[LIVE] Coronavirus in the toy trade

The latest impact of Covid-19 on the toy industry – suppliers, retailers, trade shows and more

Written by Georgie Dobie

Posted 04.06.2020 | Business

[LIVE] Coronavirus in the toy trade thumbnail

This article is regularly updated with the latest coronavirus developments from toy suppliers, retailers, trade shows and other broader news pertinent to buying and selling toys

  • Argos has announced plans to reopen 140 standalone stores from 15 June. READ MORE

  • intu has published a report reviewing the possible impact of Covid-19 on the way people will shop and spend their time once lockdown measures are lifted. Whilst there is difficult road ahead, intu said that its research points to an eagerness amongst consumers and, crucially, a willingness to return to pre-lockdown habits, as soon as is feasible. The group said that consumers have questions around practicalities, but that the sentiment should be ultimately reassuring for retail and leisure brands. READ MORE

  • Sandra Ebbott speaks about her baby and pre-school brand: Mizzie The Kangaroo. The company’s founder talks about where the idea of the brand came from, her global ambitions for Mizzie, and launching in the UK in the midst of Covid-19. READ MORE 

  • Debenhams is planning to reopen three stores in Northern Ireland on 8 June, followed by 50 stores in England on 15 June; the rest will follow soon after. READ MORE

  • Having introduced Dynamic Product Ads (DPAs) in mid-October last year, Snapchat has now launched its e-commerce update in international markets. CNBC was one of the first to report on the launch of DPAs. According to that report, Ed Couchman, general manager of Snapchat UK, said: “The coronavirus has accelerated the need for businesses to look at their digital sales channels and encouraged them to be more innovative in how they do that. READ MORE

  • Due to the pandemic, Spielwarenmesse eG has confirmed that Kids India 2020 in Mumbai has been cancelled. Meanwhile, AHK Indien has assumed the role of representative for the company in India. READ MORE

  • Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide is celebrating the roaring success of its first Play at Home Fest virtual festival which was streamed over the late May Bank Holiday weekend. READ MORE

  • Arts and crafts is a sector that has proved popular with audiences young and old during lockdown. Ever keen to offer their verdict on the latest and greatest products on the market, our TNP Ambassadors requested the chance to try out the new Crystal Art Frameables kits from Craft Buddy. Find out what seven-year-old Nora thought of the Flying Panda Frameable kit. READ MORE 

  • intu has outlined how it will safely support the gradual reopening of non-essential retail stores at its 14 centres nationwide in line with Government guidelines. READ MORE

  • Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield has reported strong progress on re-opening of its shopping centres. The group says the recovery in footfall in markets such as Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic is now around 80 per cent of pre-crisis levels, and the initial performance of the recently re-opened large French assets has been good. READ MORE
  • Sainsbury's CEO Simon Roberts has made two changes to the Sainsbury’s operating board. In his message to all Sainsbury’s colleagues, he said: “As our customers’ lives have changed over the last two months, so have we. What I am most proud of is the way that we have constantly listened to our customers and quickly adapted to what they have told us. Bringing together our retail and digital teams under Clo’s leadership will create a business that shows up in the same way for customers wherever they shop with us. Mark’s appointment to the operating board will ensure that we really understand how customers are feeling, what they’re thinking and how this affects the way they shop.” READ MORE 
  • The UK chapter of Women in Toys will host a virtual Tea and Biscuits meeting this Friday morning to enable both members and non-members to come together to network, socialise and chat with others in the industry. Although the lockdown in the UK has begun to ease this week, many are still working from home or remotely. Recognising that this can be a lonely environment for those used to working in busy offices, Women in Toys decided to bring the industry together for a virtual meet-up. READ MORE
  • Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) has announced the successful completion of the disposal of a portfolio of five shopping centres in France to the Joint Venture formed by URW, Crédit Agricole Assurances and La Française. Christophe Cuvillier, Group CEO of URW, said: “The closing of this transaction is a major milestone in the Group’s disposal strategy. In a very challenging environment, it demonstrates the quality of our assets and illustrates the trust of our partners in the management of URW to cope with the current situation and to generate future growth in the assets we operate.” READ MORE
  • Hammerson has announced that its flagship destinations in England are to re-open from 15 June, in line with the latest guidance from the UK Government. READ MORE
  • The Lego Group, in collaboration with NITI Aayog and Save The Children, has introduced targeted initiatives in India to promote Learning Through Play and support home-based learning during these unprecedented times, while strengthening community efforts to respond to Covid-19. READ MORE
  • The UKMums.TV Choice Awards are now open for entry. In light of the coronavirus pandemic the UKMums.TV team has decided to open the awards up earlier than usual to allow ample time for companies enter. Along with a new opening date, the judging process will take place remotely with entries being safely distributed for testers to try in their own homes and submit thoughts via a virtual testing panel. READ MORE 
  • Employers will be expected to pay “only a modest contribution, introduced slowly over the coming months,” said Rishi Sunak, as he confirmed his plans for the final stage of the eight-month furlough scheme. READ MORE
  • Rishi Sunak is expected to announce plans to taper the job retention scheme from August. READ MORE 
  • In line with the government’s recent announcement about non-essential retail, the Frasers Group has confirmed that its Sports Direct, Flannels and Jack Wills stores will reopen in England on 15 June. House of Fraser stores will not open until later that week, once it has sought further guidance. READ MORE
  • Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organisation behind Sesame Street, has produced a new 30-minute Sesame Street: Elmo’s Playdate special which will air on BBC One on Saturday 30 May, at 13.30. Elmo’s Playdate celebrates everyone who is helping families during this time. It also highlights simple pleasures such as baking at home, in a cosy video call, which will feel very familiar to today’s viewers. READ MORE
  • When MediCinema screening rooms needed to close at six hospitals in the UK due to Covid-19, patients could have been left without a place to share their love of movies. Instead, eOne partnered with MediCinema to share the love of film in hospitals across the UK. READ MORE 
  • Customers stocking up on groceries, DIY and gardening products, amid the outbreak of Covid-19, saw B&M post “exceptionally strong” performance in the fourth financial quarter and the first eight weeks of the new financial year. READ MORE
  • Following the Government's announcement about the reopening of non-essential retail, Harrods has announced its plans for reopening, which include the opening of an outlet store in Westfield London. The Harrods Knightsbridge store will reopen on 15 June. Meanwhile, the new two-storey Harrods Outlet will open in July. READ MORE 
  • Reuters has reported that Debenhams has cut hundreds of head office jobs in a bid to streamline its administrative functions as it looks to reopen in line with Government guidelines. READ MORE
  • Joel Silverman, ToyAid’s co-founder, and CEO and co-founder of KidsKnowBest, introduces the new and exciting collaborative movement that is bringing together toy and entertainment companies to raise funds for Global's Make Some Noise campaign. READ MORE
  • TNP Ambassadors' Review: Spin Master’s Meccano Ducati Desmosedici GP model motorcycle kit. With little ones and their families eager to find new ways to spend their time in lockdown, we reached out to Spin Master for something to keep little hands busy and developing brains engaged. Eight-year-old toy tester Zac was ecstatic for the opportunity to construct this iconic motorbike model. READ MORE 
