shoes. Interplay is supporting its new launches with engaging marketing campaigns including TV, digital, PR and social media activity, plus much more.






HTI 01253 778 888 | HTI’s preparations for Toymaster are focused on its new launch Micro Motorz. Part of the Teamsterz brand, Micro Motorz series 1 has been designed to appeal to car collectors and junior car enthusiasts. Featuring six different surprises, each pack comes in a foil exterior that can be unwrapped to reveal three chambers and a sticker depicting which one of the four teams the vehicle belongs to - Speed Demonz, Nitro Chargerz, Hot Rodz or Monster Treadz. Each of the 21 vehicles in the collection is unique, with customised graphics and interchangeable tuning accessories. Micro Motorz has been supported with a heavyweight marketing campaign which included a large-scale PR launch at Westfield with the TV and YouTube personality Yianni Charalambous. Alongside this has been TV advertising, digital advertising and, most recently, a video with the YouTube channel CKN Toys, which went out to over 12m subscribers and has already clocked up over 4m views. The company states that Micro Motorz has already received ‘rave reviews’ from buyers, media and customers, and it is therefore looking forward to showcasing the range at Toymaster. As marketing momentum picks up for the brand, the show presents an ideal opportunity for retailers to get on-board.

Grossman 01416 132 525 | Grossman’s range of slime and putty has doubled in size. London Toy Fair saw the launch of Dog Poo, which has been joined by Mermaid Poo, Dinosaur Poo, Flamingo Poo, Shark Poo and Sloth poo. The company has also launched Squeeze Beaded Poo, which oozes through the squeezer’s fingers. A huge variety of squeeze and pop-back squidgies will be on show, as part of a general increase in the number of pocket money toys included in Grossman’s range this year. Over 150 new lines have been added, offering cost effective, child-led purchases with plenty of play value. An extensive range of outdoor toys, including the return of the Nebulus scooter, will also be on display, while the company will be revealing great deals at the show for attendees to take advantage of.

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Asmodee 01420 593 593 | Asmodee UK is on a high after the confirmation that Dobble was the UK’s No.1-selling game of 2018 by value. As well as discovering more about the company’s range of products and the many additional avenues of support that it can offer retailers, visitors to the Toymaster May show can also view the next big release in the Dobble line. Harry Potter Dobble, which is set for a summer release, will be given pride of place at the show. The licensed version features stylised imagery of Harry, Hermione, Ron and everything from magical creatures to Hogwarts house symbols. The original Dobble is still considered a must-have, especially as part of Asmodee’s wider Fun Fast Games range. This collection of bite-sized Asmodee titles is ideal for in-store demonstration, an approach which the company has found consistently translates into sales. The Fun Fast Games range also includes Cobra Paw, a game of ninja-like reflexes in which players must react quickly by grabbing tiles with the colour symbols indicated by a pair of custom dice. Cobra Paw is joined by the global hit word game Bananagrams, the inclusive and creative fun of Rory’s Story Cubes, the laugh-out-loud memory game Who Did It? and a new addition in the creative trivia title, Dice Academy. To highlight their status as top games for Toymaster stores, Dobble, Harry Potter Dobble and Cobra Paw are all included in the Toymaster catalogue. Retailers will also be able to find out more about the variety of POS materials which Asmodee can provide to support these key titles.

Juratoys 020 8878 2133 | Juratoys, the UK distributor for Janod, is looking forward to showcasing its new arts & crafts collection for kids aged 3-7 at Toymaster this year, which has received positive feedback since the range was launched earlier this year. Janod has collaborated with publisher Hachette to create the new range, which comprises products such as Stampinoo, a collection of cute and crafty stamps, as well as envelope and giftbox style offerings. The company has some great offers to share at Toymaster across this year’s hand-picked Juratoys collection, so visitors are urged to pay the stand a visit.

Golden Bear 01952 608 308 | Leading Golden Bear’s new introductions at the Toymaster Show is the Bing toy line. Aimed at pre-schoolers aged 18 months to four years, the range of super-soft Bing plush features speech, lights and sounds across an array of sizes, as well as a figurine gift set perfectly sized for little hands. Golden Bear has seen great success with its soft toy Waffle the Wonder Dog. Named a London Toy Fair Hero Toy, the licensed range has now been further extended with the new Everybody’s Best Friend Waffle. This feature plush includes movement, songs and phrases. Paint-Station is a leading kids’ paint range which utilises unique anti-gravity technology, so even when it’s upside down it doesn’t drip or spill. Compact and stackable, the paint pods are easy to transport so kids can paint mess-free, anytime and anywhere. This year welcomes the Princess Unicorn Paint Set, which comes with everything kids need to get creative. A strong new line up of Hey Duggee toys includes Musical Duggee. Duggee’s ears flap and move in time with upbeat music and songs from the show, to entertain and delight both little ones and their parents. For added fun there are flashing lights under Duggee’s iconic badges. Dress Up Duggee is a new play set with 14 different accessories ranging from a cowboy hat to the iconic Stick. Kids can use their imaginations as they mix & match the parts to create different looks for Duggee. Also available are Hey Duggee clipon soft toys in a choice of two designs. Golden Bear is extending the In the Night Garden range for autumn/ winter with the introduction of a new Fun Phone featuring the theme tune from the show. Kids can press the chunky buttons to activate sounds and phrases, and enjoy chatting along with their favourite characters. There is also a Bath-time Set which includes 30 foam shapes that can attach to tiles and float in the water. Other existing key lines being showcased at Toymaster include Press and Go Igglepiggle, Press and Go Upsy Daisy, Igglepiggle’s Bath-time Boat and Sleepy-time Igglepiggle.

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Exclusive to Wilton Bradley


01626 835400


Green Elephant Trading 0870 803 2116 | Green Elephant Trading recently became the UK and Ireland distributor for the Pixie Crew range of pixel art bags, stationery and toys. Pixie Crew is ideal for children aged 5-13 years and is designed to help develop fine motor skills and creativity while remaining fun to use. Each product comes with a silicone panel and starter pack of coloured pixels. Kids can simply push or twist the pixels onto the silicone panel; they’ll stay in place thanks to the Pixie-Lock system. The range includes backpacks, handbags, journals, pencil cases, key rings and much more, all packed in stylish, premium packaging. The journals have removable covers which can be reused with any A5 size notebook, increasing value for money. Green Elephant will be offering retailers a oneoff launch pack which includes a demo station and free products. Summer will see the release of Crazy Aaron’s Ultimate Putty Challenge, a fun and fast-paced collection of competitive, creative and skill-based games. Players aim to triumph in individual rounds to win the game and be named the Ultimate Putty Champion. The box includes four exclusive Thinking Putty colours, game cards, a timer and everything needed to play 25 original games. Each year Crazy Aaron’s releases festive Thinking Putty in seasonal and holiday colours. Available for a limited time only, these special editions come with varying effects and add-ons and are highly collectible. Fans can celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission this summer with Lunar Landing Thinking Putty. Inspired by the landmark event, it gleams with a holographic silver sheen and contains real moon rock. Green Elephant is also looking forward to showing the Constructive Eating range, which recently welcomed the new Dino line. Constructive Eating helps kids stay engaged at the table. Patented features on each plate work with the utensils to make scooping up food easy and fun. Made in the USA, Constructive Eating tableware is safe and compliant with all relevant legislation. The utensils and plates are dishwasher safe and the plates are also microwave safe. Durable and easy to clean placemats feature shaded images of the utensils, providing an opportunity for children to get ready for meals by setting their own place at the table. Bucket displays which hold 27 individual utensils are available; these help create striking in-store features and have proved very popular with retailers. Finally, Tokidoki fans can enjoy the newest additions to the Tokidoki family. Cactus Bunnies and Mini Sushi Cars will both be available from this month.

Wilton Bradley 01626 835 400 | A range of best-selling electric ride-ons available exclusively from Wilton Bradley will be on show at Toymaster, including the new McLaren P1, Audi TT and the BMW Police Bike. These eye-catching replica ride-ons are considered a must-see while at the show. As spring begins, Wilton Bradley will also be showcasing an array of outdoor toys from its Xootz, Garden Games and Bestway brands. A regular supplier to Toymaster, Bestway is looking to further strengthen its position in the inflatable market with a host of innovative product releases scheduled to hit shelves throughout this year. The Academy of Music and Power Play brands will also be presenting some key products; the 54 Keyboard and the 27” Air Hockey table offer great yearround gift ideas and are ideal for the Q4 season. As part of the event, Wilton Bradley will be offering an exclusive 10% discount off all show orders with anytime delivery. All visitors to the stand will also receive a goodie-bag, while the first 25 to order will get a free Mi-Mic. Wilton Bradley will also be hosting a raffle; all attendees that place an order during the show will be automatically entered into the draw. First prize is a Mercedes electric ride-on, second is a Range Rover electric ride-on and third is a Xootz Large Wheeled Scooter.

The Puppet Company 01462 446 040 | This year, The Puppet Company is adding new characters to its popular line of glove puppets, Animal Puppet Buddies. Arriving early this summer will be a Unicorn, T-Rex, Sloth and two Dragons, one red and the other green. The puppets are made from soft fabrics with close attention to detail. Like the rest of the collection, these puppets retail at approximately a 50% margin. The comprehensive Animal Puppet Buddies range features wild and domestic animals, plus woodland and farm creatures; there are over 30 to collect. All comfortably fit the hands of both adults and children. Suitable for kids aged 12 months and above, they are an ideal starter puppet for any budding puppet enthusiast. The Puppet Company has also welcomed the new Story Tellers collection to its portfolio. Options include a Prince, Princess, King, Queen and Fairy, plus two Superhero characters which will allow imaginative young minds to fly.

