Lego does the business as weather dampens sales

The weather in June was very unsettled and changeable for the time of the year with only short spells of fine weather in England and Wales, while Scotland saw above average rainfall.
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As a result, the Outdoor market declined by eight per cent year-on-year. The decline was mainly driven by pools and sports activities, whereas bubble toys/solutions, waterguns and tricycles/pedal ride-ons saw a healthy growth. Excluding outdoor, however, the total traditional toy market would have been down by four per cent in value for the month.

Action Figures were down as well during the period, despite a strong performance from Ben 10, Indiana Jones and Transformers amongst others. Whereas last year the market was mainly dominated by two blockbusters (Spider-man and Transformers), this year far more movie licences are fighting for a piece of the pie, but in June they didn’t manage to grow the market. Indiana Jones is showing the best performance so far, but Hulk, Storm Hawks and Iron Man are occupying shelf space as well, soon to be followed by Batman: The Dark Knight, Kung Fu Panda and Wall-E.

The Dolls market fell by a further 13 per cent with declines seen across categories. With sales down 21 per cent year-on-year, Fashion Themed Dolls remain the key drivers of this decline. Bratz is back in pole position, but sales continue to suffer compared to last year. That said, the property is launching a new TV show on Nickelodeon in October (Bratz Design Academy). Will this raise new interest?

Mattel is still holding strong with both High School Musical and Hannah Montana.

Youth Electronics was the fastest declining supercategory in June, all driven by Robotic Pets (Tamagotchi, Pixel Chix, Cube World). On a more positive note, however, standard ELA and youth electronics (sub-category) saw growth. The latter was driven by High School Musical and Hannah Montana, while VTech was responsible for the increase in ELA.

Fortunately not all categories experienced a tough June. Building Sets saw once more a double digit increase thanks to continued strong performance from Lego (City, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Bionicle, etc). Furthermore, Plush was having a blast with In the Night Garden, Winnie the Pooh, Littlest Pet Shop and Peppa Pig amongst others.

We note positive performance for Vehicles as well with sales driven by Mattel, Hornby Trains and Air Hogs amongst others. Overall in the vehicles market, mini vehicles, accessories, electric sets and non-powered vehicles were showing good performance, while R/C was down by five per cent.

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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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