Exclusive: Times like these – touching base with suppliers

Published on: 10th June 2020

Toy World spoke to manufacturers to find out how they have been coping during the lockdown, and how they’ve been supporting retailers.

Here’s a snapshot of what suppliers told us in the June issue of Toy World.

Phil Ratcliffe of MV Sports & Leisure confessed: “home working isn’t for me,” but reassured Toy World that MV has continued to fulfil a high volume of orders. “We’ve coped reasonably well and have managed to keep shipping through a period of heightened demand for wheeled and outdoor products, thanks to our brilliant warehouse and essential HQ staff.”

Ben Hogg confirmed that Asmodee UK is continuing to operate as closely to normal as possible, with demand for games high during lockdown. “The situation has had different levels of impact on our customers, from nationals to independents,” he explained. “So the key is to be flexible, according to each retailer’s circumstances.”

At Lego, the company is working hard to minimise the disruption caused by the pandemic. As well as working closely with retail partners to help support their needs, Marius Lang told us how The Lego Group has launched several initiatives to support families, including working with charity partners and launching the #letsbuildtogether programme.

As retail shifted largely online, Wilton Bradley is just one of the companies that has been forced to adapt its working practices to fully support retailers, as Ross Bradley explained: “Ensuring that our retailers are receiving stock in a timely manner, to try and help meet the uplift in consumer demand, is key to our ongoing relationships.”

Hexbug’s Gareth Jones discussed the difficulty of having to make decisions, “not just based on what we know today but what we think may happen in the days and weeks to come.” Despite the challenges the company is facing, he told us that Hexbug is continuing with plans to launch new ranges.

Nicola Bergot is proud of how the team at Flair has adapted to home working: “Staff have been superb in their understanding, support, enthusiasm and flexibility,” she told us. Nicola is already looking to the future: “Post-lockdown, we know that both businesses and the wider toy industry may be different. We’ll all have to help each other,” she added.

To read more from these industry experts, see the full article in the June issue of Toy World here.


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