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Come and see us at the Toymaster Show

University Games UK Ltd 3 Bakery Court, Beaconsfield HP9 2FN Tel: 0333 405 0120

Paul Lamond Games Ltd., 31 Newington Green, Islington, London N16 9PU Tel: 020 7254 0100


Winning Moves 0207 298 9507 | Winning Moves Harry Potter Witches and Wizards Top Trumps pack is the ultimate battle between good and evil, as 30 beloved characters from the hugely successful movie franchise go head to head in this new and engaging game. Players can test their characters on stats such as Fear Factor, Family Tree and their First Year at Hogwarts. Pikmi Pops collectors can find out how rare Pips the Chick is compared to Fuwa the Fox with Pikmi Pops Top Trumps. Packed full of fun stats and surprise messages from the cute characters, this pack even contains a surprise character card from Jelly Dreams. With the new Toy Story 4 edition of Top trumps, players can join Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang as they welcome new characters from the upcoming movie release. Winning Moves’ Top Trumps clip-strip will now look good for longer, thanks to a new sleek design and metallic finish. Not only does it look smart on the toy aisle, it also offers a practical solution to space limitations making it ideal for retailers with a smaller store footprint. Permanent and durable, the strip can be refilled with the new and best-selling titles for eye-catching in-store display. Visitors to the Toymaster show can take advantage of Winning Moves’ show offer; 5% off a £500 order and 10% off a £1,000 order, with one-drop delivery of available product by the end of July. Terms & Conditions apply.

Paul Lamond Games 020 7154 0100 | Best-sellers, including Charades for Kids, TRex, What’s Up, Don’t Say It, Googly Eyes and Yes No!, will all be on display at the Toymaster show, along with many of Paul Lamond’s new 2019 lines, including the award-winning World of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny board game. Also on show will also be a selection of the new autumn/winter lines for children, including the new Horrible Histories board game and Dinosaurs Galore, the colourful new game from the World of Dinosaur Roar. Titles based on three of Roald Dahl’s much-loved characters; Matilda’s Splendid Spelling, Charlie’s Marvellous Maths and The BFG’s Whizzpopping Spelling each offer three fun and educational games designed to aid Key Stage 1 and 2 development by encouraging learning through play. The quirky new trivia games Are You Dumber than a Box of Rocks? and Tip of the Tongue are sure to catch buyers’ attention, along with family favourites including Perudo, Stupid Deaths, Pointless and Smart Ass. Paul Lamond will also have its high-quality range of jigsaw puzzles on display. The company caters for the youngest of puzzlers with its book-led 24-piece Floor Puzzles, while the vast 4,000-piece Educa jigsaws are ideal for those who enjoy a serious challenge. Puzzles for children will include the 100- and 250-piece Where’s Wally series, with titles such as Jurassic Games and On the Beach, as well as the popular 250 piece The World of David Walliams and Roald Dahl puzzle ranges, with options including Gangsta Granny, Billionaire Boy, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda.

Basic Fun! 01189 253 270 | Basic Fun! is building on last year’s K’Nex success with new additions to its 2019 portfolio, including sets with a focus on fresh colours, engaging action-play features and more impactful packaging. New products include the award-winning Dragon Revenge Coaster Building Set, the impressive and affordable Motorcycle Building Set, the big build Trail Rider, and the clever and controllable Construction Crane. In addition to K’Nex, Basic Fun! has many new and established brands including the recently launched cuddly collectible line, Cutetitos. This series includes 12 soft animals wrapped in burrito blankets for kids to unroll and discover. Following a strong launch, Cutetitos will return with additional series later in the year, and the brand is set to extend even further when it welcomes Babitos in the near future. Every Little Lucky Lunchbox tin contains two Foodie Friends, each of which holds a secret reveal inside. There are 50 Foodie Friends to collect across each series. Following the success of series 1, Basic Fun will launch the brand’s International Food series later in the year. The Uncle Milton brand opens up the world of science and nature with a number of fun and factual low cost, high quality products, including the Dr Steve Hunter range of hands-on dinosaur kits. Finally, Basic Fun! has many retro classics in its portfolio, including the Fisher Price Classic range, and the My Little Pony Retro range.

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toys . jouets


just like the real thing

The Sales Partnership Distributors Ltd Chiltern House, 45 Station Road Henley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 1AT Tel.: +44 1491 412415 Fax: +44 1491 412915 Contact Name – James Triptree


Siso Toys UK 01620 674 778 | Following on from a successful Toy Fair, Siso Toys UK will be making its debut at Toymaster as it showcases its 2019 line up to independent retailers. 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. Boys‘ action is covered with Siso’s The Deep range, which offers impressive action figures, vehicles and underwater robot suits. TV lines include the popular underwater robots, known as Nekbots. Coming in at 25cm tall, these robots can fit a figure inside and are articulated. The Trollhunters - Tales of Arcadia toy range includes figure sets such as 3“ non-poseable multi-pack figures and 6“ deluxe figures with light and sound features. Young fans can also become Trollhunters themselves, thanks to role-playing options such as the sword wielded by lead character Jim, and the amulet which gives him his magic powers. Boys and kidult collectors alike will also love Siso Toys‘ Majorette range of die cast vehicles and play sets. The Majorette range is highly detailed; the cars boast opening doors, suspension, transparent headlights and interiors. Manufactured to 3“ scale, the brand’s strong roster of licences includes Mercedes, Lamborghini, Audi, BMW, Porche and many more. The range comprises different themes and sets for collectors to enjoy. Siso will also be showcasing its new Playlife range of vehicles and action figures. Wave one includes boats, adventure ATVs and off-road trucks, all of which come with a 7.5cm figure. Wave two includes construction and city-themed vehicles and figure sets. Within girls‘ and pre-school, Masha & The Bear is supported with a full 360 marketing always-on plan. Continuing into 2019 will be the Big Bear House hero play set, which has light and sound features plus two floors of interactive play.

Posh Paws 01268 567317 | As the exclusive distributor for Nici in the UK and Ireland, Posh Paws now offers a comprehensive lineup of luxury Nici plush and other accessories including girls’ gifts, stationery, nursery gifts and bedroom offerings, from across the many different Nici collections. The Posh Paws Nici range showcases the high quality always attributed to the brand, and complements the entire Posh Paws portfolio. This year will see Posh Paws bring a plethora of popular Disney properties to life in plush form; Aladdin, Dumbo, The Lion King and Toy Story 4 are among the company’s new collections. With all four properties set to benefit from 2019 movie releases, the Posh Paws ranges are perfectly timed and make great gifting options for Disney fans of all ages. With the premier of Toy Story 4 in June, Posh Paws is readying itself for the launch of Toy Story 4 soft toys, which will be on display at Toymaster. The range consists of old favourites alongside some of the new characters from the movie, in a range of sizes. Also part of the Posh Paws Disney line up is the Disney Classics plush range, a faithful collection of favourite Disney characters including Bambi, Marie and Thumper. The collection features plush in multiple sizes, designed with muted colours and detailed embroidery. Ahead of the November film release of Frozen II, the Posh Paws team is preparing to launch its new range of licensed plush. Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Sven all feature in the collection, in a selection of sizes and styles, as well as an Olaf with glow-in-dark features.

Clementoni 020 3206 1397 | Clementoni is back at Toymaster this year with tech product launches and new licences across its impressive puzzle portfolio. The Science and Play Technological range, produced under the Science Museum licence using STEM methodology, has been designed to nurture childrens’ skills and enthusiasm for learning through fun and interactive discovery. The Mechanics Laboratory line of products continues to grow year on year; 2019 will see product line extensions including the Explorer and Space Station, Trimaran and Watercraft, as well as Monster Truck kits. All sets include between 130-200 components, allowing children to get closer to the world of mechanics and engineering as they build working models. Puzzles continue to be a strong foundation of the Clementoni business. The licensed range for 2019 will see new launches tied into popular properties such as Harry Potter, DC and the cinematic release of Toy Story 4 across Clementoni’s recognised concepts – the Impossible 1,000-piece, and offerings for younger puzzlers including 180-, 104-, 48- and 24-piece puzzles.

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Get a closer look at Beaker Creatures® Series 2 collectables


Beaker Creatures® Reactor Pods Series 2 LER 3820


Beaker Creatures® Magnification Chamber


LER 3814

Crazy Creatures, Smart Science!


Mattel 01628 500 000 | Barbie turned 60 this year and continues to inspire girls to be anything. The Barbie Dreamplane comes with 15 fun accessories, while kids can add magic to playtime with the Barbie Dreamtopia Princess Doll and Unicorn. Hot Wheels introduces its biggest set ever created, the Hot Wheels Colossal Crash Track Set. Over five feet wide, the set has a double figure of eight design that offers multiplayer racing action. For Thomas & Friends, new additions include the small push-along engines Hong Mei, Troublesome Truck and Rosie, with Henry, Edward and Belle joining the large push-along range. New motorised engines and play sets, including the Super Cruiser and TrackMaster Cave Collapse Set, are based on the Digs & Discoveries specials. Fisher Price introduces Linkimals, an interactive range of toys with technology. Smooth Moves Sloth, Musical Moose, Lights and Colours Llama, A to Z Otter and Happy Shapes Hedgehog will be on show. From Fisher-Price character brands comes the Sunny Day toy range, comprising 6” Dolls and 11” Brush and Bracelet Dolls, the innovative Little Wonderbun Assortment and Sunny's Hair Dryer Kit for role-play fun. In April, Mattel introduced the Disney Pixar Toy Story 4 range across action figures and Fisher-Price Imaginext. The action figures range includes the Real Walking Buzz and 7” figures, while Fisher-Price’s Imaginext range features the BuzzBot and Basic and Feature Figure assortments. Mattel also unveiled the BTS Core Fashion Dolls Assortment in spring, inspired by the superstar Korean boy band. The BTS dolls stylish outfits are inspired by the group’s Idol Music video. Finally, Pictionary Air is the newest Pictionary experience being added to Mattel’s Games portfolio this autumn. The new Pictionary gameplay includes multiple ways to play and the option to record the drawer’s turn.

