After the Christmas break Easter is the next important trading period for many retailers, not just the independent toy retailers. It’s usually a good opportunity to make sales because the Easter weekend is traditionally a time people spend at home, and are more likely to take a jaunt to their local high street.
That said, it is always a tricky trading period to predict; just like the weather. Honestly, who could have predicted all the snow and icy-cold winds this year? But despite the inhospitable climate, the overall trading picture does not seem to have been affected as badly as some people might think. In fact, the majority of retailers I spoke to have experienced good footfall and sales over the Easter period, which is very encouraging.
Jon Starling of Starlings Toys said: “The Easter weekend was reasonably busy, despite the cold. We experienced good footfall across all four of our branches. Core toy lines are selling very well; lots of games, puzzles and pre-school lines. As you’d expect, Lego is selling well, helped by a voucher deal through Toymaster. If you ask me, consumers seem to be leaning towards the core categories because they know they can rely on the price, and lasting appeal.” Jon added that the Easter weekend this year was early, “which helps March’s figures, but leaves April to fend for itself; let’s hope we have a good April too.”
Midco Toys, Dave Middleton’s business, saw both stores also experience a strong Easter with respectable footfall. The business saw robust sales driven by pocket money toys (Moshi Series 6 doing particularly well), and the new Iron Man 3 Lego was proving popular.
Alan Caswell of Arcade Toy Shop said that “business was good across most categories”, and that it was only really when it snowed heavily that there was any noticeable drop in customers. Strong products for Alan included BinWeevils, Moshi, My Little Pony, Monster High and Lego.
Helen Gourley of the Toy Hub said: “Good Friday was phenomenal, and we did better than we ever could have expected on Easter Sunday; we were very busy. I gave a member of staff the day off on Good Friday, and we had so many people coming in that I had to come in and help. For girls, we saw a lot of Ty Beanies selling, probably because they’re a nice alternative to chocolate, and for boys it was all about the Lego. Games also did very well for us, especially the Paul Lamond Scrambled Egg game which flew off the shelves. We also sold a lot of travel games, which was our featured product we placed right by the doors.”
So, as you can see, it’s been an encouraging Easter weekend for the independent toy retailers. Look out for the May issue of Toy World which will feature a more in-depth look at the Easter trading period.
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