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Two days to go, top 10 toys and Merry Christmas to you all, it’s the Friday blog

Published on: 23rd December 2011

Two final shopping days to go, and we’re there. So will the fact that Christmas Eve falls on a Saturday have a positive impact on the final week’s sales figures? NPD certainly seems to think so, citing the fact that the last time it happened (2004), there was a last-minute surge in demand. I guess it’s inevitable that there will be a few brave souls – I’ll say it before someone else does, mainly men – running around buying up whatever is left on the shelves at this stage. But I can’t imagine that too many mums would leave present buying for their children to the final day, surely they’re far too organised for that? But either way, I hope the final few hours of pre-Christmas trading give retailers a last little boost before we ‘turn the dial back to 0’ and start all over again.

The toy industry had one final burst of media coverage this week, when This Morning featured a segment featuring the ‘Top 10 Toys’, which were subjected to rigorous testing by kids and Eamon Holmes. On the plus side, for once they all seemed to work! Eamon particularly enjoyed the Nerf Blaster, whilst Alison Hammond surely alarmed parents everywhere when she described Fijit as “coming in lots of colours, so it’s collectable” (In your dreams, Mattel….).The segment closed with the words “It’s not too late, everything is still in stores”, which perhaps isn’t something they could say every year.

Although many companies are winding down for Christmas, there have still been several announcements of note this week. Peterkin’s distribution arrangement with Early Learning Centre is an interesting concept, and one I personally believe in. ELC were always really strong in certain categories, and I think that those independents who choose to see through any potential ‘conflict’ (which I think is far more in their mind than the consumer’s) will be richly rewarded. Mondo’s tie-up with Thinkway on its Batman range is another fascinating opportunity, and one which shows how far Mondo has come in recent years.

Personally it’s been a strange week. I paid a whirlwind visit to a client in Spain, and came back with the worst bout of food poisoning I’ve ever experienced. Hence the last two days have been far from pleasant, and not at all helpful at our busiest time of the year. But these things happen, and at least I wasn’t on the plane when it started to ‘develop’. Someone told me of a buyer who experienced a similar problem on a plane travelling to Hong Kong some years ago, which I can only imagine must be a complete nightmare.

All that remains is for me to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. We’ll be working through next week, so there will be one final blog of 2011 to come, in which I might reveal which major supermarket buyer will soon be moving on to pastures new (depending how brave I feel…).