Orchard Toys 01953 423 422 | Orchard Toys will be showcasing three new lines at the upcoming Toymaster show. Let’s Go Lotto is a travel themed game for pre-school children. With simple gameplay and quirky characters, 2-5 year olds can enjoy filling their transport board before collecting their ticket to win the game. The company has also launched six Mummy and Baby 2-piece jigsaws. Large, chunky pieces make them ideal first jigsaws for children as young as 18 months. These beautifully illustrated puzzles promote matching skills and improve hand-eye coordination. Orchard Toys has also expanded its colouring book range. The range includes themed activity books such as Farmyard, Jungle, Dinosaur and Outer Space, as well as More Things To Do and Numbers 1-20. The pages are designed with simplicity in mind, featuring bold, uncluttered illustrations which are ideal for children aged three years and above. The colouring books all include bright stickers and other activities, such as dot to dot pictures, word searches, and traceable letters and numbers. Visitors to the Orchard Toys stand can take advantage of the exclusive show offer the company is running for the duration of the May event.

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Magformers 01270 446 250 | Clicformers, the sister brand to the best-selling magnetic construction toy Magformers, has launched a new range of 2-in-1 model sets. Clicformers is non-magnetic but offers similar creative construction play options as Magformers. There are four different ways to build – by hooking, stacking, folding or clicking pieces together. The four differently coloured Clicformers Craft Sets each contain 25 pieces and have a suggested retail price of under £10. Each set makes two animal and transport themed models using the same pieces; red makes a flamingo and an airplane, blue makes a penguin and a truck, yellow makes a fish and a truck, and green makes a snail and a car. With eye-catching packaging and appealing designs, plus easy-to-follow instructions, these new sets make excellent presents and impulse purchases. The brand is a joint venture created by a team of specialists in learning through play; Magformers, a global leader in magnetic construction toys and Clics, a well-known Belgian building block brand. Clicformers is made in a state-of-the-art factory near Antwerp, using only the highest-grade plastics, and is distributed by Magformers UK. Magformers will also be showcasing its latest sets at the Toymaster Show, including the Amazing Police and Rescue Set which is already proving to be one of the company’s bestselling lines for 2019. Allowing kids to make over 30 different models, this 26-piece set offers great value for money.


Cobi 07796 175 764 | Cobi building blocks are appreciated globally for their high quality and variety of designs. Produced entirely within the European Union, the brand has a history that dates back almost 30 years. Cobi offers several collections that are unique to the construction block world, including the Historical Collection. Featuring model kits based on ships, planes and vehicles from both World War I and World War II, this series is extremely popular with collectors and construction fans alike. Licensed offerings from World of Tanks and World of Warships make this an ideal line for any retailer. In the UK, Cobi’s WWI Mark I is particularly popular, along with the Supermarine Spitfire MK VB plane model from WWII, while WWII tanks including the Sherman, Churchill I and Tiger I, along with all World of Tanks offerings, are popular across the globe. Other Cobi collections include Pirates, Action Town - which encompasses Police, Fire, and other emergency services - licensed Boeing planes, licensed Smithsonian products such as the Shuttle Discovery, and the Small Army Collection which includes numerous modern-day armaments. For 2019, Cobi has expanded its extensive catalogue to include licensed models from brands such as Maserati, Skoda and Jeep. Also new for 2019 is a collection of models for children aged 4+ based on the popular animated series Super Wings. Cobi’s biggest set is a model of the ship RMS Titanic. This set has already been released in a number of different editions, and continues to top the sales lists year after year.

Tobar 01603 397105 | At this year’s Toymaster show, Tobar will be placing an emphasis on tech with its full range of Pets Alive and Robo Alive products, including Boppi the Booty-Shakin’ Llama. Joining the portfolio for this year is the new Pets Alive Unicorn, which offers over 20 ways to play and interact. Collectibles will feature prominently too, with Tobar’s new Fruzoos range front and centre following a very positive reception at a number of toy fairs. The fusion of fruit and jellyball makes for a colourful and affordable range. Combining llamas and unicorns, two of the most on-trend items at the moment, the Llamacorn range is also proving popular, while the Animigos New Born range of cute and lifelike interactive pets will also be on show. With eye-catching packaging and a strong price point, this is a highly appealing range. A selection of best-selling pocket money items in cube display and spinner units will complement the company’s pocket money show lines. Tobar will be displaying its licensed Angry Birds range at Toymaster alongside its other ranges. A full line-up of racing and radio control vehicles, plus Hatch and Race blind-bag collectibles, all themed around the iconic Angry Birds characters, will hit shelves in support of the new movie coming out in autumn this year. Deals will be available on the Metal Egg range of collectible vehicles, as well as Tobar’s radio control ranges and a full line up of slot sets. Larger items like the Maisto Rock Crawler can be used to create an impressive package at an attractive price, for a wow factor gifting option that won’t break the bank.

The Source Wholesale 01306 646 885 | A relative newcomer to the toy industry, The Source Wholesale enjoyed a breakthrough into the channel in 2018 thanks to its combination of educational STEM products, innovative toys and appealing confectionery. The company is expanding its STEM product range with two new arrivals set for release in May. The 5-in-1 Coding Robot and the Robotic Hedgehog kit are the latest additions to the popular Construct and Create brand. These new items follow the successful Tobbie the Interactive AI Robot, which continues to be a best-seller. Tobbie 2 will be launching for autumn/winter; coding functionality has been added using free software and an insertable chip, to take the learning experience to a whole new level. Waboba, the brand behind the world’s leading water bouncing and high bounce balls, welcomes two new additions in May. The Waboba Wingman, a foldable mini Frisbee suitable for use both indoor and out, is joined by the Waboba LED Flyer. This eyecatching projectile, which is equipped with LED lights and a sensor, can be thrown, kicked or launched through the air and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor play. Both products retail at pocket money price points. Jelly Belly is the No. 1 gourmet Jelly Bean in the world, and fans of the confectionary will enjoy how the official licensed scents and flavours have been used to develop an innovative new range comprising squishy Jelly Belly Stress Toys, Jelly Belly Slime and the Source Wholesale’s new Jelly Belly Slushy Machine, Jelly Belly Slushy Cup and Jelly Belly flavoured Slushy Syrups. Innovation is a key part of The Source’s formula, and this is evident in its uniquely developed Motion Control toy range which includes the new RC Robot in a Can. This product is already proving to be a best-seller since its launch in March. A collection of new confectionary items from The Source’s Treat Factory brand is also available, offering an assortment of mouth-watering and on-trend eccentric gifts including Narwhal Lollies, Fairy Dust Popping Candy and Penguin Gummies.

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© ITV Studios Limited / Pukeko Pictures LP 2019

*Based on ratings 000s/ Kids programmes on ITV channels. Period: 31/03/2018 – 30/05/2018. Source: BARB/AdvantEdge



Jumbo Games 01707 289 289 |

New to Jumbo’s portfolio is a range of children’s games produced using 100% recycled materials. This eco-friendly collection is aimed at ages 3+, and includes the hand-eye reaction-based game Catch the Mouse, colour matching game Colour Chameleon, memory game Peek-a-Boo, and Honey Yummy, a fun game which encourages children to work as a team. Moon and Me, Andrew Davenport’s latest creation, instigated the new CBeebies Bedtime Hour in February and is already a firm pre-school favourite among parents and children. Jumbo Games is on board as a key licensee and will be launching a new range of puzzles in September, based on the colourful characters, unique storylines and imaginative scenes. Jumbo will have a selection of Disney lines on display, including its new 1,000-piece puzzles for Dumbo, Aladdin and The Lion King, as well as The Little Mermaid’s 30th birthday celebrations. The puzzles will feature artwork from the classic animations. Having already launched a wealth of new designs to the 500- and 1,000-piece puzzle markets this year, Jumbo has more adult puzzles in store for the summer and beyond. June will see a further 15 puzzles introduced across the Wasgij, Falcon de Luxe and Jan van Haasteren puzzle ranges. Alongside these, the company will be showcasing its new Christmas lines (also available from June), including the Wasgij Christmas 15 Santa’s Unexpected Delivery and the Falcon de luxe Santa’s Special Delivery 1,000-piece puzzles. Both puzzles include a free 1,000-piece Christmas puzzle for added value. The company will also be showcasing its new Strategy Games at the show. The new games include the tactical criminal card game Caper and the tile-arranging puzzle game Overbooked. These two new additions join Jumbo’s existing games line-up: How To Rob A Bank, Forbidden City, Okavango and Isidore – School of Magic. Jumbo will be driving consumer awareness even further by exhibiting at the UK Games Expo at the N.E.C at the end of May.

