Retailers hoping for Easter surge

Chains and indies preparing for first big test of market, although it could still all come down to the weather.
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Toy retailers are looking to take full advantage of the Easter holidays, aiming to attract kids and parents in-store with a raft of planned events and activities.

The Easter holidays have traditionally been used as a barometer for how well the industry has started the year.

However, in recent years, the two-week school holiday has had everything from snow to glorious sunshine.

Ian Edmunds, operations director at Toymaster, told ToyNews: “Last year we had a very good second quarter and that was because the weather was good. If you can sell a few larger ticket outdoor items, then that makes a big difference.”

For some, just having kids around makes a big difference. James Colclough, owner of MeltonToys in Melton Mowbry, said: “Am I expecting a sales boost over Easter? Yes, definitely. Kids have a two-week holiday and there are two bank holidays, so we do see a significant rise over Easter.”

Many retailers are expecting a boost among collectable lines. Colclough concurred: “We see the most movement in collectables and also Easter treats. The £5.99 Playmobil eggs are going well for us and we always sell out of those.”

To ensure footfall, MeltonToys has a packed schedule of activities, such as the ‘Nerf Challenge’ a competition where kids can test their skills with the Hasbro blasters.
For The Entertainer, the two-week holiday provides the ideal opportunity to attract children in-store. 

Buying director Stuart Grant said: “We have a planned activity twice a day in every single store and we have a fixed programme so we can drive traffic to the store through Twitter, Facebook and email campaigns.”

Although Grant admits that the Easter break represents two of the three biggest financial weeks of the first six months of the year (with the other one being the February half-term), it’s not all about sales.

“For us it’s more of a long time strategy. It’s more important than just that one day, it’s the fact that the Saturday after they might want to come back to the toy shop,” he said.

Lisa Dyson, co-owner of PresentPlanners in Skipton agreed: “We try and come up with some activities so we have got Easter holiday workshops – they’ve been very popular in the past.”


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Toymaster retail roundtable

Dominic Sacco catches up with Toymaster and three independent toy retailers to discuss how they’re competing with nationals, spotting the next big thing and what the future holds for the local toy shop

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