Thursday 28th May – Latest toy industry reaction to coronavirus outbreak

Published on: 28th May 2020

Today, the world of retail continues to adjust, Spin Master makes a sizeable donation, Lego looks to reopen attractions and Rubik’s brand ambassador keeps himself amused.

Shopping centre owner intu has announced that when its centres reopen, a one-way system will be in operation and the amount of people and cars in the centre at a time will be strictly controlled. Floor stickers and signs will direct the flow of shoppers and encourage social distancing. Some parking bays will be closed to limit the number of vehicles and ensure that visitors can park at a safe distance from each other, while hand sanitation stations will be available at entrances and throughout the centre. Centre staff will be given PPE and training to ensure visitors respect social distancing guidelines and escalators, toilets and keypads will be regularly and scrupulously cleaned.

Chief executive Matthew Roberts stressed the need for centres and retailers therein to work together: “Experts from across intu have formed a specialist taskforce which has considered everything we need to run intu centres as safely as possible. This includes working with our brand customers and providing them with all the support they need to reopen safely.” He also appealed to the public to comply with shopping guidelines. “We know we cannot do this alone and everyone who visits our centres, whether for work or to shop, will play their part in keeping themselves and each other safe.”

Although Halfords has been trading from many of Its retail sites during lockdown, customers have been served from a desk at the front of the stores with staff on hand to pick products, or hand over click and collect orders. The company is now set to re-admit customers to 53 of its high-street shops, with what it has described as a ‘retail lite’ model, following trials at the Peterborough and Bristol Cribbs Causeway branches. Being careful to enforce strict social distancing and hygiene measures, the company said there was ‘no timetable or deadline’ for its shop openings, explaining they will only happen once it is confident staff and customers can be kept safe. Marshals will be positioned outside stores to ensure customer levels are kept in check, and the retailer has installed ‘sneeze screens’ at tills. Customers will be encouraged not to handle or try out products in store.

Spin Master has donated almost 90,000 toys, plush, games and activities, at a retail value of approximately US $1m, to children in need in the US and Canada.

“During this difficult time, Spin Master remains committed to providing children with the opportunity to grow and learn through play, regardless of circumstance or setting,” said Ronnen Harary, co-CEO of Spin Master. “Together, with the help of incredible charitable organizations in the US and Canada, we can deliver inspiration, imagination and joy to children during this uncertain and stressful time.”

Charitable partners dedicated to the wellbeing of children have helped distribute a selection of Spin Master products to deserving homes. One of these is Make-A-Wish Canada, which thanked the company for the support: “Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to postpone hundreds of wishes nationally, and this donation will help us bring extra smiles and hope to our brave wish kids waiting for their wishes to come true.”

As Denmark starts to ease restrictions, Legoland Billund and the Lego House are set to welcome back visitors.

The Lego House is scheduled to reopen on June 22nd. Lego has asked guests to “maintain good hand hygiene” and will provide hand sanitiser dispensers. Cleaning regimes have been intensified both during and outside opening hours, and hygiene procedures introduced for all employees. Brick containers within the attraction will be emptied and cleaned every day before being refilled with bricks which have been in 72-hour quarantine.

Equally stringent hygiene and safety measures have been rolled out at Legoland Billund. From June 8th, all visitors must have booked in advance (even those with annual passes) and the number of visitors at one time will be limited.

The attraction has confirmed, however, that the opening of new area Lego Movie World has been postponed until 2021, as work on the new rides had to be halted due to the Covid-19 outbreak. A statement to customers reads: “We know that you were looking forward to it as much as we were, and we are very sorry that you will have to wait a little longer for this exciting new feature. We promise that everything will be ready for 2021, and we also promise that it will be well worth the wait.”

Cementing its support for toy and entertainment industry charity Toy Aid, Rubik’s has revealed that brand ambassador Ernesto has created a Rubik’s cube mosaic. Using 648 Rubik’s Cubes, the mosaic has been widely shared on social media to raise awareness of the initiative, which is raising money for disadvantaged children, young people and their families.


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