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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However, like-for-like Easter sales were down 10 per cent on last year, mainly because kids did not break up for school holidays at the same time. Half-term only happened in April this year, which meant a further boost was still to be expected.

Plush remained the fastest growing category, mainly driven by In The Night Garden, which took the top four item spots in the total plush market. In addition, Easter and Mothers’ Day have also contributed to the category’s massive growth.

Action Figures saw strong double digit growth again this month. Despite Transformers continuing to hold strong, Bandai’s Ben 10 climbed into pole position, accounting for nearly a fifth of the entire category. Power Rangers and WWE were slightly down on last year, while Dr Who sales were mainly boosted by promotions. That said, with the release of series four on April 5th, few new items were shining through, so more is to be expected in the month to come.

The third fastest growing category was Building Sets, still very much driven by Lego. Among the top selling brands were Star Wars, Bionicles, City and also Creator and Indiana Jones.

Traditional Mega saw growth as well this month with Neo Shifters holding strong in Standard Building Sets and licences such as Cars the Movie and Dora the Explorer boosting its performance in the Junior category.

Infant/Pre-school remained the biggest category with Infant up eight per cent and Pre-school up 11 per cent in March. Licences were still the driving force behind the pre-school performance, taking up 37 per cent of the market. Properties such as Thomas & Friends, Peppa Pig, In The Night Garden, Lazy Town and Roary were among the top licences.

The Games & Puzzles market performed in line with the total market with games up nine per cent and puzzles up seven per cent. Children’s games and family games were the key drivers in total games and items such as Scrabble, Monopoly Here & Now Banking Edition, Twister and Buckaroo some of the top performers.

The puzzles market saw growth thanks to Jumbo (Porta Puzzle, Jigroll) and Hasbro (In The Night Garden) among others.

Top five Properties (March 2008)
1. In The Night Garden
2. Cars the Movie
3. Bratz
4. Ben 10
5. Thomas & Friends

Best Property Progression (March 2008)
In the Night Garden
In The Night Garden is climbing the ladder and has moved up into pole position thanks to strong sales in the key categories of Plush and Infant/Pre-school, and certainly also because of new items launched in the Outdoor sector.

Best Item Progression (March 2008)

Barbie Mariposa Doll
The Barbie Mariposa Doll from Mattel is performing very well and is currently the second best seller in Fashion Dolls, coming from far outside the top 100. Thanks to strong sales from Barbie Mariposa among others, Barbie has now taken back the overall lead in this category.

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