Toytown’s head of buying for just under a decade, Brian has decided the time is right to take on a new challenge outside the toy industry.
Brian Simpson, head of buying at the successful toy retail chain SMF Toytown, has announced that he is to leave his position on 16th April.
Speaking openly with Toy World last night, Alan Simpson, Toytown’s managing director and Brian’s father, said that while the news was something of a surprise to him, Brian goes with his total blessing and best wishes for the future.
“I, as well as Brian’s older brothers Kris and Mark, who oversee accounts and logistics respectively, will obviously be very sad to see Brian go, but I will never make decisions on behalf of any of my children,” said Alan. “It’s clear to me that he’s thought this through and his reasoning is sound; he simply wants to challenge himself with something new, and gain more experience in a totally different industry. I’m not going to try and talk him out of leaving Toytown – he has my full support.”
According to Alan, Brian’s announcement comes as Toytown is celebrating its strongest ever year, with the retail chain more than doubling its profit on 2019. Toytown operates on a turnover-rent basis, which has meant that during the pandemic, with its stores closed, it hasn’t owed landlords rent on locations not generating income. A decision Alan made 10 years ago, the operating model has resulted in Toytown boasting an exceptionally strong balance sheet. That position of strength, and the stability that comes with it, has reassured Brian that the time was right for him to move on. Following a number of successful interviews, he will now head up buying for a large food manufacturer based in Ireland.
“While fulfilling the role of head of buying at Toytown, Brian has had my complete and total trust,” Alan continued. “He came into the company as my shadow while I was in charge of buying, and within a year I had handed all responsibility over to him completely. I’ve never had to keep an eye on him, query his decisions or check what he was up to. As a buyer, his performance has been nothing short of exemplary, and, as my son, I am incredibly proud of what he’s achieved and will continue to achieve in the future.”
Brian leaves such big shoes to fill that Alan is reluctant to appoint a new head of buying, telling Toy World that the role will instead be covered by himself and another buyer already within the business.
Once Brian leaves, the business will continue to expand, with four or five new store openings on the cards for this year. May will see a new Toytown open on the outskirts of Birmingham, while Edinburgh will welcome a store in June; the other locations are yet to be announced. Voids left by the Arcadia Group’s administration need to be filled, and landlords are keen to fill them with stable, high-performing retail destinations such as Toytown.
“Toytown has never been stronger,” finishes Alan. “We’re obviously going to miss Brian and his influence on the business, but he leaves it poised for another superb year. We’re looking forward to our upcoming store openings, welcoming customers back, and returning to doing what we do best; selling toys, and selling them well.”
Toy World would like to wish Brian the very best in his new role.