Having enjoyed a strong start to the year so far, ToyNews caught up with Character Options’ marketing manager, Mark Hunt, to find out about Scooby-Doo success, Q4 predictions and what’s in store for 2016.

“2015 is one of our strongest Christmas line-ups ever,” says Character Options

Character Options, last year’s toy retailer supplier of the year, has had a strong first three quarters of 2015 and houses some of the industry’s most popular brands in its portfolio.

2016 will see the company embark on a whole new adventure with the launch of Teletubbies, an event in the toy industry calendar that many are looking forward to.

But with that in the future, we spoke with Mark Hunt, marketing manager at Character Options, to find out how the year has progressed so far and whether it has met the expectations of the firm.

How has 2015 been for Character Options?

We have seen growth across a number of core brands such as Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam, Teksta and Scooby-Doo.

Little Live Pets is becoming one our best performing ranges with new mice and turtles performing extremely well. We are continuing to see big volume sales on collectables such as Zelfs and three-inch Minecraft action figures.

New introductions of Clangers and Yummy Nummies are very positive and it’s good to see that a number of key lines, such as Clever Keet, have reached the lists of top toys by the retailers.

What have been the key markets for you this year?

Pre-school remains incredibly important. With Clangers, Weebles, Fireman Sam and Peppa Pig, we have a wide offering for the younger demographic.

We are also having great success with youth electronics. The category is growing and Little Live Pets and Teksta have made a strong contribution to this growth. This is an area we expect to expand further in 2016.

What have you got for Scooby-Doo and why did you think now is the right time to launch these?

This year, we re-launched Scooby-Doo with five-inch action figures at a really affordable price for the younger market. At £2.99, they have driven some serious volume.

For SS16, we will expand on this area as well as introducing hot TV lines like we did with Crazy Legs Scooby this fall.

Are there plans in place for Character to break into any new markets?

Character has a diverse portfolio and we are continually looking to introduce new innovative concepts to the UK.

This has been proven in recent years with ChillFactor and Shimmer and Sparkle Looms. We have some exciting product concepts launching in AW16 so you’ll have to come and see us at Toy Fair and take a look.

What will be your big hitters for Christmas?

We have the amazing talking and singing real bird Clever Keet from Little Live Pets, which has already had some amazing coverage and we expect this to be a stand out toy for Christmas.

In addition, we are seeing a great response to Teksta Scorpion and Princess Rose Peppa. 2015 is one of our strongest Christmas line-ups ever.

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