Exclusive: Letter from America – what a year for the indies!

Published on: 6th December 2021

In his final column of the year, Rick Derr celebrates how 2021 turned out and concludes there IS a Santa Claus…

“We all are jumping for joy as the year winds down,” says our US based columnist Rick, owner of independent toy store Learning Express in Lake Zurich, Illinois. Writing in mid November, with several weeks to go until Christmas, Rick was confident enough to draw a handful of interesting conclusions from the year.

“This has been our personal best year ever,” he writes. “Learning Express Toys as a group has had its best year ever and the numerous indies I have spoken to say the same.”

He goes on to share what he and his team learned from the Covid recovery year 2021, and tells us what his main sales drivers have been. “The girl pictured drove three hours to get her exclusive Terry the Turkey Squishmallow – and, as you can see, she loved it,” he enthuses.

With more on Rick’s year in focus, which saw dollar sales increase, margins and footfall show an upturn and an increase in price points accross all ranges, read the full column, which appeared in our December edition, here.

He concludes: “To all indies everywhere—the news is good, the worst did not happen, and the best possible outcome did. There is a Santa Claus.”


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