Character Options 01616 339 800 | Goo Jit Zu is a new entertainment property and Character’s new collection of action figures comprises of zoo animals transformed into goo-filled Goo Jit Zu fighters. Each action figure has its own gooey features, unique powers and martial arts moves, as well as a squishy compound to explore. Compounds include super stretch, gooey, mushy and even crunch, increasing the collectabilityz for kids. An important launch for the company this season, Character will release Wave 1 in July with a full FSDU programme plus a global schedule of marketing activity including short films, influencer activity, TV advertising, digital activation, pre-roll and more. As the Peppa Pig brand celebrates its 15th anniversary, Toymaster members should ensure they view Character’s 2019 Peppa Pig collection. Peppa’s Stage Playset brings a new play pattern to the range. The curtained stage comes with three reversible backdrop cards, a pull-out stage floor, sound effects and separate theatre seating plus themed accessories. Peppa’s Wooden Playhouse is also a key product and will feature alongside Peppa’s Big Red Car and a Mud Kitchen Playset. The surprise-reveal collectible range Treasure X welcomes a new addition. Named Action Figure of the Year at the Australian Toy Fair, Treasure X Aliens is a throwback to the alien autopsy craze. Kids can dissect the alien to save the Treasure Hunter within. Each alien stomach contains a bag of slimy ooze that needs to be searched through to find the treasure and critter hiding inside. The latest arrival for the Pokémon property, Detective Pikachu, will premiere just in time for the Toymaster show. A major cinema release with plenty of activity surrounding it, the films looks set to send the popularity of the cute character soaring for master toy partner Character.

Bruder 01491 412 415 | A new range of themed sets includes printed wall elements with easyto-mount adjustable feet, which create detailed spaces for imaginative play. The new shelving system can be used in conjunction with the wall elements to further enhance play. The new bworld Police Station set is the perfect complement to a collection of Bruder police vehicles, and comes with features such as office equipment to co-ordinate missions, a holding cell area and parking facilities for vehicles such as the Bruder police quad bike. The theme of emergency services is core to the Bruder play pattern, and the bworld Health Station is another set which can be used with many Bruder emergency service vehicles. The included doctor is accompanied by a range of medical equipment and accessories; items provided include a wheelchair and hospital bed, which comes complete with a monitor. Horse and equestrian sports fans can make full use of the bworld Horse Barn,as they play at riding, feeding, taking care of their mount and cleaning out the stable. The stable offers the ideal setting for all equine activities thanks to its extensive selection of accessories and realistic appearance. The bworld Motorcycle Workshop enables the detailed Scrambler Ducati Cafe Racer motorbike to be fixed on the lifting platform with brackets, ready for servicing. An included mechanic figure comes complete with toolbox and equipment, a helmet and protective gloves. The new bworld Car Workshop is ideal for imaginative play with all Bruder vehicles. The included mechanic figure can be used to inspect vehicles on the heightadjustable vehicle lift, and tools are included to enhance play possibilities. The Bruder Roadster is included in this set, and comes complete with spare wheels which can be switched quickly and easily, thanks to the Roadster’s new wheel changing system.

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Tactic Games 01483 332 070 | In addition to best-selling lines including Lumo Stars and Molkky, Tactic will be showcasing new licensed ranges at Toymaster, as well as launching a strong portfolio of games for all the family. Ideal for younger children and families, the Toy Fair Hero winner Don’t Upset the Llama is a fast paced, quick reaction game. Each player receives a deck of cards, and the Llama spray gun is placed in the middle. Players then roll the dice to decide the action and reveal the cards one by one. When the image on the card upsets the Llama, players race to be the first to grab it and spray any other player. In the action-packed matching game Speedy Beedy, players buzz their bee across the meadow to pick the correct flowers before their opponents, while watching out for the caterpillar. With the award-winning game Wonders of the World, players take a trip across the globe as they attempt to identify up to 195 of the most amazing sights on the planet. An educational game with an entertaining twist, Wonders of the World is a game for the whole family. Tactic will also be showing Doodle Doo, List it Right, Draw Out Extreme and UK Alias, all of which are available to pre-order. Lumo Stars will also make an appearance; new characters are being introduced for autumn/winter along with larger versions which are 42cm high. Show offers will be running for the duration of Toymaster, to include additional discounts and priority delivery dates. To book an appointment, please contact Phil O’nion on

Ravensburger 01869 363 830 | With several new and innovative products launching this year, Ravensburger will be showcasing its complete range during the Toymaster show. A TV campaign for GraviTrax launched before Easter, with new products being released in July, so now is the ideal time to stock up. Retailers are urged to visit Ravensburger’s stand or to contact their representative to find out more about the POS solutions on offer to help them present this innovative range in-store. Ravensburger is supporting GraviTrax with consumer targeted events throughout the year, where fans will be able to get hands-on with the product, building spectacular tracks on a large scale. For more information about GraviTrax on Tour 2019, please visit the Ravensburger website. For Brio, the focus remains on Starter Sets and Smart Tech. The Railway Starter Set and Lift & Load Starter Set, combined with the Starter Track Pack, is an ideal entry point for retailers. A range of unique Smart Tech products can then be added to create a bespoke Brio product range which will appeal to consumers. A fully integrated marketing plan launches later this year, including a highly targeted TV advertising campaign. A wide range of POS, interactive in-store play solutions and play events will help drive footfall into stores. Retailers can also consider becoming a ThinkFun Specialist Store. RushHour, Gravity Maze, Roller Coaster Challenge, Cat Crimes and Escape the Room games are just a few of the addictive and fun offerings now available from ThinkFun.

Re:creation 01189 736 222 | The Wham-O brand is one of the most recent additions to Re:creation’s portfolio. Already responsible for popular brand names such as Hula Hoop, Frisbee and Slip ‘N Slide, Re:creation is set to unlock the full potential of Wham-O’s comprehensive catalogue with the roll-out of an extensive collection of products including evergreen classics and new introductions. Among 2019’s offerings are the Aqua Force water balloon launchers, which offer action-packed outdoor play. New plush brands from Re:creation include two internet sensations with large and dedicated fanbases. The YouTube property Larva boasts over 4m followers on the platform, while content streaming on Netflix increases the show’s reach. Re:creation’s licensed plush collection captures key characters from the animated hit. The soon-to-launch Jiffpom Cutelife plush collection is based on Jiffpom, ‘the world’s most followed dog’, who has over 9m followers on Instagram alone. The range comprises four cuddly plush, each of which wears a different outfit. Other new plush brands include Floofies, which are cute and collectible pets with rainbow powder-puff tails and giggly, wiggly action. Doolallie Flappers are wearable plush hats, which feature amusing ear flapping action. These animal-themed hats have proved popular online and recently featured on on CiTV’s Scrambled TV show. Marking Re:creation’s entrance into the creative category, Aqua Gelz is an innovative brand that allows children to design and make their own squishy characters, using gels which then magically transform when submerged in a special water solution. With the Lego Movie 2: The Second Part having recently launched, Re:creation’s Lego Lights range welcomes new additions to its key lights and torch collections. These join the existing Classic, DC Super Heroes and Lego Star Wars offerings. Show visitors can take advantage of a 10% discount on orders placed for delivery before the end of July. Please visit Re:creation’s stand for full details.

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Includes Carry Case


Casdon Kids Are

With working suction and attachments!

HAPPY KIDS! 2-in-1 toy!

Fill with water!

Real life fun & play Casdon Ltd., Cornford Road, Blackpool, Lancs FY4 4QW Tel: +44 (0)1253 766411 Fax: +44 (0)1253 691486 Email:

See us at the show!


Funrise 01908 555 640 | Funrise has created the master toy line for the latest Paramount animated film, Wonder Park, featuring play sets, figures and plush. At the heart of the range are the movie’s Wonder Chimps, available as blind-bag collectibles, wind-up and scented plush. With over 5,200 chimps featured in the film, there will be plenty for fans to choose from. With Fart Ninjas, Funrise’s line of interactive, charismatic farting Ninjas, kids can collect a selection of different characters to create a symphony of fart noises perfect for pranking friends and family. Each character’s motion sensor is activated when an unsuspecting person walks past, triggering the fart sound. Included in the initial range will be four smaller collectible figures, as well as the Fart Ninja XLs; alongside the farting motion sensor found in the small figures, the XL Fart Ninjas come with a remote control so kids can record their own fart sounds or messages to add to the pranking fun. Funrise’s Gazillion Bubbles brand has created premium bubble products for over a decade. Joining an already extensive array of premium bubble solution, bubble toys and machines, the Gazillion range is welcoming new products for 2019. With its revolutionary design, Gazillion Bubble Rush is a highpowered bubble machine capable of blowing the most bubbles ever. The machine has a three-section no-spill modular design, including a removable washable top and a solution recycling tray; the batteries and motor are sealed inside the base. Users simply pour solution into the reservoir and push the button for a bubble explosion in seconds. Gazillion Bubble Rush has been designed to offer hours of fun for kids but be easy to clean for parents. Also new for this summer are the Turbo Bubbles, Mini Hurricane and Battle Buster Gazillion handheld bubble gadgets. Also on display at the Toymaster show is the Tonka toys collection of pre-school friendly vehicles. The recently launched Tonka Power Movers let kids bring the dump truck, front loader, excavator and cement mixer vehicles to life through engaging and intuitive play. When pushed forward, each vehicle’s Motion Drive Technology will make the engine rev and activate the lights, while pushing it backwards will trigger back-up sounds. In addition, working the mechanical feature of each vehicle will result in hydraulic sounds and flashing lights. All these features combine to create an engaging and realistic Tonka tough experience, every time kids play.

