“We are actively looking at new suppliers that we can distribute, as the only way to grow is to develop existing brands and bring in new ones, but we will not sacrifice service on our current ranges,” states David Allan, sales and marketing director at DKL.
Especially when those current lines are doing so well. DKL grew by 25 per cent year on year in 2010 and so far in 2011, it is ten per cent ahead on last year.
“We are being very careful to target our ranges to our customers with items that meet their needs, supported by good in-store support and promotions,” Allan continues. “We are planning to at least hold a ten per cent increase and more on last year, and this does not include our new ranges.”
The firm’s number one line is Hama, while Corolle, the French doll brand, has enjoyed a good increase in both turnover and distribution, and Wonderworld wooden toys is also up on last year, albeit not growing as quickly as other ranges.
“Hama Cars 2 sets will be very popular from July when the film comes out, and should continue to Christmas, plus there are other new Hama sets hitting retail now,” Allan begins when asked what the trade should be looking out for in the second part of 2011 from DKL.
"New range Mic o Mic is already a hit with its unique concept at competitive pricing, with more stands and CDUs due. Corolle’s interactive range of dolls always sell well in the second half, while Wonderworld’s kitchen ranges and doll houses are star lines as retailers like them for their competitive pricing and the fact we also offer a drop shipment opportunity."
On top of the current portfolio, DKL has recently added Velcro Kids to its roster, with the line including a Card Playhouse (which can be flat packed and reassembled as often as kids like), masks sets and play packs, all using the special Velcro hook and loop. Launching later this month, DKL will have a number of special offers for retail, giving them the chance to try the range ahead of a larger product line coming in 2012.
Another new addition is Spanish company Miniland, with a large range of pre-school educational items, science kits and vehicles among other products arriving. “We see this range as a major growth area for DKL Marketing as it covers so many areas,” says Allan.
“We are ready to grow, but any new companies must fit into our portfolio,” he continues. “We receive offers all the time but we are careful to ensure that the brand has the right ethos and that the products are top quality and that they have an edge to both retailer and consumer. However, price and margin are key to our retailers so we have to ensure that pricing of any range is realistic.”
Hama has been DKL's top performer.
Allan also agrees that the general mood in the toy industry appears to be quite positive at the moment. “Definitely. We are up on the first five months, listings with majors are better than ever and, having attended AIS and Toymaster shows where we met a lot of members and took good orders, margin and price is key for survival and we offer both.”
And with the firm increasing its marketing with more PR support through consumer activity and targeted in-store initiatives with added value and promotions, it’s looking likely Allan will achieve his aims for the end of the year. “Good sales growth, excellent customer service, increase brand awareness and to go into 2012 with a positive attitude,” Allan concludes.