Toyshop owners delighted to see customers back interacting with toys, making choices and asking for advice spoke to Sam Giltrow about their latest experiences.
Toyshops in Scotland and Ireland have now joined those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in reopening, and we caught up with a handful of them for the June edition of our regular Talking Shop feature.
Ian Melville of Bright Star Toys in Linlithgow is delighted to be back open. “It has been very busy, which is really encouraging,” he told us. “It’s especially good to see children returning.” Ian has found that ‘pushpoppers and anything squishy’ are selling well and is expecting the trend to continue. “We’ve always had crazes, but I’ve a funny feeling this fidget craze will last longer because it’s not being driven solely by the playground; it’s being driven by social media,” he explained.
At Toys ‘n’ Things in Cardiff, Alison Bowen also enjoyed a successful reopening week. “It was manic when the kids first came in and had all their saved-up pocket and birthday money to spend, and that was lovely to see,” she said. “We are still busy at weekends when it is pocket money day.”
Alison used the time during lockdown to refurbish her toyshop, a move which has been appreciated by customers. She is optimistic about the year ahead. “We always look forward to school holidays when the older kids are able to come into the shop themselves, to have a browse and spend their pocket money, and I’m pleased they are able to do that again. We are quite confident about the rest of the year, and I believe it can only get better,” she said.
Wayne Kincaid of Plaza Toymaster in Llantwit Major has also been inundated with children spending saved-up pocket money. “Now that children are coming back in store, it’s the lower priced nick-nacks that they are asking for,” Wayne told us. He also confided he could sell many more Squishmallows that he has been able to order. Now ready for the summer, Wayne is planning ahead for Q4 this year.
Meanwhile, at Wills ToyShop in Aberdeen, Brendan Will has been able to use his Post Office sales to help gauge how customers will be spending the summer. “We get a feel for what folk are doing and where they are going – at the moment, no one has been buying foreign currency,” he revealed. “Even if we have rubbish weather this summer, people will need plenty to keep them occupied.”
Wayne Kincaid summed up the general mood: “All in all, we are very happy to be back open and our customers tell us that they are too.”
It’s not just pushpoppers and low price point items that are proving popular either. To read the full June Talking Shop feature, and discover which ranges our retailers say are currently in high demand, click here.