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Previews, flash sales and a host of new beginnings…it’s the Friday Blog!

Published on: 30th November 2012

It’s a short and sweet newsflash this week. It’s been a crazy last few days, where I’ve tried – and largely failed – to juggle four customer previews with finalising our December edition for print and keeping on top of a mountain of emails about our January Toy Fair edition and 2013 in general. So I apologise if I’ve been harder to reach or slower to react than usual. It didn’t help that every preview we attended seemed to involve a journey blighted by major traffic disruption. Suffice to say I have been stuck behind the wheel of a car far more than I would ideally have liked this week.

Retail promotions inevitably continue apace. Toys R Us has launched an online ‘Flash Sale’, with up to 60% off certain items (one media observer noted that perhaps the term’ flash sale’ would sit uncomfortably with the public in the light of all the recent flash floods which have been sweeping the country). Argos has been offering a selection of daily Christmas Countdown deals, whilst Smyths, Toys R Us and Asda have all taken full page ads in the national dailies to promote their latest promotional offers (TRU’s ‘3 for 2’ on all Moshi Monsters lines particularly caught the eye).

Hornby has announced that it has relocated the manufacturing of its Humbrol range back to the UK, effectively reversing a move made a decade ago to transfer its manufacturing base to China. Historically, Humbrol always enjoyed a strong ‘Made in GB’ pedigree, and it’s good to see the brand returning to its roots.

Spin Master has acquired the worldwide rights to Wild Planet’s Spy Gear and Hyper Dash ranges, which we were tipped off about some weeks back, but sworn to secrecy until the deal could be officially announced this week. Both brands have admirable track records, and I’m sure Spin Master is delighted to have tied up the deal.

I understand that Sally Plumridge has joined LeapFrog as marketing director – Sally has a tremendous toy trade pedigree, so it’s great to see her back in the fold.

There have been a few whispers doing the rounds suggesting that a certain Hobby-centric retail chain’s owners may be looking to put them up for sale in the not too distant future, but nothing concrete/official.

This weekend sees the much-anticipated official launch of Flair’s new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles range. Last week’s pre-launch event – which saw a handful of toy stores given the opportunity to showcase the range to their customers a week before general release – was by all accounts a huge success, and Flair is understandably excited about TMNTs’ prospects. They revealed their 2013 target for the range at this week’s preview, and trust me, it’s a BIG number (I’m not sure if I’m allowed to reveal the exact figure).

It’s also the Fence Club Ladies Night event this Saturday, arguably the most glamorous night in the whole toy trade calendar. Glad rags are well and truly at the ready, I look forward to seeing many of you there. At least we have Sunday to recover before another undoubtedly manic week to follow. But it’s undoubtedly a far better class of problem; if we weren’t drowning in work at this time of year, I’d be far more concerned.