  • The Character Group has published its half year figures for the six month period ending 29 February 2020. Although the first half results were largely unaffected by the Covid-19 crisis, challenging conditions faced by the global toy market saw the Group's turnover and operating profits dip. But the Group remains optimistic for a strong and profitable second half and for the current financial year as a whole. READ MORE
  • John Lewis has announced its plans to begin to reopen 13 of its shops from 15 June in different stages. READ MORE
  • Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) has announced that it will host its first ever virtual licensing summit. The event will be held on 15, 16 and 17 June 2020. With the annual Licensing Expo cancelled this year, the virtual summit will enable MGM to host current and potential licensees and provide a sneak peek at upcoming initiatives for a number of its iconic brands. READ MORE  
  • Christmas in July Festival to be held 8-9 September. The event's founder Courtney Rodgers has outlined a series of Covid-secure measures that will be implemented to ensure that the event is held in a safe and controlled environment following all Government advice and social distancing. READ MORE  
  • Novel Entertainment is hosting a virtual fancy dress parade on Friday 29 May as part of its Horrid Henry half term activity. To join the parade, children are encouraged to take a photo dressed up as their favourite fictional character or find their best dress-up photo from their photo library to share and also encourage their parents or carers to take part. READ MORE
  • In its commitment to supporting it creators, particularly in the midst of these challenging times, Instagram has announced new ways for creators to make money through Instagram Live and IGTV. These new features offer brands new ways to connect with users via content created by social media influencers. READ MORE
  • Next month, Addo Play will be launching its own Virtual Toy Fair! Using the latest 3D interactive video technology, it will be opening its Addo and ELC showroom virtually. READ MORE 
  • The Children’s Media Conference has announced its keynote speaker at this year’s virtual conference – former Lord Mayor of Sheffield and Green MEP Magid Magid. CMC will run online for extended dates from Monday 6 July to Friday 10 July 2020. READ MORE
  • Springboard says its footfall data collected over bank holiday weekend is indicative of significant pent up demand amongst customers, which bodes well for the reopening of non-essential shops from 15 June. READ MORE
  • While retail sales and volumes continued to fall in the year to May, the CBI’s latest Distributive Trades Survey found that the pace of decline was gradually slowing – and it is expected to fall at a slower pace next month. READ MORE
  • Aldi is implementing a new automated traffic light system at entrances, to control the number of customers going in and out of stores. READ MORE
  • Wow! Stuff is pledging its best-selling lines to support ToyAid, the new charitable movement set up by Wow! Stuff’s CEO Richard North and Kids Know Best’s CEO Joel Silverman. Money raised by ToyAid will go to support disadvantaged children, young people and their families affected by Covid-19. READ MORE
  • From 15 June, all non-essential retail including shops selling toys, clothes, books, and electronics will be expected to be able to reopen if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the Covid-19 secure guidelines. READ MORE
  • 13-year-old Klara Hinze has been named the winner of the John Lewis and Waitrose soft toy design competition. READ MORE
  • Responding to the needs of exhibitors facing current global challenges, organiser Spielwarenmesse eG has announced its decision to defer the registration closing date for the 72nd Spielwarenmesse. New exhibitors can register for the event until 31 July. READ MORE
  • ToyAid sees toy and entertainment companies join forces for good. The movement's June campaign, “Buy Some Toys for Make Some Noise”, aims to raise as much money as possible to help the individuals and families hit hardest by the pandemic. READ MORE
  • TNP Ambassadors' Review: Rollplay’s Wave Catcher – With skateparks closed, 12-year-old Arron was thrilled to get the chance to get some speed up on Rollplay’s electric scooter, the Wave Catcher. READ MORE  
  • Interplay UK’s boredom buster campaign keeps kids entertained in lockdown. READ MORE
  • Recognising that many small businesses are struggling and having to close brick and mortar stores and look to sell online amid the outbreak of Covid-19, Facebook has announced the launch of a new ecommerce platform – Facebook Shops. The company said that it hoped the introduction of these tools would help relieve some of the pressure small businesses are facing right now and help businesses of all sizes prepare for the future. READ MORE 
  • Amanda Gummer, founder and CEO of Good Play Guide, sat down with TNP.MEDIA to chat about Play At Home Fest. She speaks about her early vision for a virtual family festival that would both highlight the importance of play and help brands maximise their exposure during a challenging time when traditional marketing campaigns have been cancelled or are struggling to gain traction. READ MORE
  • According to a report published by The Wall Street Journal, Amazon is expected to hold its annual Prime Day in September – two months later than last year’s two-day window of deals, which started on 15 July and sold more than 175 million items over the course of the event. READ MORE
  • The Toy Foundation, the US toy industry’s children’s charity, has been funding non-profits assisting families impacted by the coronavirus. READ MORE
  • Independent Leeds-based toy shop Armadillo Toys has taken to social media to once again raise the spirits of its social media following. Owner Lisa Clay shared a snap of a Playmobil policeman figure manning the shop front. READ MORE 
