TOY FAIR DAILY: Industry weathers difficult year

UK retailers grew by 12 per cent in 2009; Overall market down slightly to £2.7 billion.
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BTHA chairman Roger Dyson revealed the latest NPD figures this morning at Toy Fair, reporting that many retailers have seen growth in 2009, especially in the last quarter of the year.

By excluding Woolworths from the figures, the remaining retailers tracked by NPD grew by 12 per cent on a like-for-like basis. The effect of the demise of Woolworths and the tough economic conditions, however, reduced the overall market by eight per cent.

Accounting for 11 per cent of the UK toy industry, the impact of the loss of Woolworths has contributed considerably to the drop in toy sales.

The overall value of the market has also fallen slightly from £2.9bn in 2008 to £2.7 billion. These figures are estimates provided by retail tracking group NPD.

Three of the 11 NPD ‘supercategories’ experienced year-on-year growth in 2009. These included plush, which was up by three per cent; building sets, which saw an increase of nine per cent; and the 'other toys' category, which grew by ten per cent.

The loss of Woolworths also impacted the success of licensed toys, which fell by 21 per cent to account for 27 per cent of the total market.

The top toy manufacturers for the same period are:

1. Hasbro
2. Mattel
3. Lego
4. Vivid Imaginations
5. Character Group
6. VTech
7. Bandai
8. Flair
9. HTI (formerly Halsall)
10. Tomy

Dyson commented: “A year ago, amidst the general economic turmoil and with well known high street retailers entering administration almost weekly, there was real concern for our industry.

“But we have weathered the storm - some of us a little battered and bruised, many significantly stronger than a year ago.

"Despite the decline in the market the industry is still buoyant with the trade industry event, Toy Fair, sold out.”

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