US: Toy sales remain steady

Sales for the first three quarters of 2008 were essentially flat compared to the first nine months of 2007.
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Sales for the first three quarters of 2008 were essentially flat compared to the first nine months of 2007.

According to The NPD Group, US sales for the period were worth $11.89 billion. NPD is predicting the industry will tally $22 billion in annual sales, a result that would match the previous year’s $22.1 billion sales total, if not exceed it.

Among the industry’s best performing product categories in year-to-date sales were plush, up nearly 41 per cent, construction sets, up nearly 35 per cent, games and puzzles, up seven percent, arts & crafts, up four per cent and action figures up 1.2 per cent.

An NPD representative said: “Our Consumer Spending Indicator study reveals that when thinking of where they'll cut back their spending due to the current economic climate, spending on toys is one of the least mentioned categories.

“Even in times of duress, and maybe particularly in difficult times, parents want to please their children during the holidays and toys are always one of the most ‘wished for’ gift categories.”

NPD has also announced the appointment of David Pritchard to head its European toy market tracking business.

Pritchard, now vice president of NPD EuroToys, has moved from a role of vice president in NPD’s entertainment and communications group and led product management for the firm’s U.S. Toys business. Previously he was director of the company’s Digital Insights business.

Michel Maury, group president for NPD Europe said: “David’s experience in the entertainment industry will be a tremendous asset as we continue to grow and evolve with the industry and help manufacturers and retailers navigate through these
challenging times,”

Pritchard replaces Anna Scott, who is leaving the company to relocate to Brunei.

NPD’s EuroToys unit offers retail point-of-sale and consumer tracking for the toy markets of France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Poland and Portugal.

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