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Toy World exclusive – Tesco’s John Hext talks toys and games

Published on: August 9th, 2018

John, head of buying: Toys & Nursery at Tesco, spoke exclusively to Toy World about Carousel own-brand ranges and the strength of the collectibles market. 

Tesco has welcomed 16 new or refreshed SKUs in its Carousel own-brand range this year, and expanded into games & puzzles with new additions including Donk-a-Dino, the Pet Mate Chess Set, Safari Surgery, and the Tumble Tower.

The retailer has also gone in hard on toys with an unboxing element. The Christmas range includes Pikmi Pops Season 2 from Flair, MGA’s Ready to Robot, Spin Master’s Party Popteenies and Hatchimals Colleggtibles, and, new from Character Options, Treasure X.

We spoke to John Hext, head of buying: Toys & Nursery, to find out more.

What are the strongest ranges in toys for Tesco at the moment?

Looking at recent performance, and also forward to autumn/winter, Carousel has exceeded expectations for us. Our outdoor toys have been a great fit for the brand which is perhaps down to the age group, having launched in pre-school toys. And as you will have seen at our Christmas in July event, the Carousel brand continues to grow with the introduction of games, which are proving to be a massive hit with everyone that’s been playing with them.

There aren’t many questions relating to toys at the moment that don’t call out L.O.L. Surprise! When you consider the performance of the brand over the past 12 months, and that it combines not only a collectible element but one of dolls and unboxing too, it’s been an absolute phenomenon. It’s great to see that MGA is continuing to develop the range and keep it fresh, and hopefully it will remain as popular as it is for some time yet.

What are Tesco’s plans for the autumn/winter period?

As always, toys play a key role in our seasonal plans, which starts with us switching our focus out of outdoor toys as we launch into the autumn/winter season. We have a fantastic toy range space, and we will take outdoor toys out of this, placing much more focus on the autumn/winter proposition with more space being dedicated to games. Our range space is key to our plans, but we’ll also see big events tailored to the various customer missions throughout the season, moving through from autumn/winter starting at the beginning of September right through to Christmas day.

To read the full interview in the August issue of Toy World, click here.

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