Tuesday 7th April – Latest toy industry reaction to coronavirus outbreak

Published on: 7th April 2020

Today’s roundup sees Debenhams confirm its next step, while there’s more online fun offered by enterprising toy companies.

Debenhams has now confirmed that it will file for administration. The company has described the process as a “light touch” administration to protect it from legal action from creditors while stores are closed.

CEO Stefaan Vansteenkiste said “We have taken this step to protect our business, our employees, and other important stakeholders, and are striving to protect jobs and reopen as many Debenhams stores for trading as we can, as soon as this is possible.” He did not say how many of Debenhams’ 142 branches would reopen after the lockdown.

Debenhams has furloughed the majority of its staff, although the retailer is still trading online.

Marvin’s Magic has joined the many companies offering free online entertainment during the lockdown, with magical entertainment and fun for all the family. At 3pm yesterday, fans were able to enjoy live magic tricks and challenges from magician Sacha, on a link accessed via the company’s Facebook page.

“Here at Marvin’s Magic, the magic will always continue & we are doing our bit to lift spirits with some magical entertainment and fun for all the family to enjoy. Best wishes from Marvin and all at Marvin’s Magic,” read the invitation. For further magic sessions, check Facebook.

Asmodee has created free print & play versions of some of its most popular family games for anyone to download, print and enjoy at home. The Asmodee team is working on adding more games in the coming days. Read more here.

Amanda Alexander of Giddy Goat Toys in Didsbury has reported that her toyshop is still going strong, thanks to a decision to start working with and Clearpay UK. Giddy Goat Toys has received a high volume of online orders, which are being processed and packed in the shop.

Despite almost every other sporting event being postponed or cancelled around the world, WWE‘s biggest show went ahead over the weekend, as WrestleMania 36 took place behind closed doors. The event was pre-filmed and there were no fans in attendance because of the coronavirus pandemic. Broadcast over two nights instead of the usual one, the event saw Drew McIntyre become the first ever British WrestleMania champion. In recent weeks, WWE’s Raw and SmackDown events have also taken place in empty venues.

“Love that modern technology made it possible for our annual WrestleMania party to still happen. And we got to do it for two nights – bonus!!!” said one delighted fan.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has clarified the status of certain essential roles that have been given the all clear from the government to keep working during the coronavirus lockdown. “You’ll be pleased to know that we do consider both the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers,” she announced in a briefing. “But I say to the children of New Zealand, if the Easter Bunny doesn’t make it to your household, then we have to understand that it’s a bit difficult at the moment. The Easter Bunny might not get everywhere this year.” The Prime Minister has posted a template Easter egg on her Instagram for children to colour in and decorate and encouraged everyone to display pictures of Easter eggs in their windows, to create an Easter hunt for neighbourhood children. She also promised to share some of the designs on social media.


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