Boys holding their own, but girls sales are patchy

According to the British Retail Consortium, miserable weather has washed out hopes of a summer boost for retailers, already suffering the slowdown. Annual like-for-like sales fell in five of the last six months, the first time this has happened since 2005.
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This year in August, UK retail sales values fell one per cent on a like-for-like basis, from August 2007. Sales have now been lower than a year ago in five of the past six months, the worst since summer 2005.

As for the toy market, sales fell four percent behind August 2007, impacted by Outdoor/Sports’ decline as well as Dolls and Plush. Year to date the market is just about holding flat in value and up five per cent in units sold. Outdoor sales were poor and discounting became more prominent in August.

On the other hand, Building Sets was once again the star category with a strong growth this month, driven by a strong performance from Lego. Star Wars gained points in the category with Clone Wars and the promising Agents range taking shares too.

Staying with boys, Action figures are showing a growth of six per cent year to date even though sales for the last two months have not been able to match Transformers’ peak from last year. Ben 10, however, has reached new heights with over £1 out of £5 spent on the category and Star Wars has been propelled into second position. A good result for Batman and Wall-E along with a strong month for WWE meant difficult times elsewhere.

On the girls side, the Dolls market continues to decline with losses seen across Fashion Themed Dolls and Nurturing Dolls. In My Pocket, Sylvanian Families, Littlest Pet shop, Baby Born and My Baby continue to thrive whilst more established brands are looking for a new breath of fresh sales. Arts & Crafts—strongly girls’ biased—is still in decline for the year to date except for Reusable Compounds (Play Doh & Moonsand) and Mechanical Design.

Youth Electronics is looking stronger in August with a five per cent growth year on year. This was mainly fuelled by some Wall-E electronic products as well as the rise of Hannah Montana in the last month. The super category, however, is still waiting for new high price point leaders to boost sales in the run up to Christmas. All Other toys recorded a strong growth driven by Children’s Furniture and Worlds Apart. Plush is still strong in the year to date but down in August, as we compare monthly performance to the launch of In The night Garden last year during this time.

Top five properties, August 2008:
1. Ben 10
2 Star Wars
3 Thomas and Friends
4 In the Night Garden
5 Bratz

Best property progression: August 2008

Lego Agents
Lego Agents currently at 62 for August but with a 300 per cent growth over July 2008 and Magnext from Mega Brands currently at 159.

Best Item Progression:

V-tech’s First steps Baby Walker jumped from number 12 to number six in Aug 2008. There was also a big jump from Geemac’s Wall-E Interactive up from number 58 to 17.

Average Price
July 08 £5.39
August 08 £5.89

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