Prepare yourselves for more own branded toys and games, is the message from High Street giant John Lewis this year.
The group has told ToyNews that toys will continue to be a major focus for the retailer throughout 2015, following the tremendous success it saw in the sector thanks to the demand for plush Monty and Mabel Penguins – the stars of its Christmas 2014 campaign.
Last year, the retailer expanded its range of plush animals from Hansa to accommodate the 53 per cent increase in sales of cuddly toys in November.
Meanwhile, a successful pre-Christmas shopping period saw John Lewis achieve record-breaking sales of toys, helping the group finish on a “very strong year.”
The firm is now developing a more extensive own brand offering that it will showcase alongside popular toy brands in new store openings throughout this year.
“We have had a strong year,” John Lewis’ toys and books buyer, Ian Ellis, told ToyNews. “We have experienced some record breaking weeks in toys and our brand programme goes from strength to strength.
“We will continue to drive the toy business this year, and we are developing a more extensive own brand offer alongside showcasing must-have toy brands and our new store openings will help us achieve this.”
With new products from its own brand developers launching this year, the firm is confident of continuing success to match that of 2014.
Elsewhere, Ellis hints that in-store activity will also be another major focus for the group in driving consumers to John Lewis stores throughout 2015.
“We have seen some great new products from our branded suppliers launching which means that on a brands front, we are hoping for a strong year,” he continued.
“We hope to continue to build on the success we have had from some smaller brands, and own brand continues to be a focus.
“John Lewis provides a point of difference in the toy industry; we will continue to showcase brands and hope with the developments planned in 2015 to bring an even greater experience in-store.”
Alongside toys, the firm has also grown its online business and states that online shopping will remain a key factor to its future success.
“Our website continues to be really popular with customers and from that we hope to continue to drive our growth,” Ellis concluded.