First up this week, a quick reminder that the deadline to enter the Toy Retailer of the Year awards is today. So if you’re a retailer – of any shape or size – and thinking of entering, you need to get your skates on. I’m reliably informed that the online entry process is straightforward: you only need to come up with 500 words (i.e. less than this blog) and a couple of photos that make a compelling case for why you should win, so there really is no excuse for not applying. I am proud to be one of the people who sits on the judging panel, and there have definitely been occasions in the past where I’ve been disappointed to see certain retailers – some small, some large – which we can’t ultimately consider for an award because they hadn’t bothered to fill in the application. So it would be great if you could make the decision-making process even harder this year by giving the panel more choices to argue over. You can enter online here.
I’m delighted to announce that we have a whole new editorial team on-board at Toy World: deputy editor Emily Ansell Elfer, together with editorial assistants Daniel Rich and Louis Kerry, make up the new, expanded Toy World editorial department, headed by yours truly. You can find the new team’s contact details in a separate online story today, or on the ‘meet the team’ page of our website. So feel free to get in touch with them, and- most importantly- please help us all by getting your editorial submissions in for Toy Fair, Nuremberg and Spring Fair as soon as possible. The official deadline is Monday, so I thank you in advance for sticking as closely to that as you are able. I know how busy everyone is at this time of year, but the January edition is going to be massive, accompanied by a comprehensive Spring Fair Supplement, so we have a huge volume of copy to produce and your co-operation would be hugely appreciated. And if you’ve been so busy that you still haven’t booked your Toy Fair ads yet, you will be relieved to know there is still time – just – for you to be part of what I’m confident will be the biggest and best Toy Fair Preview issue around.
Today is, of course, Black Friday: another ‘modern tradition’ imported from America, which is slowly but surely catching on with certain elements of the UK retail community. Today is actually predicted to be the biggest- ever online shopping day in Britain (although I suspect the people saying that have a mighty vested interest in making that claim). For many people, today is also November payday – so bricks and mortar retailers will no doubt be looking forward to a bumper weekend’s trading too. Hopefully everyone is well stocked and ready for the surge.
Earlier this week, NPD reported that Frozen has hit the top spot in its licensing chart for the first time this year, and is on track to perform better than Toy Story 3 did at its peak in 2010. Of course, this being the toy trade, some people are already asking whether Frozen will begin to tail off next year. For what it’s worth I’m of the opinion that won’t be the case, but I can see why some believe it can’t possibly keep going at its current rate, especially now it is verging on being over-licensed. It will be interesting to gauge reaction at the shows in the New Year.
But there’s a long way to go before then (at least that’s what I keep telling myself, knowing how much we still have to do before we break up for the festive season). In the meantime, fingers crossed for a buoyant weekend for retailers of every shape and size.