Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to indie retailers who specialise in Games & Puzzles to find out what’s hot in the category this year and how they stimulate sales in-store.
Although consumers are finding their spending power squeezed more than it has been in decades, Games & Puzzles retailers are still seeing plenty of customers coming in to browse and buy the latest new launches.
Mind Games Southport notes that it ‘must be doing something right’, as it’s seeing familiar faces returning again and again. Co-owners Colin and Chris also explain how Gibson’s popular jigsaw puzzle loyalty scheme and indie exclusives drive traffic to their store, which they say is part of the community. “There are Mind Games customers who pop into the store to say hello just because they are in town that day,” says Chris. “We believe a smile and laughter are important, and this simple activity really helps promote that and gives shoppers something extra to look forward to when they stop by.”
Although business a few weeks back was a little slow, Mike Berry, of Leisure Games in London, says sales have suddenly picked right back up. He adds: “We’re noticing that smaller, cheaper games are selling really well and of course at this time of year travel-friendly games are really popular. In terms of trends, escape room games remain a best-seller, as well as two-player games such as Duel, Splendor, Codenames, Carcassone and Pass the Pigs.”
Mike’s two biggest puzzle suppliers are Ravensburger and Coiledspring Games. He says: “We stock a healthy variety of Schmidt Spiele puzzles from Coiledspring which is very high quality and attractively priced.”
Lisa Dyson tells us her shop Games Crusade has had some of its best months to date recently, with a ‘steady stream of new releases, loyal customers and strong sales’ combining to create favourable trading conditions for the business. Smart Toys and Games’ brain-teasers are a particular favourite at her store, as is Sobek from Hachette, a relatively new supplier.
Hoyles of Oxford is enjoying an ‘astonishing’ year. Emily Hoyle, co-owner, tells Toy World: “We’re up 50% YTD for context, and last year was the best year we ever had. We’re putting this down to a few things and on top of all this, we have absolutely brilliant staff. They know so much about our range and are simply fantastic ambassadors for the business.”
Emily also outlines the many steps the business is taking to become more sustainable, while all this month’s contributors also share their opinions on how the Games & Puzzles category will perform during the festive season.
To find out what else Colin, Chris, Mike, Lisa and Emily have to say about Games & Puzzles retailing, read the full Talking shop feature from the Toy World Games & Puzzles supplement 2022.