Firstly, there’s the recalls which have dogged the latter half of the year generating the worst possible kind of headlines for the industry. The most recent recall almost sounds like some sort of conspiracy, with kids apparently get whacked out of their gourds by licking an art and craft product. It’s manna from heaven for the tabloids to be able to mix toys, kids and drugs in the same story. Christmas come early. Surely, surely, it cannot get any worse than that. Only the added involvement of Britney Spears could generate worse publicity.
A look back through our coverage of the earlier part of the year makes it seem like such an innocent time, before the industry became public enemy number one. But there were still retailers hitting the skids like Arbon and Watts, Toyworld, Rossi’s. Woolies attempting to put the squeeze on its employers and Youngsters revealing the full extent of its own troubles.
But it wasn’t quite a meltdown was it? Recalls have always been part of the trade and the news will quickly move on and pick on something else. There is much to look forward to next year. The possibility of a new force in independent retail as Youngsters and Toymaster continue their rather coy courtship. A re-energised TRA with Gary Grant at the helm. And the mere fact that publicity-wise we’ve hopefully bottomed out now.
More immediately there’s Toy Fair, Hong Kong and Nuremberg to look forward to. Our coverage starts in the next issue and in February of course we have the big one, with a full preview out nearly two weeks ahead of the show itself. Deadlines are already upon us, as I know only too well.
Thanks to everyone who has supported the mag this year and here’s to a peaceful, prosperous Christmas to one and all.