Springboard reports that UK retailers saw their biggest footfall increase since April this year over half term and toy stores with the right product reaped the benefit.
Springboard’s latest research reveals that UK retail footfall rose by 8.2% last week, compared to the previous week, giving shopping destinations a welcome bounce back from the effect the cost-of-living crisis has been having on consumers.
Shopping centres across the UK saw footfall rise by +10.7%, while it increased +8.7% in high streets and +4.2% in retail parks, according to the report. In coastal and historic towns, which benefit from tourist traffic, footfall was +18.2% and +10.8% higher than the week before, as well as being +12.5% higher in major cities.
Toy retailers traditionally experience an uplift during half term; a slew of price promotions stimulate sales and encourage shoppers to begin their Christmas shopping in earnest. Will Osbourne, of Osborne Sports & Toys in Rushden, told Toy World: “October half-term traditionally gives us a pre-Christmas boost and from then on, the countdown to Christmas is on.”
Jon Scrivens of Hamlins in Berkhamsted has been pleased to see customers shopping early and not cutting back too much. “People seem OK to pay out what they were planning to on the ‘big presents’ but will maybe spend less on stocking fillers – they’re looking for quality over quantity,” he explained.
Dave Middleton, owner of Midco Toys, has experienced bumper sales on several sought-after lines over the half term holiday. He commented: “Despite the cost-of-living crisis, when you’ve got something they want, food and electricity go out the window.” He reported that, in his Midco Toy Planet stores, Stranger Things remains the hottest licence of 2022, with two FSDUs of Stranger Things Funko Pops selling out in just four hours. “The phone hasn’t stopped ringing since we posted on socials,” he said.
Another day during the week saw customers queueing at 8am for the hotly anticipated Pokémon Charizard Ultimate Premium collection, which sold out within minutes (at £120). During half term, Dave said he had had the best Friday of 2022, and that sales were on par with the run up to Christmas. He put this down to a combination of timing – as well as half term, it was pay day – and to getting his product mix right.
The Pokémon Trading Card Game continues to be a key footfall driver at Toy Barnhaus, which operates seven branches across Sussex and Surrey. Owners Stephen Barnes and Mark Buschhaus told Toy World that Squishmallows, L.O.L Surprise! Fashion Show and FIFA World Cup dolls, and Zuru’s Mini Brands all continue to bring in customers.
Dave Middleton concluded: “Having the right products beats the cost-of-living crisis. Never underestimate the independents.”
Toy World keeps its finger on the pulse of retail with our extensive network of contacts. You can read about some of these in the latest Talking Shop feature from our November edition here. If you have any comments for future inclusion, or any retail news, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.