NPD: New brands boosted by half-term holidays

Toy sales in February continued to grow, up seven per cent in value for the month ? a slightly slower rate than for January (up eight per cent).
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The final week of February drove most of the month’s growth with sales up 25 per cent on last year, helped by the half-term holiday that week. Prices continued to grow with the average selling price now £5.70. Both building sets and plush sectors continue to drive the market, but overall seven out of the 11 super categories are showing growth year to date.

The second largest super category (behind infant and pre-school) so far in 2011 is arts and crafts, with sales up 14 per cent on 2010. The fastest growing areas are clay and dough, with Play-Doh now the number two property within the category, behind the perennial favourite Crayola. The brand has had a strong start to the year, with sales up 16 per cent and the number one item being Super Tips 12 Pack.

Hello Kitty is the top licence within the category, with Flair’s Hello Kitty Cool Cardz the seventh best selling item year to date.

Overall, in February there were also a number of newly launched brands making strong in-roads into the toy market. The top selling new property was Lego’s Ninjago, with the combination of spinners and play-sets proving popular.

Disney Princess Rapunzel has also seen sales rise in the last month with the release of the Tangled film. The Disney Featuring Rapunzel doll was the number five top seller across total toys in February.

A range of new play-set themed dolls have also been selling well throughout February, with Vivid’s Moshi Monsters Moshlings, Spin Master’s Zoobles and Character Options’ Squinkies all featuring in the top selling new properties year to date list.

“New properties are the life blood of the toy industry, keeping the market energetic and dynamic,” said Jez Fraser-Hook, director of NPD Group’s toy business, UK.

“There are a number of new girls properties that look like they could impact purchasing this year, while the new films out later this year look set to reinvigorate popular boys properties such as Cars and Transformers.”


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Warm Easter boosts toy sales

UK retail sales were up 4.6 per cent in April on a like-for-like basis according to the British Retail Consortium. This was due to Easter falling in April this year compared to March in 2008, along with warmer sunny weather this April, while last year it was cold and wet.

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