Summer sales increase

UK Retail sales rose 1.8 per cent in value on a like-for-like basis in July 2009 and up 2.6 per cent on a total basis according to the British Retail Consortium.
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This was compared to July last year where changeable weather had affected sales. Sales slowed for clothing and food, while homewares and furniture sales benefited from the wet weather and clearance discounts as people turned their focus to indoor decoration.

Within the toy market, arts and crafts grew four per cent when the school holidays started and parents were looking for ways of keeping their children amused. One of the major drivers within arts and crafts is reusable compounds with both Spin Masters’ Moonsand and Flair’s Plasticine seeing strong growth. However, Crayola still dominated the category with nearly £1 in every £10 spent on the brand.

Other categories that grew were building sets and all other toys. Lego’s dominance of building sets continued, owning nine of the top ten properties in July – only Mega Brands Mega Bloks Maxi at number nine stoppped it having a clean sweep. Within all other toys, GoGo’s Crazy Bones was the top property despite the low average price of £1.09.

Dolls had a stronger month as well, with Disney Princess growing 41 per cent and both In My Pocket and Slyvanian Families growing. The top-selling item for July was the Zapf Chou Chou Mummy Make Me Better Doll.

However, Barbie was still the top property across the category with Barbie Petites making a strong impact on the market. The Petites assortment was the top selling Barbie item and the range is now sixth in the play-set themed doll category.

Transformers was the top property across toys for the month, as the film release in late June continued to encourage toy purchase, with twelve out of the top twenty best-selling new items in July all from the Transformers range.

Little Tikes has made a big impact on the market, securing third biggest property in July as well as the top-selling item with Little Tikes Cozy Coupe 30th Anniversary item. Another property making an impact is Timmy Time, which has leapt up the rankings in the last month with the success of the Timmy Time Jigsaws – now the top item in puzzles for July.

With the summer coming to an end and a raft of major toy releases in August, the Back to School season sales will prove to be a good indicator of how the market will perform for the vital Christmas period, where traditionally 50 per cent of total toy sales occur in the last three months.

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