RETAIL TRENDS - April '08

The British Retail Consortium reports that UK retail sales fell 1.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis, compared with April 2007, when sales were up 2.4 per cent helped by the warm, sunny Easter weekend...
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AVERAGE PRICE - UK Toy Sales (value, year to date)
April 2007 - £6.17
April 2008 - £5.65
Down 10%

The year-on-year declines in March and April were the worst since spring 2005. Easter in March this year and some snow and rain in April against a hot sunny Easter last April make comparisons difficult.

Furthermore, consumer confidence has dropped sharply to new lows. With increasing demands on household budgets shoppers are very price-conscious and reluctant to spend on big-ticket items. Even heavy discounting often failed to tempt customers to buy.

The Total Traditional Toy market declined by ten per cent in value and two per cent in volume in April, mainly due to Easter falling in March last year. Combining March and April, however, leaves the value of the toy market flat. The average price for the month was down from £6.17 to £5.65.

The strong decline in Outdoor is not helping the overall performance of the toy market, but that said, last year’s April was exceptionally hot with temperatures reaching new records and rainfall far below average. As a result, summer seasonal toys experienced the biggest decline.

While most other categories suffered slightly because of the shift in Easter, Building Sets seemed unaffected and continued to grow through double digits. Lego remained the key driver with properties such as City, Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but Mega was holding strong as well in standard building sets with its traditional range.

The fastest growing category last month, Plush, was down two per cent in April due to traditional plush, which was affected by the shift in Easter.

Special Feature Plush continued to grow mainly driven by In the Night Garden and Furreal Friends.

Action Figures was up six per cent and Ben 10 is going from strength to strength accounting now for nearly a fifth of the category. Power Rangers was back in second position with share slightly up on last month and we are also seeing the first signs of Iron Man (still very small).

Infant/Pre-school increased by three per cent, still driven by pre-school. Thomas held strong in pole position thanks to new items, such as RC2’s Thomas Starter Set. Roary the Racing Car is slowly climbing the ladder not just in Pre-school, but also in the total market driven by new – mainly outdoor – items (Halsall’s Roary Trike, Vivid’s Roary Ride-on).

TOP FIVE PROPERTIES - April 2008
1. Thomas & Friends
2. Ben 10
3. Power Rangers
4. In the Night Garden
5. Bratz

BEST PROPERTY PROGRESSION
- April 2008
Top Trumps Ben 10
Following the overall success of Ben 10, Winning Moves has now launched Top Trumps Ben 10, which is flying into pole position in the games charts (by units) this month. Based on total value, the item ranks fourth in total games and 48th in the total toy market in April.

BEST ITEM PROGRESSIONS
- April 2008
Hannah Montana
Disney’s Hannah Montana is making excellent progress securing 33rd position in the total toy market in April (coming from 157th). Youth Electronics and Fashion Dolls are currently the key categories for the property.

Related

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RETAIL TRENDS - Easter

Easter falling in March this year compared to April last year has boosted performance in the total traditional toy market. Value increased by nine per cent while volume sales grew by a staggering 17 per cent with average price declining from £5.56 to £5.21.

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Retail sales surge in March

According to the British Retail Consortium, UK sales fell 1.2 per cent on a like for like basis from March 2008 with some unseasonably warm weather this March benefiting clothing, footwear and outdoor leisure sales.

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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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