Toy firms looking to garden centres for sales growth

Wide range of companies already enjoying success in the sector, with products including plush and outdoor toys
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
1033_mypictr_300x300(1).jpg

With traditional High Street retail outlets remaining cautious on overstocking and taking on unproven ranges, more toy companies are turning to garden centres as another way of getting their products in front of consumers.

A number of firms asked by ToyNews already have a presence in stores such as Dobbies, Hilltop Garden & Leisure, Garden & Leisure Group, Portmeirion Shops and Strikes among others. And many see the sector as a key part of their business plan going forward.

“Our relationship with garden centres has always been very good, our range is ideally suited for this sector,” Dominic Whittle, director for Dowman Soft Touch explained to ToyNews.

As well as its own ranges of plush British wildlife, garden animals and domestic pets, Dowman has enjoyed success with its Hari’s World line of merchandise, which Whittle says is ideally suited to garden centres.

Verity Groom from Aurora Marketing also says that garden centres make up an important part of the firm’s business. Top selling products include Yoo Hoo & Friends, The Gruffalo, the plush range of Nature Babies, equestrian and seasonal lines, plus ragdolls. “It is a good and stable relationship for us,” she commented. “We are looking to work with more garden centres in the future and do see them as a key part of our business plan.”

For toy firms with outdoor products, garden centres are a good option for extra sales. Grossman has been selling to the sector for about three or four years and boss Martin Grossman says they will always be part of the mix. “The relationship has been very successful and garden centres are a great place to sell outdoor toys. They are obviously seasonal, but for ranges like scooters, which go well in the summer and as Christmas presents, then this isn’t a problem for us.”

Rainbow Designs, meanwhile, has recently expanded its existing plush offering in the sector, introducing wooden toys such as peg puzzles and dominoes. New ranges such as The Gruffalo have also allowed the firm to produce outdoor toys including the Woodland Creature Cabin and The Gruffalo Catcher.

“Working with garden centres has always been part of our strategy, but it is an area that we are particularly focused on at present and are looking to expand,” managing director Anthony Temple told ToyNews.

“Certain ranges and products lend themselves to the garden centre marketplace and so as we look to develop ranges this key sector will always be part of our thinking.”

Dowman, too, will continue to grow its business in the sector, introducing more Hari’s World products shortly.

“Certainly with the way garden centres themselves have changed over the last 20 years, broadening their product ranges and making a visit more appealing to all family members, there are now many more opportunities for suppliers from a broad range of sectors,” Whittle said.

Related

Garden centres.png

The rise of garden centres

More non-traditional toy shops like garden centres are cropping up and stocking children’s products. But are they making life more difficult for independent toy stores or do the extra sales opportunities for suppliers make them worthwhile?

5_Little Tikes 300.jpg

SECTOR GUIDE: Outdoor toys

The outdoor and sports toys sector was worth £363m in 2011, up ten per cent thanks to some extremely mild weather and, unusually, enjoys two peak periods. We take a look at what some of the key players are promoting this year.

Featured Jobs

Vivid Job Logo 620 x 349

Digital Marketing Executive - Toys & Games

Vivid is Britain’s biggest toy company and the 20 largest in the world. With offices across the globe, they sell an amazing portfolio of toys and games to over 60 countries. Vivid is best known for its association with blockbuster brands and is very excited about future opportunities around the world.

Liberty

UK Sales Agents

Liberty House Toys have been appointed as the exclusive UK distributor for the BiOBUDDi brand, and we are pleased to introduce this new unique, innovative and exciting range of 100% environmentally-friendly toy building blocks. We are seeking experienced sales agents with existing network in the toy retail market.

Gameplan Job Logo 620 x 349

Head of Product Development & Marketing

Our client is a privately owned French toy and games manufacturer which sells through distributors in forty countries. The company develops and sells innovative electronic interactive toys and games for the educational and gaming markets, and also takes suitable licenses. To progress its successful business development a Head of Product Development & Marketing is to to recruited.

HIT Entertainment Job Logo 620 x 349

Licensing Systems Administrator

The Contract System Coordinator is a newly created role to support the deal term entry process into Mattel’s new Contract Management System for its Licensing business. The role will support the Business Teams at the Deal & Amendment phase of the contracting process and act in conjunction with the System Administration team.