Back to reality…it’s the Friday Blog!

Published on: 5th September 2014

Well that’s me done and dusted for holidays this year. My batteries have been suitably recharged, which is just as well, because it’s all systems go from here on.

The Bank Holiday has passed, kids have gone back to school and this is when everything in the toy trade should start to kick up a gear or two. Illustrating just how rapidly Christmas is approaching, there was a tweet doing the rounds last week featuring Will Ferrell’s Elf character shouting “Only 18 Fridays until Christmas”. No doubt toy retailers are getting just as excited.

Another sign that we’re getting to the business end of the year is the announcement that Toy Fair registration has opened. You can register for free here. It will save you the £15 entrance fee that unregistered visitors will have to pay on the day, so it’s well worth signing up in advance.

Loom Bands have been back under the media spotlight after The Entertainer was forced to remove its range of loom band charms from stores after they apparently tested positive for excessive levels of phthalates. It’s never nice when this sort of incident occurs, but it was good to see The Entertainer and its supplier RMS moving swiftly and decisively after the information came to light, in order to mitigate any potential fallout from the situation. As I said in last week’s blog, open and honest communication has always been a hallmark of The Entertainer, which is to their credit.

Tesco shares have dropped to an 11-year low after the retailer cut its full-year profit forecast as its market share continues to decline. New chief executive ‘Drastic’ Dave Lewis (possibly my favourite business-related nickname ever) has been parachuted into his new role earlier than expected, such is Tesco’s concern over its current performance and its need to address the situation. Other supermarkets’ share prices have also fallen in expectation of an impending price war: let us hope that toys doesn’t turn out to be one of the major battlegrounds if this does indeed transpire.

On a more positive note, Frozen licensees and toy retailers will no doubt be delighted with the news that a brand new animated short will be released next Spring, entitled Frozen Fever. Given how well the merchandise is still performing almost nine months after the Frozen movie was initially released, it does illustrate that the shelf life of film-related merchandise isn’t always the short window of opportunity that some people suggest.

I’d like to thank all those who have been in touch to wish us a happy third birthday – it really is appreciated when people take the time to drop us a line, and there have been many kind comments from across the industry, so thanks to you all on behalf of the whole Toy World team.

That’s all for this week, I have a two-week backlog of emails to start ploughing through which I can’t put off any longer. If you’re heading to Autumn Fair on Monday, I look forward to seeing you there.

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