According to the British Retail Consortium, UK retail sales value on a like for like basis fell 0.8 per cent from May 2008, when sales rose strongly due to sunny weather last year.
On a total basis sales only rose 0.8 per cent as the economy continues to affect consumer confidence. While food sales have slowed after a strong Easter boost in April, non-food sales remain difficult.
The toy market has continued to see average prices rise with the May 2009 average price up three per cent from May 2008 to £6.41. In value sales terms, supercategory performance has varied with Building Sets, Youth Electronics, Plush and All Other Toys all growing in May (against May 2008).
Building Sets continue to out perform the market with new Lego items driving growth, especially the Star Wars Clone Wars, and the new Power Miners range, which now accounts for six per cent of the Building Sets market and is the fifth biggest property in the category.
Youth Electronics grew three per cent in May 2009 with Vtech Kidizoom camera taking the number one spot in the total toy market for the month. Also performing well is the Hannah Montana Sing Along Microphone and High School Musical Journal. Plush growth is coming from the Winnie the Pooh and Furreal Friends ranges. Peppa Pig has also had a boosted performance in May with the new Peppa Pig Beanie toy by Character Options. Mattel’s Mr. Men range of plush toys has also performed well, driving the Mr. Men property to the eighth fastest growing property from January to May.
The top five properties within the toy market haven’t changed for May 2009, with Ben 10 still number one and Star Wars number two. There have been a number of changes lower down in the chart with Hannah Montana reaching sixth place, driven by the release of the first Hannah Montana film and release of the series on DVD. Cars has also re-entered the top 10 properties driven by some new items – especially the Mini Red Fire Playset and Tractor Trippin performing strongly.
Heading into the school holidays and the summer months, it Is hoped the market will benefit from the good weather as well as summer blockbuster films with a number of related toy ranges.