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Exclusive: Toy World speaks to Menkind’s chief executive Paul Kraftman

Published on: September 9th, 2019

In late July, Menkind announced the appointment of Simon Calvert to the newly created role of managing director.

Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to chief executive Paul Kraftman about what this means for the business, and how the retailer is approaching the toys, games and gifts category in the latter half of the year.

“[2019 has so far] been very positive, and we’re really pleased with the way things are going,” says Paul. “A tough couple of years resulted in us undertaking a considerable amount of work to refine and improve our proposition, and we’re now enjoying a return to growth. Since April, the beginning of our financial year, we have grown every month like-for-like. Considering the current market, I think that’s pretty good.”

Collectibles, especially licensed goods, are performing well at Menkind, which offers what it calls ‘Original gifts for original people’. Forming a major driver for the business, Menkind’s success with collectibles is reflecting the strength of collectibles within the wider toy marketplace, where it’s one of the strongest toy categories.

“Radio control toys is another key category for us,” adds Paul. “While, on the whole, it’s ticking along OK, it’s somewhat starved of newness, which is creating a challenge. Within radio control we have drones and flying toys, and are very successful in the lower-priced, toyetic end of the market. High-end drones which sit around the £100-150 mark are suffering the most, but the core toy price band, around £20-30, is doing brilliantly. We’ve got a couple of our own SKUs, and they are performing well. The trend for drones really took off over the last couple of years (if you’ll excuse the pun), but the bigger, more expensive ones require a higher level of commitment from the owner; they need to be flown outdoors, away from trees and other obstacles, which can involve a drive somewhere away from home and means that they aren’t a very spontaneous thing to play with. The more low-cost, basic ones – that can be flown around the house by kids straight out the box – are faring much better. There’s still a healthy demand, as our success with them shows.”

To read the full interview, which was published in the September issue of Toy World, click here.

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