Click Distribution 01604 877 888 | Click will be presenting Fortnite figures and play sets from Moose. The range has got off to a strong start, with further product waves set for launch throughout the year. The next generation of ScruffA-Luvs products will also be on show, alongside Moose’s new launch Capsule Chix, which is set to be a major girls’ property this autumn/winter. Bendy and The Ink machine series two figures and plush from Phatmojo will be available to order at the show following the success of the first wave of products. Attendees can find out more about the upcoming launch of Panini’s first Premier League Adrenalyn Trading card game. Available from September, the range will sit alongside current and forthcoming launches of entertainment properties including Fortnite trading cards, Toy Story 4 stickers, The Road to Euro Adrenalyn TCG and Frozen II stickers. Click will also be unveiling details of Topps’ plans for the Match Attax brand this coming season. C








Magic Box Toys 01403 251 286 | Magic Box Toys returns to Toymaster this year with exciting previews of new product for Autumn Winter 2019. Top selling hero vs villain pocket money range SuperZings sees everyday objects and food as collectible characters. Currently in its third series, SuperZings made the move into playsets at the end of 2018 and will be launching expansions for AW19 including the Kazoom Lab: Professor K Vs Enigma, which includes battle weaponry and two exclusive characters, plus the Hero Monster Roller Truck, which comes compete with a built in blaster and two exclusive characters. The Moji Pops collectible range is made up of everyday objects brought to life as unique, fun-loving characters with an array of colourful emotions based on popular emoticons. Following a record launch in March, Moji Pops will also be growing as brand with dedicated toy launches – the first being the Moji Pops Pool Party. A complete play set packed with accessories, Pool Party includes two exclusive characters.

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TKC Sales 01380 872 950 | TKC Sales returns to the Toymaster show in its 30th year of trading. Having enjoyed a positive start to the year, the company is expecting its outdoor sports brands to put in another strong performance this summer. TKC continues to be the exclusive UK distributor of the Aerobie brand and will present a variety of flying discs and rings to visitors alongside the popular Stomp! range and other back-garden classics. These will include the Super High-Performance Stomp Rocket, the Junior Glow for younger children and the popular new Duelling Stomp Rocket kit. Eolo became a part of the TKC portfolio in 2018 and has proved successful since. The range comprises products including Disc Jock-e, Real Flyers and Pop-Up Kites with an impressive three-second set up time. The company also has an innovative expanded range of Wow! Stuff Wizarding World products. Continuing the success of last year, the offering will be strengthened in 2019 with several new additions. This licensed range performs well alongside TKC’s evergreen Mensa and Science Museum collections, which have been supplied to Toymaster members for the best part of a decade.

DKL Marketing 01604 678 780 |

Casdon 01253 608 428 |

On the DKL stand, exclusive product offers and best-selling catalogue lines combine, as the company aims to offer retailers everything they need under one roof. Hama Beads sees a number of new products introduced for 2019. Touted by DKL as ‘the epitome of creativeness in the arts and crafts space’, the brand has been encouraging imagination and creativity for years. With just a few Hama pegboards and a variety of colourful Hama beads, kids can enjoy endless creative fun. The 2019 range benefits from modern packaging, while gems add sparkle to designs. Also introduced this year is the unique Hama Bead Tac. One of the fastest selling ranges from DKL is Plus-Plus. These building bricks are simple shapes with endless possibilities, which let children create models that are limited only by their imagination. The 15 new Plus-Plus 100-piece tubes will be on display, as well as the brand new 240-piece tube collection and the Space range with glow-in-the-dark features. Floor spinner stands help the tubes stand out at retail; each stand holds 144 tubes and includes space for loose Plus-Plus, so kids can try before they buy. With tubes starting from pocket money prices, this is a must-have pick up line. DKL will also be showcasing products from Scentco Scented Stationery, which offers a wide range of pens, pencils, notepads and more with scents that last two years. New Breyer Model Horses lines including several Fantasy Horses such as the sun-kissed Aurora will be on display, along with PlayMais Tubs and creative Mosaic Sets. The Bloco construction range, comprising high-density foam pieces which create animal models, will also be available to view, as will the colourful Escabbo bath toys and the Scratch range of traditional and retro wooden toys and furniture.

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Building on its successful partnership with Dyson, September 2018 saw Casdon add the Dyson Cord-free Vacuum to its collection. This cordless vacuum is a direct replica of the life-size product and features working suction, spinning beads, realistic sounds and twist & turn action, just like the real thing. Featuring the same bright colours as the full size vacuum, this detailed replica lets kids develop essential life skills through imaginative play. The Morphy Richards Kitchen Set expands the comprehensive Morphy Richards product range. Designed with contemporary style in mind, the Kitchen Set offers a host of features and includes a brightly coloured kettle, a fillable coffee maker, a pop-up toaster and a range of crockery, cutlery and play food. Bringing traditional arts and crafts into the home is the Wooden Easel. The easel has a chalkboard surface on one side and a wipe-clean magnetic surface on the other, allowing for messfree artistry. Children can use the chalk included to create their masterpiece, or hang paper using the included clips to make sure their works of art stay in place as they draw. Featuring the famous ‘tea folk’, the new Tetley Tea Set will appeal to kids and adults alike thanks to its durability and nostalgic charm. The traditionally-styled set contains a tin teapot, tray, cups, saucers and plates, all housed within a carrycase for take-along tea parties. A social media programme reaching hundreds of thousands of parents is already established, and will continue with a strategic timetable of top influencer’s reviews throughout 2019 to increase awareness of the company’s popular toys.

That’s not my... A multi-award winning series of over 50 touchy-feely baby books 20 million copies sold across the range, worldwide

Rolling programme of new releases throughout 2019


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Usborne is the UK’s leading specialist children’s book publisher: an independent, family business which creates engaging, innovative, accessible books for children of all ages.

One That’s not my... book sold every minute in the UK

Usborne Farmyard Tales books are back!

• Loved by families for over 30 years • Hundreds of 5* reviews online • More than 12.5 million books sold in the uk alone • Over 20 million copies sold worldwide • Relaunched in Spring 2019 with new titles published throughout the year

To order books and point of sale display materials, please contact your UK territory manager: London & South East: Lesley Preston Northern England, North Wales & Scotland: Boyd Denton SW England, South Wales & Channel Islands: Stephanie Coleman Central England: Jo-Ann Caulkin RepForce Ireland: For international enquires, please contact

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Spin Master 01628 535 000 |

Rainbow Designs 01329 227 300 | The Very Hungry Caterpillar takes centre stage at Toymaster this year, as Eric Carle’s classic character celebrates its milestone 50th birthday. In celebration, Rainbow Designs has launched a new nursery toy range featuring a selection of products crafted specifically for newborns up to children aged 18 months. The range includes a wooden and plush Ring Rattle, a colourful apple-shaped Comfort Blanket with attachable clip, and an Activity Toy for sensory play. This year Rainbow is also celebrating Peppa Pig’s 15th anniversary. The new My First Peppa collection will be on display at Toymaster. The range includes the popular My First Peppa Activity Toy, Chime Rattle Toys and Peppa Comfort Blanket. The eagerly-awaited official plush collection for DreamWorks’ autumn blockbuster Abominable, which stars the lovable yeti Everest and his co-stars Yi and Peng, will also be on show. These characters will sit alongside the popular Universal DreamWorks Heritage Collection, which includes plush characters from Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda. Arriving soon is the new That’s Not My… collection of nursery toys. Based on Usborne’s best-selling series of touchy-feely board books, the new collection features characters from the picture books including the Kitten, the Puppy, the Bunny and the Monkey, as well as some of the newer characters. The collection includes soft toys and attachable developmental blankies. Several new additions join the award-winning Classic Winnie the Pooh Hundred Acre Wood collection this summer. They include a Jiggle Winnie-thePooh, Lullaby Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, and a Gift Set featuring the tactile Winnie the Pooh Comfort Blanket and Ring Rattle. Rainbow Designs will also have the Peter Rabbit Nursery and TV ranges on display, as well as the ever-popular Classic Paddington, Spot, Snowman, Elmer, Guess How Much I Love You and Miffy collections.

Spin Master is set to showcase several new product launches at this year’s Toymaster show, where it will also be offering independent retailers exclusive show-only offers of up to 25% off on selected lines. With an everincreasing portfolio of toys, games, products and entertainment properties, key highlights include the new Monster Jam toy line, Season 5 Hatchimals Colleggtibles Mermal Magic, and Paw Patrol toys to support the Mighty Pups film launch. New autumn/winter lines will also be showcased to attendees. As the worldwide toy partner for Monster Jam, and with a commitment to providing fans with an original Monster Jam experience, Spin Master’s range of Monster Jam trucks incorporate realistic features, authentic design and new technology. Retailers will be able to view the entire line, including innovative additions for autumn/winter 2019. The range includes the all-new 1:64 scale die cast Monster Jam truck range, with over 100 to collect, alongside adrenaline-fuelled play sets and RC vehicles for new ways to play. Independent retailers will also be able to experience the new Bakugan toy line first-hand while at the show. This hotly anticipated autumn relaunch introduces collectible fan-favourite characters straight from the TV series, alongside new play sets for battling fun. The Hatchimals Colleggtibles Mermal Magic range, launched this spring, includes new seashell eggs, increased character detailing and a variety of water transformations. Further developments for the award-winning brand will also be unveiled at the show. A new theme and storyline have been brought to the big screen for Paw Patrol, thanks to the first theatrical release for the brand from Nick Jr. and Paramount Pictures. The Mighty Pups film will be supported by toy launches including the Action Pack Pups and Flip N Fly Vehicles, bringing the content to life for pre-schoolers and offering hours of imaginative play. Retailers can also take advantage of promotions on selected key lines in Spin Master’s games offering, the Tech Deck range and No. 1 global sand brand, Kinetic Sand.

