The company is looking forward to a strong autumn winter season.
The Character Group has published its results for the half-year ending 29th February 2020. While acknowledging that the decline in consumer spending in the UK toy market, the weakness of sterling and uncertainty over Brexit before the 2019 Christmas period had an adverse impact on sales, the Group remained strongly cash-generative throughout the period.
The onset of the global pandemic which has significantly impacted toy sector sales since March was also acknowledged in the report, however the results in the first half were largely unaffected by this factor. Revenue for the period dipped to £51.7m, while operating profits came in at £2.7m.
Standout performers during the six months to 29th February 2020 continued to include Peppa Pig, Pokemon, Goo Jit Zu and Little Live Pets, to be further bolstered by the exciting new launches planned for later in the year.
Having maintained operations to preserve the business-critical functions of the Group and to fulfil demand for its brands and products over the lockdown period, the business is now in a strong position to move on from the lockdown across all the markets in which it operates.
A statement accompanying the results said: “With the proven record of our operational management team to judge the market and swiftly react to the changing environment and conditions, we intend to be fully open for business and to re-establish our prior trading trajectory. With the quality of our brand portfolio, the strength of our customer relationships and the resilience of our cash-generative business model, the Board expects to achieve a profit in the second half and, accordingly, for the current financial year as a whole.”
Fresh collections unveiled at Toy Fair included exciting new distributor lines, as well as some key brands developed in house. Among the highlights are Gotta Go Flamingo, which joins the Little Live Pets range, with playful toilet humour that will appeal to kids. Squeakee the Balloon Dog and Laser Battle Hunters also promise to be major launches of the season, supported by significant global marketing campaigns.
The UK debut of Character’s own Shimmer ‘n Sparkle Instaglam collection is another major focus for Q4. This new property will have a global roll out in 2021 and already has further developments in the pipeline. Another new collection that has received a positive reception from the trade is the new high quality, sustainably sourced Peppa Wood Range, designed with a slightly younger Peppa fan in mind.
Character marketing director Jerry Healy told Toy World: “Together, these products and ranges present one of the most formidable collections that we have showcased to date. While no one is the industry can expect to make up the sales lost during the period of lockdown, with the quality of our brand portfolio, the strength of our customer relationships, the resilience of our cash-generative business model and strong balance sheet, Character expects to return to its normal trading pattern in time for the lead up to the all-important Christmas selling season.”