As the only only media outlet invited to the conference in Liverpool, Toy World was given an unparalleled glimpse behind the retailer’s scenes.
The ‘Golden Quarter’ event, as it is known, is attended by around 600 store managers, together with area and regional managers and support staff. The whole idea is quite simple, according to toy buyer Hayley White: “We want to enthuse them, get them hyped up for what is coming up over the next few months. We want them to go home excited at what they’ve seen.”
Laid out much like a trade fair, each product category replicates the optimum in-store layout, so visiting managers can see exactly how their toy section should be arranged for maximum visual impact. And unlike some other high-street retailers, store managers are given a tangible say in what they stock.
So which ranges have been performing particularly well for B&M so far this year? Unsurprisingly, L.O.L Surprise! is the first brand which Hayley mentions: “There are no words – it has almost been too good to be true. The hot weather also meant we sold an incredible amount of pools over the spring summer period. We’ve also enjoyed amazing success with both Fingerlings and the Lego range which we introduced into stores earlier this year. B&M is now very much a destination toy store.”
In tandem with his buying team, composed only of Hayley and her colleague Sarah Atta, Bobby Arora clearly remains very hands-on and passionate about the role which its toy aisles play in the retailer’s ongoing quest for growth. His charismatic, enthusiastic conference presentation not only got the crowd going but also made it abundantly clear that toys is a pivotal category for B&M: “Toys are going to play a massive part in our autumn winter growth strategy. We’re 17% up already this year, and we’re aiming high for Q4 – we want to sell £175m worth of toys over the festive season. We have the best brands, the best trends and the best TV lines. We don’t sell label slaps or toys from movies which didn’t work – just the best-sellers. We’ll sell 1m pieces of Slime, 100,000 Hasbro games, 680,000 L.O.L. Surprise!, 370,000 Hot Wheels and 300,000 Hatchimals.”
To find out more, click here to read the full article which was published in the October issue of Toy World Magazine.