Sam Giltrow catches up with indie retailers to find out how their summer trading has been and what lies ahead in Q4.
It’s certainly been a long, hot summer, and many retailers have been delighted with their takings, boosted by many families once again opting for a staycation.
John Bentley, of Howley’s Toymaster in the prime seaside location of Weymouth, tells us how this year’s summer sales were even better than last year’s, which were expected to be hard to beat.
As with last summer, the shop even ended up opening its doors until 8pm to cater for all the extra trade, and says it will continue with this next year when it is busy.
Among Howley’s biggest sellers were pocket money toys, with holidaymakers liking to pick up smaller treats; these included fidget toys and Funko Pop! Vinyls, as well as the ever popular Pokémon cards.
Toy Arena in Fleet, Hampshire has also had a cracking summer, with Squishmallows in particular proving a big hit. These sales have been driven by the shop’s website and Facebook page promoting new stock.
Linda Hocking tells us that with some customers facing increased living costs, basket spend has been slightly down but the shop has been tailoring its stock accordingly. “We have sourced new lines with lower price points, which we can suggest to customers,” she says.
Toys4You in Sutton Coldfield has just celebrated its first birthday after starting as an online business during the pandemic two years ago, and co-owner Usman Ahmed tells us that trading has been brisk.
Being relatively new to the industry, he has been helped greatly by recently becoming a Toymaster member and is looking forward to being able to offer a wider stock selection to customers this Christmas.
In their regular column, Mark and Stephen from Toy Barnhaus write about how much they are enjoying getting back into supplier showrooms and how the chain is gearing up for the festive period.
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