April 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 4
Easter Sales Hopped Up and Down
One Store Tripled Sales, While Others Stumbled
A ROUGH START TO SPRING
“We've had a selection of unpleasant weather and there is a recession going on here even though the real-estate market has been a little up. I've noticed sort of a slowdown in discretionary buying,” David Friedlander, owner of Children’s Planet antique store in Louisville, Ky., told TDmonthly, pointing out that his sales dropped after the first week of January.
George Emerson, owner of The Walrus & Carpenter Toys in Middletown, R.I., was disappointed to see that his store’s sales had fallen by 30 percent compared to Easter 2007. Lamenting the state of the economy and high taxes, one anonymous retailer in Florida also reported a 30-percent decline.
At The Toy Factory in Jacksonville, Fla., “it was slow enough that [the owner] sent employees home early Saturday,” Manager Kenneth Box told TDmonthly.
But for others, the picture was more pleasant.
EARLY, BUT NOT FORGOTTON
Perhaps the biggest success of all was a 400-children-strong “Bunny Hop” involving Green Frog Toys and seven other kid-friendly stores in Portland, Ore.’s Pearl District — specializing in everything from cupcakes to children’s clothing. Kids went from store to store, enjoying activities and receiving stamps on a card that qualified them for a gift-certificate drawing once they reached the last of the map-marked locations.
So busy stamping and distributing prizes during the Saturday event, storeowner Patricia Fiedler and her staff were more than pleased to realize later that Green Frog had “tripled in sales versus last year” — in an event that cost them a mere $36.
“If people get together, you can be much more successful,” Fiedler told TDmonthly, adding that they plan to pull off a similar event for Earth Day on April 22.
Cape Cod Toys in Mashpee, Mass., encouraged repeat customers by hosting the Easter Bunny the weekend before the holiday, then posting kids’ pictures on the wall so they could return to take them home, Manager Linda Peterson said.
David Ekwall, owner of The Wooden Toy in Wethersfield, Conn., saw a 5- to 10-percent sales increase, and Sandy Friedman, owner of Accipiter in Raleigh, N.C., also estimated a 10-percent gain.
“People are tired of this bad economy,” he told TDmonthly. “Easter sort of was an opportunity for people to relax a little and have some fun stuff ... without breaking the bank.”
Connie Hoeft, owner of CR Toys in Kearney, Neb., logged a similar 8 to 10 percent increase in sales, due in part to actively emailing customers and reminding them of the holiday.
Hoeft varied the traditional Easter basket by recommending card games — including Sixteen by Alpine Games, which quickly sold out and has been reordered. The brightly colored Thumball by Answers in Motion and modeling dough from Play Clay Factory also sold well, she told TDmonthly.
Products by the Marshmallow Fun Co. — especially the Bow & Mallow — were best sellers at The Village Toy Shop in New Hartford, N.Y., according to Owner Jane Willis.
Games and Webkinz by Ganz, “of course,” sold more readily than kites since springtime wasn’t quite underway, noted Diane Gervais, manager and buyer for Middletown, Conn.’s Amato’s Toy & Hobby.
Though not a traditional toy store, Abracadabra in New York City capitalized on the costumes that make up 40 percent of the store, renting out 15 mascot-like bunny costumes, Co-Owner Robert Pinzon told TDmonthly.
Want to share news about your Easter? Feel free to leave a comment below. And check out some of the popular items that sold well over the Easter holiday:
This two-player, high-quality card game offers head-to-head fun as players take calculated risks to win sets by forcing their opponent to "bust." Yet, players must also play their cards defensively at the right time, or the tables will turn. The player who wins the most sets wins the game. Sixteen is easy to learn, while cribbage-like counting and a distinctive combination of cards yield high strategy and replay value. Playing time is about 15 minutes. Sixteen won the Dr. Toy 2007 Best Products Award, the Major Fun Family Award and the Creative Child Magazine Seal of Excellence Award. MSRP: $6.99 to $9.99. Launch date: July 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14049 (added 7/13/2007)
Three distinct multi-colored 6" Thumballs make-up Series 2: Catch Peace, a great vehicle to promote peace among all people; Soccer Mania, an excellent way to teach soccer rules and terms, and make drills fun; and My ABC’s, which adds fun and motivation to any sound, letter or word game. “Thumball connects brain power and play power seamlessly, making all get-togethers a fun time for sharing, laughing and learning,” Gregg Pembleton of Answers in Motion told TDmonthly. Launch date: February 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11145 (added 1/12/2007)
Winner of the iParenting Media Award for excellence, the Super Play Kit includes five scented Play Clay rolls (Blueberry Blast, Pink Lemonade, Pineapple, Green Apple, Grape Bubblegum), a mini Rolling Pin, and two Clay Cutters in assorted colors. Made from all-organic ingredients.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14542 (added 8/9/2007)
This cross-bow type of toy propels mini marshmallows up to 30’ with each pull of the bow string. It can be paired with the Marshmallow Blaster for a great entertainment package. Launch date: February 2007.
Past Videos: ASTRA 2008
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12175 (added 3/29/2007)
This cute little duck comes with a code that allows its owner to access Webkinz World online.
— Over 26 percent of 45 retailers surveyed by TDmonthly in early 2008 named Webkinz as their hottest selling item.
— “Webkinz by Ganz — they still sell out every shipment,” Melodie Ingwersen, owner of Creativity for Kids in Columbia, S.C., told TDmonthly in early 2008.
— “[They] have been really hot for the last couple of years,” she added.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17573 (added 2/18/2008)
The pony is crafted of different pink calico patterns and corduroy accents. The pony also features a wide embroidered smile, aqua velour ears and a ruffled calico tail and head trim. An 8” style and a 22” style are also available. Launch date: January 2008.
— The pony uses “colors and material that match with today’s fashion industry,” Gund Marketing and Licensing Manager Shallu Chhabra told TDmonthly.
— “Stuffed animals by Gund — [we sell] three or less per month,” Tina, owner of Baby Furniture & Accessories in Albuquerque, N.M., told TDmonthly in March 2008, when asked which items sell best for infants and toddlers in her store.
— Five percent of the 40 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in March 2008 named Gund as the hottest manufacturer of baby products in their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16783 (added 12/28/2007)
The 7-1/2” tote is decorated in fuchsia, black and white mod floral print. The backside of the bag features a different style print to give the bag two completely different looks depending on which way the bag is carried or worn. A delicate white pony sits inside the purse.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17507 (added 2/13/2008)
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Writer's Bio: Julie L. Jones has written articles for both newspapers and magazines. Before joining the staff of TDmonthly Magazine, she worked as a communications writer and provided editorial support for a market research company. Read more articles by this author
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