Our mystery toy retailer shares their thoughts on the 2013 toy fair season, from busy stands to giant halls and fresh product, and tries to hunt down the next big thing.
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And breathe.

At last - the toy shows are all over and we can all get back to doing our normal day jobs.

So how did the shows go this year? Well, the general consensus seems to suggest they were steady but nothing exciting emerged. I'm not sure I agree, but if we were all looking for the next big thing to excite the toy trade, there wasn’t anything that hit you between the eyes.

However, there were some great new products and it was nice to see some old faces back; I hope VTech and Famosa found the show worthwhile coming back to.

Some strange stands were present - I couldn’t get my head round why some companies only showed a limited range with new items not even on show.

LEGO's was always going to be a busy stand, but even when it was packed with customers I think the staff outnumbered us by two-to-one. Great product though.

Our good friends at Flair could do with more space. It does feel a little less like walking round IKEA's one-way system... but then again you don’t miss anything, so maybe it is right.

As for time, it's just about achievable to get round the whole Toy Fair in three days, if you visit some stands at Spring Fair too, but I know some of the agents struggled to see all of their customers. I do understand the arguments on cost and logistics, but it’ getting a little tight on time now.

At Spring Fair, there's volume over in Hall 12 – which is somewhere near Coventry – and some in Hall 3, 4 or 5, so I seemed to be walking miles between suppliers.

As for Germany, I gave it a miss again, but I understand that because City Airport only had one direct flight, it could cause mayhem in the toy trade if there was, God forbid, a problem.

Maybe next year there needs to be two flights, so some of the toy trade could be split in two, like Prince Charles and Prince William.

A quick shout out has to go to Hasbro for the Monopoly Token Vote.

The iron was at the top of most people's votes; I'm sure there was a sigh of relief that no one set up a campaign to get rid of the top hat token. That could have caused a few problems with Mr Moneybags. Was it Maggie Thatcher who said, "you only offer a referendum if you know the result of the vote beforehand"?

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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).

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