  • The NPD Group has revealed that the total US toy industry grew 22 per cent in April – and that a major driver of that growth was the outdoor and sports toys supercategory. Contributing 53 per cent of the total growth in the US toy industry during April, sales of outdoor and sports toys surged by $193m. READ MORE
  • Through lockdown, eBay has supported over 50,000 new sellers, including many small and independent businesses; and the online marketplace has announced that new businesses registering on the site will continue to pay zero fees to list or sell until 31 July. READ MORE
  • SimilarWeb’s April report named OnBuy.com the fastest-growing company in the UK, having seen over three million monthly visitors in April alone. READ MORE
  • Mattel has expanded its #ThankYouHeroes collection. The range now includes new collectable products from Matchbox, Mega Construx and Uno. READ MORE
  • The ONS has reported that the price of games, toys, craft kits and computer games has increased in the UK during lockdown. READ MORE
  • Asda sales grew in Q1 but profit dipped. The grocer reported that higher growth in food and consumables before lockdown was partially offset by weaker demand for non-essential items, such as apparel, fuel and general merchandise. READ MORE
  • With the help of Norton PR, Hacche will introduce the naughty but nice Don’t Be A DikDik card game with a content driven campaign targeting an adult fanbase. The company will also focus PR around its existing Taskmaster the Board Game, as well as the new expansion pack launching later in the year. Nick Ponting, founder and CEO of Hacche Retail, says: “The obvious shift in content consumption over the last few months presents us with a unique and exciting opportunity to work directly with creators to promote games and puzzles to a remote but switched on fan base.” READ MORE
  • Live events may not able to take place, but the Global Licensing Group and industry trade association Licensing International, the week’s official sponsor, have organised an online trade show – Licensing Week Virtual. Registration has now opened for the five-day event that will take place 15-19 June! READ MORE
  • Kirsty Mackenzie, Bandai UK’s head of marketing, says its National Geographic Kits and Sea Monkeys have been helping little ones enjoy their time spent indoors during lockdown. READ MORE 
  • The Entertainer and Smyths Toys have reintroduced a click and collect service. READ MORE 
  • Dr Gummer's Good Play Guide has announced the final lineup for Play At Home Fest, which will be held virtually this coming weekend. Having recognised the need for new marketing strategies for companies in the children’s industries during the Covid-19 pandemic, the team has partnered with the leading names in children’s entertainment to provide brands with an invitation into family living rooms. READ MORE
  • Westfield and Landsec are preparing to reopen centres. The shopping centre landlords are planning to implement a series of safe distancing measures when non-essential retailers are able to reopen. READ MORE
  • Susannah Morgan, deputy managing director at Energy PR, shares her advice on marketing a toy brand during Covid-19. READ MORE 
  • Renee Lee, Zuru's VP of Global Marketing, discusses how lockdown has affected product sales. She also shares the changes that were made to the marketing strategy to ensure relevancy for today’s current state and reveals what’s in the pipeline for Q3 and Q4. READ MORE
  • Inside Out Toys has partnered with Tikiri. The partnership, which was facilitated by lockdown, will see IOT represent the sustainable toy brand in the UK. READ MORE
  • Asmodee has added new Print & Play games. The company has created free print and play versions of some of its most popular family games. READ MORE
  • MGA Entertainment has launched A Little Help from Little Tikes. Families can now access a pool of resources to keep the kids entertained at home. READ MORE
  • TNP Ambassadors' Review: Epoch’s Aquabeads Star Friends. Four-year-old toy tester Amelie got crafty with one of the latest additions to the Aquabeads range. READ MORE 
  • WH Smiths has posted its interim results and Covid-19 trading update. The company reported good first half performance for the period up until 29 February but says sales fell by 85 per cent YoY in April, with revenues for airport and train station stores down 91 per cent and high street stores down by 74 per cent. READ MORE
  • The Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC) has launched 'We are open' – an online map and directory of independent shops and small businesses that are still open and operating amid the outbreak of Covid-19. READ MORE
  • Edx Education, the specialist in fun learning products, has unveiled a new website, as well as a series of new product videos. Edx has also announced that it will be hosting regular free webinars and podcasts for parents and teachers to help with homeschooling during lockdown. READ MORE
  • Funrise UK says Gazillion Bubbles products have surged in popularity over the last few weeks, with over 100 per cent uplift recorded in sales for certain accounts in April. Plus, the Gazillion Tornado Bubble Machine was named in April’s NPD list of top ten outdoor toys! READ MORE
  • Little Tikes is hosting the second annual World’s Biggest Playdate on 16 May 2020. With almost 50 years of expertise in play, Little Tikes is inviting families around the world to join in the fun by hosting their own World’s Biggest Playdate event at home by downloading the free party kit, following along on social media using #WorldsBiggestPlaydate. The outbreak of Covid-19 means that the annual event will run a little differently than planned – at home and virtually. But, if ever there’s a time when families need a day of fun and play, and a pool of free downloadable resources to keep the kids busy for days, it’s now! READ MORE
