This month’s Talking Shop features Chocoloons in Coleraine, Plaza Toymaster in Llantwit Major, Thorntons Toymaster in Chippenham, David Rogers in Northern Ireland and, of course, Toy Barnhaus.
As indies ready themselves for the final push before the big day, several took time out from the busy shop floor to chat to Marianna Casal about how sales have been going this festive season.
Teresa Carter of Chocoloons tells us that most of the children that visit her shop are attracted to smaller items that look fun. She has noticed that parents are looking more towards lower price points too: “Not the pick-up lines, but items at £20-£40 rather than high value items.” She adds: “If they do spend on higher priced items, they’re looking for ones which have genuine play value and won’t stay in the cupboard for most of the year.”
At Plaza Toymaster, Wayne Kincaid has brought in larger licensed play sets such as Paw Patrol, Thomas & Friends and Hot Wheels for Christmas. “We don’t stock these much during the rest of the year as demand just isn’t there,” he says, “but they are popular as presents.” Wayne has seen a comeback for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with the summer movie driving licensed toy sales among kids and adults alike.
Justine Elliott at Thorntons Toymaster has expanded on stock of her best-sellers: Squishmallows, Pokémon, Funko Pop, Ty and Tonies to keep momentum going. Looking ahead, Justine has already placed orders for Q1 and will be attending London Toy Fair and other trade shows in order to plan for the rest of 2024.
Jonny Rogers of David Rogers Toymaster expects to sell a similar mix of products this year. “Christmas always happens and most parents will cut back on other things to ensure they give their children nice presents,” he explains. He adds a note of caution though: “I do think we might struggle to sell all of the new ‘top toys for Christmas’ as the big retailers have been selling so many of them at cost price or below. So, as well as the high-profile lines, we’ll focus on the lines we can make margin on.”
Mark Buschhaus and Stephen Barnes of Toy Barnhaus tell us: “People are asking for Bitzee from Spin Master, and the Barbie brand is still massive. Pokémon continues to be in high demand, as well as Disney Lorcana Chapter 2. A couple of new games are really taking off, such as Winning Moves’ Squishmallows Monopoly and PlayMonster’s Pigs on Trampolines.”
All our retailers are juggling coping with the busy festive season and planning ahead for Q1 24. Find out what else they had to say in the full article, which appeared in the December edition of Toy World, here.