Exclusive: Letter from America

Published on: 3rd November 2021

In his latest Letter from America column, Rick Derr of Learning Express Toys reveals America’s top problem for indie toy retailers.

This year, Rick is operating with a team he describes as “half the size for double the volume.” As sales ramp up for the business end of the year, the increased sales volume means more inventory to deal with, as well as stepped-up servicing to handle the crowds. “While the economics may shout out great profits,” explains Rick, “we are forced to be careful what we wish for.”

The latest challenge to hit independent toy retailers this year is the current labour shortage across America, and Rick muses why retail
no longer has the attraction as a part-time job or career that it used to.

“The old adage is ‘this too shall pass’ but I wonder if we are witnessing a sea-change, if the bloom is off retail as a job and career?” he writes.

He goes on to detail the measures he takes to attract staff, and to take care of his team. But finding staff is still proving very difficult.

The result is several problems that Rick and his team at Learning Express are forced to confront.

Find out what they are and what he has to say in the full column which appeared in the November edition of Toy World, here.



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