Exclusive: Suppliers discuss support for retail reopening

Published on: 12th April 2021

Toy World editor Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to leading suppliers to discuss how they are supporting toyshops as part of the big retail reopening.

Samantha Goodburn of Gibsons Games described a special offer on all games and children’s puzzles, ready for the big reopening. “With families looking to spend more time off their screens, and to enjoy more traditional pastimes, we hope that this offer will encourage consumers to shop with and support their local retailers when they open their doors again,” she said.

At Geomagworld, Clive Wooster told us how the company has supported all sizes of retailers over lockdown with a drop ship programme, and is keen to ensure stock levels are ready for the reopening. “We have various promotional programmes in place ready for reopening to make sure shelves are full,” he said. “As our manufacturing is undertaken in Switzerland, we’ve had a relatively easy time keeping our stock at good levels in the UK warehouse. If retailers order it, we’ve probably got it.”

Thomas Randrup of Schleich UK & Ireland said: “We have been working closely with retail partners to ensure that they are well informed on all our new products, promotions and marketing activity, and are adequately stocked up to cope with what we all hope will be a significant level of pent-up consumer demand. We’re ramping up our marketing efforts to raise consumer awareness, to help drive demand for Schleich ranges in advance of the big reopening.”

Simon Tomlinson of Learning Resources informed us that the team is working with the ways retailers have adapted their business models. “We’ve seen that many of our partners have vastly improved and upweighted their digital and social offerings, which means that we’re able to work with them on cross platform promotional ideas and messaging, as well as in-store activation and promotions,” he explained. “We’re looking forward to working with our partners to really get these kinds of initiatives off the ground.”

Mary Wood said that Tomy’s No.1 priority for the reopening of non-essential retail is to ensure that there is stock to support toyshops. “Logistics has been one of the biggest challenges so far this year,” she explained. “Between the lack of containers, rocketing container costs, surcharges on deliveries and Brexit, it’s not been easy for suppliers, but we have worked hard to mitigate the negative impacts of these issues so we can support retailers in the best way possible as they open their doors.”

Jordan Sullivan at Waboba has worked closely with UK distribution partner, TKC Sales, to ensure plenty of stock of best sellers and newest products. “We offer a great range of outdoor toys, which are in high demand because outside is the safest place to play,” she told us. “Our retail partners have a lot of fresh, innovative and fun Waboba products to choose from, ready for a busy spring and summer staycation season.”

Brainstorm has been busy keeping in touch with all its key accounts. The company’s team of sales agents has also been presenting to the independent trade. “We have stock, including new items, POS, and our marketing machine at the ready,” said Debra Tiffany. “The reopening of retail very handily coincides with a scheduled push on Aqua Dragons, StikBot and KlikBot, the campaigns for which have TV advertising at their heart.”

Kelly Philp revealed that Mattel is working on ‘some unique and innovative ways’ to encourage customers back into stores, using the latest digital technology. “This will ensure physical stores as well as the digital purchasing opportunities get our support,” she explained. “We want to showcase the breadth and depth of our ranges to consumers and support that magical experience of a child picking a toy in store.”

At HTI, Alison Downie commented: “Our sales team has ensured that stores will be fully stocked and ready to meet demand.” HTI is aware that the return to toy stores will be seen as an important event by many. “We understand that children may not have been able to visit a physical shop for a few months, meaning the first visit to a store will be an exciting one,” Alison explained. “We have worked hard with merchandisers to ensure the products on the shelves are engaging and stand out at a time when this is more important than ever.”

Simon Newbury at Orchard Toys agrees: “Now there is light at the end of the tunnel, we can sense a little more excitement for the year ahead from our retailers.”

In this month’s Touching Base, as well as how they are supporting the big reopening, these suppliers and more also discuss this year’s preview season and the return to physical shows. To read the full feature, which appeared in the April issue of Toy World, click here.



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