Vivid 01483 449944 | Leading the way for Vivid’s licensed offering is Ryan’s World, inspired by the seven-year-old YouTuber. The range includes blind bags, squishies, plush and Mystery Eggs. For autumn/winter comes Boomtrix, a marble track system consisting of towers, trampolines, stunt accessories and a goal. Players must use their imagination to create the craziest track set-ups possible using the included components. The Science4you range encourages children to discover the wonders of the world around them through STEM. New sets including Yucky Science, Manicure Factory, Bath Bombs and the Science of Crystals launch this year. The company’s award winning Phlat Ball continues to lead the way for Vivid’s outdoor range, along with the Super Wubble - an extension to the inflatable Wubble line - which was awarded Outdoor Toy of the Year at the 2018 Toy Industry Awards. AniMagic’s new collection includes Little Light Ups. A sausage dog and French bulldog pup are available, as well as a kitten. Kids can give the AniMagic Goes Wild chicks Arty and Peri a cuddle to hear them chirp and watch as their eyes light up with happiness. Waggles the walking sausage dog and his pal Lizzy the Corgi will also launch for autumn/winter. Kids can feed the panda, koala and pig Munchkinz snacks, watching as they disappear and are followed by a burp or giggle. The snacking continues with YoPop, a fun way for kids to get creative in the kitchen. Freezing their favourite yoghurt flavour combinations results in a delicious treat for kids to enjoy. Goliath will be introducing over 20 new games in 2019, including Gator Golf, Dragon Snacks, Silly Sketch and more. Favourite games such as Shark Bite, Foxy Pants and Wordsearch will continue for this year. The classic game Sequence is an addictive game that will challenge family and friends. Crayola welcomes additions to its Washimals range for autumn/winter. With the Vet Clinic and Beauty Salon play sets, kids can play with their Washimals at home or on the go. Finally, Crayola Take Note bridges the gap between kids’ and adults’ stationery with an innovative range that adds colour and creativity to any writing task.

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Bandai 020 8324 6160 | Brand new for 2019 is Foodie Surprise, Bandai’s new DIY sweet making kit. With various food carts to collect, from Ice Cream to Pizza Trucks, and Bubble Tea to Sushi, Foodie Surprise lets kids create real food they can eat and share with friends. Collectible characters are included for added play value. Parents will be happy to note that the ingredients are all sugar free. Tapping into the Unicorn trend, Rainbow Dreams is an eye-catching and soft plush unicorn that lights up with the colours of the rainbow while playing magical sounds. Eyes that shine brightly mean Rainbow Dreams can also be used as a comforting nightlight. Squishimals are new super-soft plush characters made from squishy synthetic materials rather than foam, making them extra cuddly. Available in two sizes, 20cm and 32cm, popular options include the bunny, fox, mouse and ladybird. Joining Bandai’s games portfolio for autumn/winter are the family games Froggy Party and Fan Zone. The Bandai games portfolio will be supported with a robust TV campaign. Following the October TV release of the new ITV series Robozuna, Bandai will follow its spring/summer toy launch with phase two for autumn/winter, including role-play and articulated figures. Clunk, the robot voiced by Ali A in the show, comes to life as Mega Clunk. This 30cm articulated feature action figure spins at the waist and includes an interchangeable, spinning arm so that Robozuna fans can re-enact Clunks battles. Hero roleplay lines include the Deluxe Mangle Mask complete with voice-changer activation, and Mangle’s Flash Welder with lights and sound effects. The Robozuna range will be supported by heavyweight marketing including TV, kids press, character visits and a digital campaign featuring the stars of the show, Ali A and Ethan Gamer. Bandai is re-launching the toy range for the much-loved brand Thunderbirds Are Go in autumn. Already popular on ITV, the show is currently in its third series. The new toy line consists of collectibles, action figures and vehicles which encourage imaginative rescue role-play and interaction between the characters and their crafts.

Smart Games 01903 885669 |

Canal Toys Canal Toys | Canal Toys has just celebrated its first anniversary in the UK and has been recognised by NPD as the fastest growing arts & crafts manufacturer in the UK. At the Toymaster show, Canal is showcasing two new product ranges, as well as exciting and innovative additions to its existing ranges. So Magic DIY is a new, key introduction for Canal. The innovative range enables kids to create a terrarium and watch it grow. The terrariums can be decorated with coloured sand, stones and collectible characters, plus a magical tree that grows. Kits are available in three different sizes, and are joined by the Wonder Garden set. So Slime DIY will see the addition of Slimelicious to the range. A collection of shakers lets kids make scented slime by adding water and powder. Six styles are available at launch, with the shape of each shaker indicating the scent of the slime within: ice-cream, hot chocolate, popcorn, soda, milkshake or bubble gum. The successful So Bomb DIY range will see the addition of new, on-trend bath bomb shapes. A Unicorn, diamond and heart will complement the classic round bath bombs launched at the start of 2019. The Style 4 Ever range has undergone a packaging revamp, making it distinctive on shelf and appealing to consumers. New Crystal Gel Studio and Mini Kits allow kids to create jewellery. Two new characters, Llama & Narwhal, join the hugely successfully Decorate Your Own Unicorn this year. These glow in the dark creatures can be personalised with stickers, gems, and messages, and can be used as money boxes. All products will be available from July and will be supported by comprehensive marketing, PR and social media campaigns, as well as TV advertising on key ranges.

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Smart Games will return to the Toymaster show for 2019, showcasing this year’s new launches. Smart Farmer is a fun interactive game for ages five and up. Taking on the role of the farmer, players are challenged to separate the pigs, sheep, horses and cows using only three simple fences, while ensuring that the animals each get their own space and water supply. Award-winning pre-school magnetic construction system SmartMax allows children aged one year and over to explore the world of magnetism in a fun and safe way. This year the brand is introducing two new My First sets: My First Dinosaurs, featuring five iconic dinosaurs including the formidable Tyrannosaurus Rex, and My First Totem set. Little ones can mix and match the dinosaurs to create weird and wonderful combinations, or build a totem out of the eight colourful magnetic building blocks, which have different sounds, styles and textures. The sets also include fun challenges. GeoSmart is a magnetic construction system that enables children from five years to build different structures using magnetic geoshapes. As every piece is compatible with each other, this is an ideal STEM magnetic range; products feature bright colours, strong magnetic geoshape pieces and a patented double-safety system. The new, ingenious Flip Bot allows children (and adults) to create their own remote-controlled vehicle; a robot car which once constructed, can be driven and flipped over.

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Usborne 0207 430 2800 | 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the That’s not my… range of touchy-feely books for babies, with new titles and special editions publishing throughout the year. Over 20m That’s not my… books have now been sold worldwide, with one book sold every minute in the UK. Usborne will be showcasing several new additions to the series at Toymaster: That’s not my zebra…, That’s not my flamingo… (with pink holographic edges), That’s not my lion… and That’s not my koala… All of these titles will be available this summer. The company is offering retailers That’s not my flamingo… event packs, which feature bunting, activities, flamingo standees and inflatable palm trees, to enhance instore displays. To find out more, visit the Usborne stand or contact your Territory Manager.

Trends UK 01295 768 078 | Peppa Pig celebrates her 15th anniversary in 2019 with a raft of new TV content, a cinema event, live shows and plenty more for fans to enjoy. The best-selling, multi award-winning and 5-star rated Count with Peppa is the star of the Trends ELA range, enabling children to have fun with 10 colourful play coins as they learn about numbers and colours. The Mr Tumble Learning Pad and Thomas & Friends Smart Tablet are also popular. New kits join the Science Mad range in 2019; the Build Your Own Robotic Vacuum Cleaner includes 75 pieces so kids can build a working model that can sense walls and obstacles, complete with a floating suction indicator and dust collection chamber. The Science Mad Circuit Lab features over 50 experiments to teach kids about electricity, electrical components and circuits, while an interactive Science Mad Pop Globe features AR technology and is supported by an app that scans the geo-political globe to reveal fascinating facts and pictures. The new SpyX Drone Strike puts would-be agents through aerial spy training. Players blast the self-flying drone with foam darts to eliminate the threat. The drone has a crash resistant frame, so kids can practise their aim again and again. The award-winning no-mess Paint Sticks range is being expanded with the new Paint Sticks Classic Art Station. The fold-up, double-sided easel has a whiteboard and chalkboard side. With six classic Paint Sticks, Chalk Sticks, paper and a duster, it is ready for action straight out of the box. The new Paint Sticks Bucket will launch in spring, containing 20 assorted Paint Sticks with a selection of classic, day glow and metallic colours. Trends UK is also introducing a new Face Paint Sticks range from Little Brian. Mess free, users simply twist up and use. A six pack and a 12 pack are available.

Schleich 01279 870 000 | Schleich will showcase new equine lines for Farm World and Horse Club among many others at this year’s show. One of the most celebrated themes within the Schleich portfolio, Horse Club welcomes new breeds and play sets to the line-up. Featuring the same hand painted detail that the company is renowned for, breeds such as the Knapstrupper and Paint Horse will appeal to all Horse Club collectors. The Rider Café, which will be available from July, provides an ideal place to stop, rest and relax after a hard day’s eventing. This 60-piece set includes a full café setting complete with a new character; Tom is always ready to serve his customers with snacks and drinks. The doors of the café open and close, and there’s also a place to tie two ponies while the riders relax. The Horse Club range will benefit from its first ever TV advertising campaign during Q3/Q4 in the UK. Meanwhile, Farm World introduces younger children to the colourful world of pony agility with a host of new play sets. The new Pony Agility Training Set includes a girl figure with movable arms and legs, a Classic Pony, a Shetland Pony and a selection of obstacles, plus paddocks and various other accessories. The Pony Agility Race Set includes a movable boy figure, a Welsh pony, a tyre, and an obstacle that can be transformed into a winners’ podium. The course is complemented by the Pony Slalom Set, which includes a Dülmen wild horse, and the Pony Curtain Set complete with Shetland Pony. Practical in design, the various course and obstacle elements are modular so they can be combined as desired. The pre-school offering for Farm World and Wild Life will expand for 2019. Schleich has re-positioned its popular Dinosaur-themed world to suit a younger target audience. Thanks to the revised product range, boys from the age of four can look forward to adventures with impressive prehistoric giants including the new Plesiosaurus and Dracorex figures. Schleich continues to roll out fixtures and POS solutions to suit all sizes of store across multiple UK retailers as part of its ongoing commitment to in-store support. The Schleich portfolio offers a strong spread of price points and SKUs, while a full marketing and PR campaign is in place to ensure that each and every range is a top choice for Toymaster members.

