Another year of shows out of the way, and there was plenty of buzz around Toy Fair as most retailers seemed to come out of the year with less stock and buoyed by a good first couple of weeks in January (let?s not mention what?s happened since though).
I heard several complaints of lack of innovation, however. Not sure that I would agree, but I guess that it was ‘steady as she goes’ with safe ranges expanded and poorer sellers relegated to a sidewall that we would miss.
Seriously, why do they bother to have those silly little rooms that supposedly hide from geeks and the outside world all the latest toys from films, TV and other manufacturers?
The trailers shown have been on the internet already, and the images of most of the toys are already out there. I think I saw one range that I didn’t already know about and that is now in the public domain following the New York Toy Fair. I do have a suspicion that next year we are going to have our phones taken away from us...
Who did I like? Well, Melissa and Doug is always a great stand to visit; never has a company amazed me with how they operate their UK operation. When we were told a few years back that they would call from the US, that they would run the UK shows by parachuting in sales guys from the States, we all laughed and thought, give you a year…
However, year on year they bring in ranges from their vast American line and at first look you think no chance, but you look again, look at the pricing and think, just maybe.
Lego was great and Playmobil had a very strong range again. I bet Paul Lamond couldn’t believe the reaction to Subbuteo and it just goes to show, ‘if it ain’t broke don’t bugger about with it’.
Hasbro never fails to excite with its line; all the film properties looked great and Nerf was very strong. I’m all for guns that fire the darts/discs further as it means we sell loads more refills. Kre-o was at last available for people like me to stock, but the two exclusive partners from last year had it half price before I could get it.
The biggest disappointment has to be the demise of Lite Sprites. In my first ramble last year after Toy Fair, I highlighted it as a fantastic product that once was in the hands of a few would start to take off.
Mumsnet then flagged it up and away it went, only for the States to have nicked the UK stock. This was always going to be a year two product and with WowWee now not running Lite Sprites in the UK, it goes into the same toy box as others which weren’t around for long enough like Starcom and Princess Magic Touch.
And, as for Moshiland, I’m still taking the aspirin to get my head round it all…