TOYSHOP UK: How confident are you feeling about Christmas trading? - ToyNews

TOYSHOP UK: How confident are you feeling about Christmas trading?

ToyShop UK asks its listers for thoughts on this year’s festive trading. And it’s good news.
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The festive season has swung back around quicker than ever, and this month ToyShop UK has asked its listers whether optimism, as well as tinsel, is flowing through the aisles.

It seems that most stores are feeling positive this Q4, with 72 per cent of those asked saying they feel confident about Christmas trading this year.

18 per cent of those stated they felt very confident, with 54 per cent being fairly confident.

Reasons ranged from early Christmas shopping trends, festive promotions and strong lines.

“We have had a good start to the season already and finding customers are buying for Christmas earlier than last year,” said Charlotte Croser of Jollys.

“If it continues, it will enable us to keep adding to our range and keeping it fresh with new lines up to the last few weeks.”

Others, like Luan Hall at Fairies ‘n’ Frogs, have taken measures in advance to ensure the festive trading period is a positive one.

“We have a Christmas layaway plan that we have had in place for the past three years,” said Hall.

“It starts 100 days before Christmas and encourages people to put items on order and pay over a period of time to spread the cost. This is so successful it is often used more than 100 days before. We are currently up by 20 per cent on projected sales for this Christmas.”

Elsewhere, three per cent of those asked told ToyShop UK that they were not at all confident about Christmas trading, while 26 per cent were unsure.

“Footfall is definitely down at the moment for this time of year,” said Stuart Andrew of Hal Whittaker.

“Maybe it’s just late starting this year or even more is internet shopping. Either way it doesn’t help cash flow and next year I will be moving more of my buying and deliveries to October instead of September.”

Read the complete list of responses below:

Matt Booker
Automattic Comics and Toys
“It’s going well so far. People are prepared on the whole so it seems. We’ve had a good few customers scouting for presents with kids and making notes, but some I know are gauging and then shopping online.”

Neil Waite
Captain Neil’s Toy Chest
“We’re moving into larger premises in November so hopefully Christmas will be a cracker.”

Carolyn Strand
Earlywhirly
“Christmas shopping seems to have started super early this year. We are seeing sales approximately three weeks ahead of where we would expect them to be. Customers are certainly shopping early to get what they really want, especially in small premium lines and larger items at offer prices.”

Tracie Peacock-Quinney
Ella’s Toy Shop
“We’ve had a good summer in both our shops and it appears to be picking up already with people buying for Christmas. I think our new ranges of products are showing their strengths as we have already received great feedback regarding them and sales are proving strong. I think Christmas will be a slow burn as customers are already buying for the big day. Our sales are showing a larger increase in pounds per customer, which would indicate the Christmas buying has already started. Fingers crossed this will continue and increase in the next ten weeks.”

Luan Hall
Fairies ‘n’ Frogs
“We have a Christmas layaway plan that we have had in place for the past three years. It starts 100 days before Christmas and encourages people to put items on order and pay over a period of time to spread the cost. This is so successful it is often used more than 100 days before. We are currently up by 20 per cent on projected sales for this Christmas. However, the Christmas promotion we are running could be an added reason for this. One lucky person will win back everything they spend for Christmas with us.”

Stuart Andrew
Hal Whittaker
“Footfall is definitely down at the moment for this time of year. I would have expected to see a reasonable increase in sales by now but hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it’s just late starting this year or even more is internet shopping. Either way it doesn’t help cash flow and next year I will be moving more of my buying and deliveries to October instead of September.”

Teresa Bramble
Hoomble Toys & Collectables
“October has already seen a strong Christmas increase. Strong key lines are proving to do well.”

Charlotte Croser
Jollys
“We have had a good start to the season already and finding customers are buying for Christmas earlier than last year. This is a good boost to confidence and if it continues, it will enable us to keep adding to our range and keeping it fresh with new lines up to the last few weeks. We are hopeful for a strong season at Jollys.”

Cate O’Neill
Petalina
“We are seeing steady growth year on year at Petalina which is great. Not sure that it will be a bumper Christmas but certainly I hope for something to celebrate.”

Robert Williams
Silly Billy’s Toy Shop
“Last year the bricks and mortar trading did not really commence until quite late which made a cashflow bottleneck, so was a tricky time. This year we are hoping that buying in retail bricks and mortar commences sooner and – so far –October 2014 seems more buoyant than October 2013.”

Jon Starling
Starlings Toymaster
“Consumers are already shopping for Christmas. They were disappointed at the recent Argos 3 for 2, with the number of out of stocks, which has brought them back to our toy stores. Same with the latest Tesco 20 per cent off weekend where our customers found inflated prices that were reduced back to normal with the discount. Being able to offer weekly promotions with the backing of the Toymaster catalogue is driving people to shop with us. Our prices are competitive with online platforms and people can walk away with the toys of their choice. We will continue to give personal service and great value right up to and beyond the Christmas shopping period.”

Karen Wood
Strider Bike UK
“The exciting new range of Strider bikes are hitting the shelves in time for Christmas. Signs are already that it’s going to a best selling bike.”

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