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Large figure stands at 15 cm tall!


Brainstorm 01200 445 113 | Brainstorm returns to the Toymaster show with new products developed for 2019. See The World Through Others’ Eyes, which is set to launch in summer, will allow children to see the world through the eyes of different animals and creatures. Using glasses with 22 interchangeable lenses, children can see in 17 different ways - like a T-Rex, a fly, a dog and even a mythical unicorn. See The World Through Others’ Eyes includes an informative leaflet with fascinating facts and information about the science of how others see. This year will commemorate 50 years since the Moon Landing, and Brainstorm will be celebrating with special offers on a selection of space lines including the enchanting My Very Own Moon. The company anticipates growth in the popularity of the StikBot brand for 2019, thanks to the introduction of the new StikBot Monsters range which further enhances the collectability of the line. StikBot Mega Monsters are a must-have for fans who want to own larger-scale versions. Brainstorm is working with the New Zealand brand Dodoland to distribute the eco-friendly craft line Eugy in the UK. These miniature 3D models of animals and creatures are created using 100% sustainable card and non-toxic glue, providing a strong pocket money purchase option for parents seeking environmentally friendly products for their children. With free stock deals and special discounts on a range of items, visitors should be sure to visit the Brainstorm stand.

Flair/Just Play 020 8643 0320 | Flair’s new Gormiti master toy range is based on Planeta’s TV series and includes all the main characters, from the Gormiti Lords and Heralds to the evil Darkans. Alongside the action figures, role-play toys and accessories is an all-new element - interactive game play. Every pack includes a trading card that can be used with the Gormiti app to unlock exclusive game content. Kids can choose from basic, deluxe and super deluxe Action Figures, while the One Tower Playset acts is available for the collectible mini figure series. the Elemental Bracer is compatible with the action figures and can be used to summon characters with the tokens provided. Packaged in a gumball inspired CDU, Pikmi Pops Bubble Drops are ideal for an eye-catching counter top display. With 24 Bubble Drops characters to collect, including a limited-edition unicorn, the range is sure to drive repeat purchases with collectors. Each ball contains a squeezable Pikmi Pops plush and a surprise message; when squeezed, the plush will blow a squishy glitter-filled bubble. Also new from Pikmi Pops is the DoughMi collection, which includes a wide range of doughnut ‘flavours’ to choose from. More from this brand is in the pipeline for autumn. Just Play’s Spirit Riding Free range will expand with the introduction of engaging new play sets and accessories. The Classic Doll and Horse sets are ideal for any fan. Each horse stands over 5" tall and is accompanied by its human companion, with poseable arms to enable the characters to ride their trusty steeds. The second half of 2019 welcomes the new Spirit Riding Free Deluxe Spirit Walking Horse. Featuring Lucky and her wild mustang Spirit, this set offers an action-packed play experience. When kids press the button on his back, Spirit comes to life with realistic sounds and movement. For more information about these and other key brands from Flair and Just Play, including PJ Masks, Hairdorables and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, please visit the Flair stand.

Alpha Animation and Toys 01293 804 599 | Alpha Animation and Toys will be exhibiting at the Toymaster Show for the second time, and is planning to introduce a range of new products based on its successful portfolio of properties. New toys based on the hit pre-school series Super Wings are set to benefit from the recent launch of Series 3 of the animation on Cartoonito, as well as daily airings on Tiny Pop. High Flying Jett is the hero line; a launcher enables children to send Jett flying over 20 feet into the air. The Build-It Buddies Playset is a 3-in-1 transforming play set with features including a cement mixer, crane and dump truck. New character additions to the Transform a Bots range, based on content from Series 3, offer a lower price point for Super Wings fans to enjoy. Outside of the pre-school sector, Alpha Animation will have new innovations from brands including WWE, SpongeBob SquarePants, Grrrrumball, Terrasect, and Massive Monster Mayhem. Toymaster members are invited to join the company on its stand in Harrogate to find out more about the new launches in feature RC and inflatable play, and about how the firm can help them incorporate the new lines into their existing product offering. Alpha is also introducing a brand-new trade portal specifically designed for its independent customers, key retailers and partners, both existing and new. The Trade Portal is available to use 24/7, offering retailers the convenience of placing their orders outside of trading hours. For more information, or to be set up on the portal, please contact

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Learning Resources 01553 819 38 | Learning Resources had a positive year working with Toymaster in 2018, with several successful product launches and significant in-store support for members. Playfoam Pals, already well received by Toymaster customers, features 12 collectible pods that open to reveal a unique animal character encased in the best-selling Playfoam compound. New to the Playfoam Pals range is Fantasy Friends, available in packs of two and six or an eyecatching CDU display of 12 Pals. noDL is a system of flexible 3D building stems that introduces STEM principles to young learners through play. Just one noDL stem provides endless play possibilities; the weird and wobbly pieces ‘zip’ together to create bouncing balls, rolling wheels, leaping frogs and more – the only limit is the child’s imagination. noDL is available now and comes in tubs of 20 and 60 stems. This summer, Learning Resources is adding Coding Critters to its range of coding toys. Children can learn to code with Scamper the cat, Ranger the dog and Rumble the dinosaur. Each Coding Critter comes with its own unique story and multiple coding challenges. The interactive pets introduce children as young as four to critical thinking, problem solving and STEM with the help of play sets, storybook coding adventures and two interactive modes, making them an attractive entry level coding toy. All the Learning Resources ranges mentioned above will be supported by a targeted marketing campaign including digital and social media, bloggers, YouTube advertising and in-store resources. For more details, please contact Chris Beardmore

Hasbro 0208 569 1234 | Hasbro will be showcasing its new Power Rangers collection at this year’s Toymaster show. The Power Rangers legacy continues with figures, vehicles, collectibles and role play toys from Hasbro, celebrating Ranger teams from Mighty Morphin to the Beast Morphers. The new Power Rangers collection aims to bring teamwork, action and adventure to fans. Core items in the range include the Power Rangers Beast Morphers Cheetah Beast Blaster which is powered by Nerf; and the Electronic Cheetah Claw toy and the Beast-X Electronic Saber, both of which feature reactive sound effects that respond to kids' movements, as they imagine battling monsters and villains as one of the Power Rangers. The collection also includes the Power Rangers Beast Morphers Mask, allowing kids to mask up like the Red or Blue Ranger. Both masks feature design inspiration from the new Power Rangers Beast Morphers TV show, due to air in the UK this autumn. Visitors will also get a first look at Hasbro’s much anticipated Moon and Me collection, ahead of the product launch in Summer 2019.

Cheatwell 02392 524098 | Visitors to the Cheatwell stnd can enjoy seeing new additions to the company’s existing range and take advantage of special offers for show visitors. The new Squeeze Popper range from Cheatwell includes on-trend unicorns, llamas and flamingos. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor play, this collection of 20+ Poppers makes the range an ideal year-round seller. For the duration of the show, Cheatwell will be offering a Proper Popper Deal and invites retailers to visit their stand for further details. Increasing the company’s board and card games range is part of Cheatwell’s strategy for 2019, with new titles such as QuickSand, Eye-Spy With My Little Eye, Pickles to Penguins, Scissors-Paper-Stone and Quiz Bingo joining the extensive back catalogue. Taking classic themes and adding new twists, the company ensures that each game is easy to learn and fun to play, as well as offering great value. The World’s Smallest 1,000 piece and Double Trouble jigsaw puzzles, with spectacular images, are eye-catching on shelf and ideal both as a gift or for personal use. Mini tinned games that retail for under a fiver are superb value for money, and Cheatwell is offering an extra 10% to Toymaster members on a permanent basis across the range, providing an attractive, low cost stock option.

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John Adams 01480 414 361 | John Adams will be showcasing its key ranges at the 2019 Toymaster Show, along with some great show offers. The 2019 portfolio welcomes ColourMazing to the company’s craft range. With this new and exciting way to colour, the ink magically stops at the lines; children watch the colour spread to create perfect pictures every time. Foodie Roos collectibles are cute plush characters that feel and smell like their favourite foods. With 20 characters to collect in series 1, each container has a special ‘peek a Roo’, which gives a hint of what character is inside. John Adams’ range of Ideal branded games is set to grow this year. New for 2019 is Bank Attack – an innovative, cooperative game with six addictive and challenging levels of game play. The game requires 2-4 players to work as a team to crack the vault and release the gold hidden inside. Also joining the extensive games range is Shoot - Flip Facts; a fun higher or lower football trivia game. The first player (or team) to turn over all their cards takes a shot against the opposition’s goalie to win the match. In Shake Off!, the more players shake, the more they score. The spinner determines whether each player must wear the shake-o-meter on the wrist, ankle, bottom or waist and how they must move (jump, run or freestyle). Players press the timer to begin, and start shaking. Science in Wonderland lets kids explore science in a magical fairy garden with five enchanting experiments. Kids can make a kaleidoscope in a tree stump, make a ladybird’s wings flap with solar energy, make a fairy dance, watch flowers bloom in seconds and create colourful butterfly wings. All key new launches will benefit from TV, VOD and digital advertising, plus a full PR and social media plan.

