Tough times for US market

It seems the US market is having an even tougher time than the UK, with stateside sales  dropping nearly four per cent to just over $21.3 billion in 2005 compared to the prior year, according to NPD.
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Figures released to coincide with the New York toy fair show the US market declining in many sectors, while the UK market, which has also experienced tough trading conditions over the last 12 months declined by less than one per cent over the year.

Major multi-item retailers grabbed 54 per cent market share, while toy stores, incuding Toys R Us and KB Toys, accounted for 20 per cent of sales. Around six per cent of total toy sales were made online, a 2.6 percent increase from 2004.

The Games and Puzzles category showed a nine per cent drop in sales despite increases in the Family Board/Action games sub-category (up 18 per cent) and electronic games, which were up 14 per cent and puzzles (up four per cent).  Youth Electronics and Communications, recorded an eight per cent drop in sales during 2005 to $600 million.

The plush category showed the sharpest sales decline during 2005, falling 15 per cent to $1.3 billion from the prior year. 

Dolls recorded a loss of nearly two per cent in 2005, while sub-categories such as Large Dolls and Soft Dolls achieved 18 per cent and 13 per cent increases, respectively.

Building Sets were the one chink of light, up 16 per cent from 2004, with the category generating nearly $700 million in sales. Learning & Exploration toys also grew, with sales of $400 million - up six per cent on the previous year.

Action Figures and Accessories rose more than four per cent to $1.3 billion, having delined by three per cent the year before.

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