  • Wilton Bradley has launched a giveaway for NHS staff and key workers. The giveaway offers 50 special individuals the chance to win a Lay-Z-Spa Maldives HydroJet Pro hot tubs (worth £1199 RRP each). READ MORE
  • Marian Bossard, executive vice president, global market events, The Toy Association speaks to TNP about Toy Fair Everywhere. Set to be rolled out as a series of virtual events, Toy Fair Everywhere is designed to help fill the void left by cancelled events and face-to-face meetings that normally occur leading up to the holiday selling season. During these unprecedented times, Bossard explains how this series of market weeks may present a great solution to connecting toy businesses with their customers, suppliers, and the global play community. READ MORE 
  • The organisers of the UK Games Expo have said that while it is not possible to run a physical show this year, they still wanted to bring the community together to run and play games. So, for 2020, they will be hosting Virtually Expo, which will be held between 21-23 August 2020.
  • Following the PM’s address to the nation on his plan to reopening the economy, the government has issued guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments, who may be thinking about reopening over the course of the next few weeks. On Monday, Boris Johnson announced that the Government was working towards a provisional date of 1 June to begin the phased reopening of non-essential retailers. READ MORE
  • Mattel has unveiled its #ThankYouHeroes programme from Barbie. As part of the company’s broader Play it Forward platform, the initiative will support First Responders Children's Foundation. READ MORE 
  • Kids Insights, a global leader in kids market intelligence, has issued its inaugural Kids Insights Global Video Games Report 2020. The report highlights the almost immediate impact of coronavirus on the gaming industry and particularly esports. READ MORE 
  • Big Potato Games, the indie board game company that specialises in making party games for kids, families and adults which are easy to learn and quick to play, has just released a special edition of the company’s secret missions party game: Don’t Get Got – Working From Home Edition. READ MORE 
  • Thames & Kosmos has announced that the co-operative game The Crew – Quest for Planet Nine is back in stock. The award-winning co-operative strategy game previously sold out within days when it first hit earlier in the year. READ MORE
  • Garden centres can reopen in England, says Government; those that do are required to put in place social distancing and safety measure. READ MORE
  • Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association, speaks with TNP about how the team has been helping to protect and promote the toy community amid the global pandemic. He also shares some top advice that could benefit us all. READ MORE
  • Wilton Bradley has offered a first look at its Fiat 500 Push Ride On Car lifestyle images. And, we've come up with some fun ways for little ones to enjoy their ride-ons while in lockdown, including drive-in cinema screenings for box office films that have gone straight-to-digital! READ MORE
  • Our little toy testers – affectionately known as our TNP Ambassadors – are well versed in the practice of putting toys, games and playthings through their paces. Before now, these reviews have only been published within the print issue of Toys ‘n’ Playthings. But, if ever there’s a time for us to bring the thoughts and recommendations of our tiny testers online, it’s now! One of our ambassadors tasked with the job of finding fun activities for families to enjoy during – and after – lockdown is eight-year-old Max. This week, he put Bandai’s National Geographic Dino Fossil Dig Kit to the test. READ MORE 
  • The Chancellor has announced that the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October. READ MORE
  • Data published by The NPD Group, for the week ending 18 April, shows the outdoor toy category is booming, with Wilton Bradley, Vivid, Mookie Toys, Simba and Hasbro among most popular outdoor toys in Britain. READ MORE
  • Last month, Warner Bros confirmed that the new Scooby-Doo movie SCOOB! was to skip its cinema release, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the entertainment giant promised to make SCOOB! available for both Premium Video on Demand and Premium Digital Ownership on 15 May – its original release date – in the US and Canada. Its UK release is yet to be confirmed. While the UK waits in anticipation for the new premier date for SCOOB!, Character Option's Marketing Manager Mark Hunt has shared with TNP some key details about the upcoming master toy range. READ MORE 
  • Play at Home Fest is a virtual festival, organised by Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide. Held between 23-24 May, this year’s event will not only offer a great way to keep the kids entertained at home, but also help raise funds for the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal. To add to the excitement, it has been confirmed that a string of household names will be joining the not-for-profit virtual festival. READ MORE
  • PM Boris Johnson outlined the Government’s three-step plan to lift lockdown measures, last night in an address to the nation. This plan includes the phased reopening of shops from as early as 1 June. READ MORE
  • With lockdown measures still in place across the UK, more independent retailers are turning to online channels in an effort to continue selling safely during these times. For businesses who have not previously had an online presence, and for those retailers who are still keen to learn more about selling online, Cas Paton, founder and CEO of OnBuy.com, has shared his top five tips for online retail. READ MORE 
  • Spin Master has revealed its Q1 2020 financial results. While the company's revenues are down, due to cost pressures from 2019 and coronavirus-related challenges, certain categories have proved popular amid the outbreak. READ MORE