Tomy 01271 336 155 | At the Toymaster show this year, there will be new lines and special deals on the Tomy stand. With over 20 years of experience in infant development, Lamaze provides a vast collection of toys designed to support every stage of development. This year, the range is expanding to include Littles, at a lower £4.99 price point. The Clip & Go range will see three new characters: Flannery Fox, Salty Sam and Barnyard Bob and will also includeToy Story characters. Mini Clip & Gos will join the range. Britains unveils two new licences for 2019, the Fendt 828 Vario Tractor and Vicon FastBale. The brand will also expand its licensed collection with the release of 13 new models from leading manufactures Massey Ferguson, John Deere, JCB, NC and Land Rover, as well as a limited-edition Kane 50th Anniversary Silage Trailer, which is exclusive to Toymaster. A strong multi-channel marketing campaign, including continued partnerships with leading farming events, social media, and consumer adverts and reviews in specialist farm and replica magazines will support the brand. Priced at £7.99, new dress-up collectible range Adorbs encourages repeat purchases with a choice of six different dresses that are easy to wear and affordable. Packaged in glitter capsules that can be used to store the dress, Adorbs is launching in autumn/winter. Available in July 2019, Ritzy Rollerz is a new collectible range of cute and sparkly characters that are not only customisable but also offer hidden surprises. Suitable for ages four to nine years, the collection will launch with a range of single and bestie characters, mobile playsets and a feature Dance & Dazzle Spa playset. Drumond Park and Tomy Games have a strong portfolio of brands such as Articulate, The Logo Board Game, Rapidough and Pop Up Pirate. 12 new games will launch for autumn/winter, with key launches for Adult Games including two brand extensions: Articulate Phrases, a new challenge of describing phrases and not just a word; and Best of Christmas, a twist on the classic Logo game with Christmas trivia for all the family. Family games will also see new releases including hero game Puff Ball, where players have to puff the ball through obstacles to win; and Face It! where players guess facial expressions. Kids Action Games Snap Dragon, Pop Up Olaf, Pump Up Pirates and Pile Up Pirates will join the line-up.

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Exhibitor List Exhibitors





Pioneer Europe

Alpha Animation & Toys



Antony Nunn Agencies

Hobby Company

Plum Products


Hornby Hobbies




Posh Paws


IMC Toys

Rainbow Designs

Big Potato

Innovation First





Bliss Distribution



Boxine UK

John Adams

Royal Brush


Jonathan's Toys




Sales Partnership

Canal Toys




JWS Europe

Siso Toys UK


Kayes of Cardiff


Cheatwell Games

Keel Toys

Spin Master



Spirit of Air

Click Distribution



Coiledspring Games


The Source Wholesale


Learning Resources

DKL Marketing


Epoch making toys





Magic Box




Marvin's Magic

Games Workshop



Melissa & Doug


MGA Entertainment

Golden Bear

Mookie Toys

Great Gizmos

Orchard Toys

Green Board Games


Green Elephant Trading



Paul Lamond



Theo Klein TKC Tobar Tomy Ty Usborne Vivid Warcradle Studios West Design William Lamb Group Wilton Bradley Wind Designs Winning Moves Wow Toys Zimpli Kids VTech

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Pioneer 01279 501 090 |

Guidecraft 07725 833 273 |

The new Pioneer Party collection for 2019 includes fashion focused tableware and coordinated accessories, alongside licensed brands and premium design styles. Popular new styles include Outer Space, Galaxy and Peacock designs. A new Eco-Friendly range will join the Pioneer portfolio this spring. The company has looked at market requirements and utilised new scientific developments to offer customers environmentally friendly and ethical solutions when purchasing partyware. The new range includes compostable, disposable paper products, re-useable products and products made from renewable sources so that both retailers and customers can make ecofriendly choices. The new products decompose quickly and leave no toxic residues when returned to the environment, but still offer attractive, exciting products to enjoy. Ranges with compostable items include stylish Elephant, cool Cacti and fun-loving Dino designs.

Guidecraft educational and STEM-based toys are designed to extend the possibilities of traditional play environments. Showcased at Toymaster will be the company’s range of wooden, plastic, magnetic and mixed-material toys, which encourage children to blend open-ended construction play with the beauty of organic, loose parts they discover outdoors. Popular line Rainbow Blocks can be combined to form new colours and sounds or stacked in a different order each time to form new and exciting shapes. The smooth hard-wood frames and inset coloured acrylic windows of the Rainbow Blocks sets make them ideal for colour exploration and light table activities. Children can learn stacking, sorting, building, sequencing and creating imaginative, colourful constructions. The sets can be used for standalone play or as an extension to wooden block construction. Visitors to the Guidecraft stand at the show will discover many more toys for the early years markets with a focus on organic play patterns and innovative design.

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A major trend over the past year has been the addition of sequins to a wide range of toy products. This has come to the attention of the Administrative Cooperation Expert Group on Toy Safety within the EU Commission, which has issued guidelines that toy suppliers and retailers would do well to heed. Ty, which has been instrumental in popularising the sequin trend, has always been aware of the potential pitfalls. From the start, the company positioned its Flippables range and other sequin products as gift or fashion items rather than toys. However, some of the ‘tributes’ (ahem) that have subsequently jumped on the sequin bandwagon may not have fully considered the ramifications – that may change with this latest pronouncement…


Sainsburys and Asda have attempted to strike back in their protracted battle with the CMA, offering to sell up to 150 stores to help the deal go through. Whether this will be enough remains to be seen: it is plausible that the CMA may feel it has bared its teeth sufficiently and back down, although in many respects, this would simply reinforce the notion that it is a paper tiger, especially after it came out so strongly against the merger… Although it has been a fascinating glimpse into the turbulence which continues to buffet the retail channel, I do wonder whether we have given a disproportionate amount of coverage to Debenhams – in truth, not exactly the biggest player in the toy market. I’ll just round things off by saying that it is just as well that Mike Ashley is not a sore loser, or heaven knows what he might have come out with after his shareholding was wiped out. It’s also interesting that the man being rumoured to head up the restructuring process at Debenhams – Alvarez and Marsals’ Stefaan Vansteenkiste - was previously interim CEO at Dutch toy retailer Intertoys, which has had its own tribulations over the past year. He’s clearly an expert at turning things round – a ‘specialist in failure’ you might even say. There have been suggestions that major changes aren’t likely to happen until next year, which provides brief respite for staff and customers, but the sad reality is that store closures and job losses appear inevitable… Former Shop Direct buyer Neil Mitchell has been appointed as UK & Ireland area manager for KidKraft. It’s a newly-created role, as the company has previously managed the territory from Amsterdam – which suggests that not all international companies are avoiding investing in the UK until Brexit is resolved. That said, I do know of other instances where some overseas investors and toy companies are holding fire, so I hope that fortune favours the brave and rewards those companies which have not taken to hiding under a desk during these uncertain times (metaphorically, or quite possibly physically in some cases)… After a brief absence, Amazon makes a welcome return to Allegedly this month – although I’m afraid absence hasn’t made the heart grow fonder. I can’t be too specific, as I wouldn’t want to implicate any particular sources, but it seems that some of the old tricks I’ve touched on before are still going on: significant sums of money being taken out of accounts without authorisation, huge increases in terms being requested for ‘services provided’ etc. There is an ongoing feeling amongst suppliers that Amazon is ‘encouraging’ them to switch to third-party vendor status through these and other actions. As an alternative, some toy suppliers have apparently bitten the bullet and paid hefty sums for an in-house manager at Amazon, which I guess reflects just how important it is to have someone on the inside who knows how to get the best out of the operation. It will be interesting to see if this proves to be a commercially viable long-term strategy for suppliers - it’s certainly a very different form of retail ‘contribution’…

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The announcement that Boots US owner Walgreens is considering closing stores in the UK will have come as no great surprise, after the retailer claimed it had suffered its “most difficult quarter since the firm’s foundation.” Reading that statement, you had to wonder just how disastrous the sales collapse had been. So, imagine my surprise that said quarter saw a like-for-like decline of a mere 2.3%. I’m pretty sure there are some retailers who might view that performance as not too shabby under the circumstances. Nevertheless, Walgreens has vowed to “optimise its store footprint” (21st century speak for “close some stores”) and increase its planned annual cost savings from $1bn to $1.5bn… I gather that Warwick Brenner and Hasbro have parted company – clearly some things are just not meant to be, although with his extensive knowledge and impeccable connections, I’m sure Warwick will find a new role in the licensing field soon enough. Another development which I suspect came as a surprise to people in the licensing community was the departure of Andrew Carley from eOne. Andrew has been involved since the very start, and he leaves a fantastic legacy – after 12 years of growing Peppa Pig, PJ Masks and the company as a whole into huge global powerhouses, Andrew can feel rightly proud of his tenure. He can be contacted on 07734 066113 or at Like Warwick, Andrew will be a great asset to the right company and I fully expect to see them both returning to the licensing fold sooner rather than later… Over in the US, President Trump has announced measures aimed at cracking down on the sale of counterfeit goods online. Described as a “shot across the bow of Amazon, Alibaba and eBay”, the message is fairly unambiguous: “If you don’t clean it up yourselves, the government will.” There is no doubt that trade policy is where Trump is at his best (and is most comfortable). I have long believed that global government support is needed to truly galvanise e-tailers to deal with the counterfeit problem - if Trump’s threat is genuine and he actually carries it through, it can only help trade associations and suppliers in the ongoing fight against fakes… You have to admire a company which plans ahead – especially in the current ‘hand to mouth’ climate. One customer (coincidentally, a toy buyer himself) recently found out just how far ahead one particular toy retailer works, when he received the following out of stock notification. Unfortunately, I’m not sure the product will still be appropriate by then…(+ pic below)


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Toy World May 2019  

Toy World May 2019