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Back in its rightful place…it’s the Friday Blog!

Published on: 8th August 2014

After last week’s temporary switch, the blog is back in its traditional Friday slot this week.

Thankfully last Friday’s office move went as smoothly as we could have hoped for, and we’ve already welcomed our first visitor, who seemed suitably impressed with our new surroundings. This does mean that we all have new direct dial phone numbers, which can be found in an ad on the homepage of the website, and also in the latest edition of Toy World.

The Argos catalogue has been live for almost two weeks, and some people are already getting positive reads, which bodes well for the festive season. One person told me that the initial figures on some of his listed lines are four times what had been forecast, and he’s frantically trying to ascertain how he can boost production in order to cope with demand.

But apparently not everyone has been as fortunate. I have received several calls from people telling me that Argos has suffered major online problems during the first week of its catalogue launch. It seems that whole sections of the website had to be taken down as links weren’t working or were incorrect, certain products were missing and, crucially, orders couldn’t be placed. For those poor souls, the first week’s numbers have presumably been significantly reduced, which will surely have a massive knock-on effect on their forecasts. I’m not sure quite how widespread the problems are, but for those who have been affected, I can only imagine what sort of week it has been.

I understand that it was the Argos away day yesterday: I just hope there were a lot more people in attendance who fell into the first of the above camps rather than the second.

Elsewhere Walgreens has announced its intention to acquire the remaining 55% stake in Boots. Assuming the move is successful (and most observers believe it will be), it will be interesting to see what effect this might have on Boots’ toy buying approach moving forward. My recollection of Walgreens’ toy offering in the States is that it’s markedly different to the Boots toy department in the UK, so whether the UK model will change to reflect its new owner’s philosophy remains to be seen.

As announced in the blog some while back, Nikki Herrmann has now started in her new position as global brand director at Fremantle, while Paul Chandler has joined Disney Consumer Products as senior category manager for boys’ toys. Best of luck to them both in their new roles.

Finally, as the success of Frozen continues unabated, it seems that not everyone has been able to deliver a fantastic Frozen experience for their customers. Barnes and Noble in Pittsburgh has come in for some heavy criticism after it advertised the chance to meet the characters from Frozen. Here is the evidence: I’m guessing Disney didn’t officially approve these particular characters…..

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