  • Debenhams has said that a further five stores, which are all located in shopping centres owned by Hammerson, will remain permanently closed. READ MORE
  • tonies has launched its Record & Share for the NHS initiative. Ruth Jones, Hugh Bonneville, Suki Waterhouse and Rupert Everett join key workers to narrate their favourite stories to raise money for the NHS. READ MORE
  • Shanghai Disneyland will begin a phased reopening beginning on 11 May. READ MORE
  • Spin Master has announced election of two new independent Board members. READ MORE
  • Licensing Expo Las Vegas will not run in 2020 due to the pandemic, but Global Licensing Group has plans for a series of events to unite global licensing community. READ MORE
  • TNP Ambassadors' Review: Wilton Bradley’s Paint Your Own Kits. Our little toy testers get crafty as they try out the Paint Your Own Piggy Bank and Paint Your Own Unicorn Money Box from Wilton Bradley's Made It! range. READ MORE  
  • The John Lewis Partnership has released its Trends Report, exploring how the nation is spending its time at home during lockdown. The retailer has reported higher demand for outdoor toys, craft kits and games and puzzles as families try to keep the kids busy.READ MORE
  • The Chancellor has said there would be no sudden cliff edge to the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme that was due to close at the end of June.READ MORE
  • tonies commissions child-friendly audiobook amid outbreak. The resource, designed to help parents explain coronavirus to kids, has had 2,777 downloads since its release. READ MORE
  • Rainbow launches ‘Meow, let’s sing!’ The singing contest for fans of the pre-school series 44 Cats will reward talent with pawesome prizes sponsored by exclusive UK toy distributor Siso Toys. READ MORE
  • Exclusive: Kids Insights reveals changes to children’s attitudes, behaviours and consumption habits. The team explores some of the changes it has seen in its global data, since the outbreak of Covid-19, including increased levels of anxiety among children, and changes to the way children are spending their time. READ MORE
  • The Government has confirmed that a revaluation of business rates will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for firms affected by the impacts of coronavirus. READ MORE
  • Hornby Hobbies launches NHS Livery Competitions across its brands. Raising money for NHS Charities Together, entrants have the chance to win their design on a slot car, a hitachi iep class 800 power car model, an Airfix kit, or a London bus model. READ MORE
  • Rainbow launches ‘Meow, let’s sing!’. The singing contest for fans of the pre-school series 44 Cats will reward talent with pawesome prizes sponsored by exclusive UK toy distributor Siso Toys. READ MORE
  • Mattel has released its Q1 2020 figures. The company’s Q1 net revenues are down 14 per cent YoY, amid the outbreak, but CEO Ynon Kreiz remains confident that Mattel will be able to navigate through the balance of the year and succeed in the recovery. READ MORE
  • The Lego Group has shared a short animation in which Lego Batman and Alfred share some child friendly information and advice about the Covid-19 pandemic. READ MORE
  • New Waitrose.com centre to double deliveries to London-based customers. The centre is part of a £100m investment in its online business; Waitrose.com has significantly accelerated its plans to try and meet increased demand for online shopping amid the coronavirus pandemic. READ MORE
  • Amazon VP Tim Bray resigns following Amazon's decision to fire employees making noise about warehouse safety amid Covid-19 outbreak. READ MORE
  • Shopify has announced the release of Shop, a mobile shopping app designed to bridge the gaps in online shopping, Shop offers users the ability to easily discover local businesses, receive relevant product recommendations from their favourite brands, check out and track all of their online orders. The announcement comes as social distancing and stay-at-home measures lead customers to become more reliant on online ordering, and as it becomes more challenging to stay connected to the brands they love. READ MORE
  • Harrods has introduced a personal shopping for its most prized customers. Staff will take orders from clients via telephone and smart phone messaging. READ MORE 
  • Bira's CEO Andrew Goodacre shares his thoughts on how the independent retail sector could be supported back to health once lockdown measures are lifted. READ MORE
  • The NPD Group has released its Q1 report, which showed an increase of four per cent in toy industry sales across 13 global markets – the growth was driven by the eight percent sales increase in March, as global social distancing measures began to be imposed. READ MORE
  • Kidscreen has confirmed that the Asian Animation Summit will be held in Indonesia this year. The ninth-annual event, will showcase as many as 30 animated concepts for kids from Indonesia, Korea, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and beyond that have never been to market before. In light of the continued uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic, the cancellation policy for AAS has been adjusted so that if it’s not possible to produce a live event because of Covid-19, all event registration fees will be fully refunded. READ MORE
  • High streets and town centres to receive £6.1m funding boost. The Government has confirmed that Business Improvement Districts will receive funding in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. READ MORE
  • Royal Mail, Post Office & eBay offer advice to small retailers and online marketplace sellers to help navigate the surge in online shopping. READ MORE
  • Hornby has proudly announced that it is to produce a unique limited edition model, in recognition of Col. Tom Moore and the brave NHS doctors, nurses and support staff fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. READ MORE 
  • Winning Moves has unveiled a new edition of Top Trumps, honouring Covid-19 key and essential workers, is now available to buy, with all net proceeds going direct to the NHS. READ MORE
  • Disney has introduced a range of non-medical, reusable cloth face masks, available to families living in the US. The masks feature Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars character designs. READ MORE
  • To show its support to all the NHS Heroes who are working tirelessly to save lives, the Hornby Hobbies Scalextric team has introduced its NHS Livery Competition, where entrants have the chance to win their design on a one-of-a-kind slot car! The competition has been designed to raise money for NHS Charities Together. READ MORE
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day and The Giant Wiggle fundraiser (which is now in its seventh year of fundraising for Action for Children) have moved into homes during lockdown, to ensure the fun doesn't stop for little fans. READ MORE
  • MGA Entertainment reveals L.O.L. Surprise Frontline Hero Doll. The doll will raise money for the fight against Covid-19. READ MORE 
  • Sainsbury's expects annual profits to take a £500m hit due to the cost of remaining open during the outbreak. And, if the situation worsens, Britain’s second-biggest supermarket chain may have to close some stores. READ MORE
  • Smiffys has announced that it will donate 20 per cent of revenue from VE Day products to NHS Charities Together. READ MORE 
  • Westfield has said that while the pandemic has had a limited effect on Q1 revenue, it expects the impact of Covid-19 to be reflected in Q2. The announcement comes as the shopping giant looks to reopen some stores. READ MORE
  • Amazon reports $75bn Q1 revenues. The online giant reported that it had seen Q1 sales jump following surge in demand, but that its profits were down on last year due to coronavirus-related costs. READ MORE
  • Generation Media: five top tips to improve your e-commerce strategyWith e-commerce largely the only way to show right now, and with online sales representing an increasing proportion of total retail sales, Generation Media explores how sellers can adapt to get ahead of their competition. READ MORE 
  • Intu bondholders plans could see centres in Essex, Glasgow, Watford, and Nottingham seized. After it received less than one-third of UK quarterly rent payments, Intu had already warned that it may breach debt covenants in July. READ MORE
  • 1 in 5 high street shops will not re-open after lockdown. Some retailers have already gone into administration since the start of the outbreak. READ MORE
  • Hasbro has published its financial results for Q1 2020 and provided a business update on Covid-19 related matters. The company has reported a $69.6m loss in Q1, primarily attributable to costs related to the acquisition of eOne, but says its brands, especially its games, remain in high demand amid the outbreak of Covid-19. READ MORE
  • Playmobil has developed a reusable mask to reduce the risk of droplet infections. Available in three sizes and a variety of colours, the mask is made from a durable material and is easy to clean. READ MORE
  • Retailers looking to join OnBuy will not pay subscription fees for the first three months. And after that time, sellers will be protected by OnBuy’s Sales Guarantee. READ MORE
  • A new collection of Fisher-Price #ThankYouHeroes has been unveiled as part of Mattel’s contribution to the fight against Covid-19.READ MORE
  • TNP reflects on how the toy industry has continued to play a significant role in the fight against Covid-19. Suppliers have been working hard to protect front-line workers and keep families entertained and educated during lockdown. Suppliers Wilton Bradley, Spin Master and Vivid Toy Group share their thoughts. READ MORE 
  • Kids Insights explores how the virus is impacting on children living in the UK and offers its trend predictions to watch out for. READ MORE 
  • Orchard Toys sees outstanding response to free resources. Daily activity sheets, recipes and craft ideas have proved a big hit with over 350,000 downloads since lockdown.READ MORE
  • Boots has pledged more support to the NHS following its implementation of a number of other initiatives to support front-line workers and help protect the nation amid the outbreak of coronavirus. READ MORE
  • Stores can operate click-and-collect services, says Government. The Government has updated guidance for retailers, which could allow more non-essential retailers to continue trading during lockdown. READ MORE 
  • Amazon is expected to reveal strong financial figures this week. These results come as the online giant faces accusations that it has failed to put effective health and safety measures in place to protect its staff amid the virus outbreak. READ MORE 
  • John Lewis reportedly has a three-stage plan in place as soon as government gives go-ahead, which the retailer hopes to be as soon as May. READ MORE
  • TV is having its moment, but is your brand? Generation Media considers the role of advertising in these unique and unprecedented times as a means of brand building, rather than a hard sell. READ MORE 
  • John Lewis has reopened its textiles factory in Lancashire to make NHS gowns. It will also donate over 20,000 metres of fabric for scrubs. READ MORE
  • Hasbro and Cartamundi have announced that it will produce and donate 50,000 face shields each week to local hospitals in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. READ MORE
  • Games Workshop will begin reopening stores in Europe and North America. The retailer has said it will reopen more stores across the world as and when government restrictions are lifted.READ MORE
  • Following Trolls World Tour’s record-breaking digital debut, toys inspired by the movie have proved popular in spite of the outbreak-related challenges affecting the retail sector.READ MORE
  • Kate Gibson, MD Gibsons Games, says that during these times, when things are far from business as usual, Gibsons is prioritising communications both with its team and suppliers to keep the company’s supply chain working effectively. She says the company is also trying to increase production safely in response to the increase in demand for puzzle and games. READ MORE 
  • Cartamundi introduces Cards for Humanity. The playing cards, which feature doctors, nurses and surgeons, will help raise funds for NHS Charities Together. READ MORE
  • John Lewis Partnership may never reopen some of its stores and it may also be considering an outside investor for a joint venture to reduce its reliance on retailing. READ MORE
  • Exempt from a business rates holiday in Wales, Debenhams has reportedly deemed it economically unviable to continue trading the majority of our Welsh business. READ MORE
  • Speaking to TNP the day before the Prime Minister announced a strict lockdown across the UK, Gillian Franks, owner of Cheshire-based Pixie Childrenswear, said that she was taking one day at a time, endeavouring to keep it ‘business as usual' and trying to find ways to overcome the challenges. She also offered some suggestions about how suppliers could help support independent retailers in these unprecedented times. READ MORE 
  • UK government issues temporary ban on aggressive rent demands. Under the ban, landlords will be unable to issue statutory demands and winding up orders over unpaid rent. READ MORE
  • John Lewis and Waitrose has launched its 'Super Bear' competition, asking children to create a 'Super-Bear' cuddly toy, to honour frontline workers and raise critical funds for the NHS. READ MORE
  • In spite of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the new Lego Store will open in Hong Kong on 29 April. READ MORE
  • From 15 May, US and Canadian audiences will be able to buy and rent Warner Bros’ animated Scooby-Doo movie Scoob! at home on digital services. READ MORE
  • The event organisers of Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China and Licensing China have decided to further postpone the fairs until later in 2020, following government directive. READ MORE
  • Hape respiratory masks for children aged three- to 12-years-old are now available to order for Toynamics UK & Ireland customers. READ MORE
  • Code-at-home SmartGurl toys integrate the power of play with the power of technology to keep kids engaged and away from computer screens during Covid-19 school closures. READ MORE
  • Gibsons has given away puzzles to those in need and is donating profits from its Piecing Together collection to charity. READ MORE
  • Could the humble jigsaw puzzle save the human race? Gavin Ucko says that families in lockdown are rediscovering the magic of jigsaw puzzles, with the appeal of a cardboard picture suddenly superseding that of digital devices. READ MORE
  • Just after the country went into lockdown, Lisa Clay, Owner of Armadillo Toys spoke with TNP about how the outbreak was affecting her business. READ MORE
  • The BRC has advised the government it needs to give retailers enough notice to plan the reopening of stores to source PPE. READ MORE
  • At the beginning of April, Dr Wendy Hamilton, owner of Grasshopper Toys and curiousminds.co.uk, spoke with TNP about how the inconsistent messages from the British and Scottish governments were making difficult times yet more challenging. READ MORE
  • Already providing free accommodation to NYC-based medical workers at his Four Seasons Hotel, Ty Warner has now introduced Hope, a limited-edition praying bear, with all sales profits to go to the United Way Worldwide Covid-19 Fund. READ MORE 
  • The first podcast based on Novel Entertainment's award-winning animated TV series Horrid Henry will launch on Sunday 26 April. Titled Horrid Henry Unlocked, Lucinda Whiteley, creative director and co-founder of Novel Entertainment, says: “During these challenging times, we want to come together to create a virtual community not only for the extensive Horrid Henry fan-base, but for children all around the world.” READ MORE
  • Energy PR's MD Louise Findlay-Wilson says that radio silence at a time when customers may not be able to buy from you is simply a massive mistake! READ MORE 
  • Just after the announcement of a UK lockdown, Brian Simpson, Head of Buying at SMF Toytown spoke of the company’s priority to retain its staff and using the time to make improvements to the business. READ MORE
  • David Mordecai, CEO of Tobar, tells TNP that the company is focusing its efforts online, as the team increases its social media activity, sharing ideas, resources and competitions with its followers. READ MORE
  • The Posh Paws team has created a series of downloadable activity sheets to inspire families and keep them entertained during lockdown. READ MORE
  • In his update to MPs in the Commons, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the UK has reached the peak of the coronavirus outbreak. He also said that social social distancing is working but lockdown will remain. READ MORE
  • With the UK and many other countries now on lockdown, Edx Education has been busy creating a podcast with expert tips and tricks for home-schooling, as well as free online materials to keep children engaged, having fun and learning. READ MORE
  • Recognising the challenges of life at home during the pandemic, Ravensburger has introduced a hub, where visitors can access free resources and activities to help families fill their days together. READ MORE 
  • Topps UK has launched its much-anticipated Trolls: World Tour Trading Card and Sticker Collections to tie-in with the release of the sequel to the Universal smash-hit movie. With the country on lockdown, and following the announcement that Trolls World Tour had enjoyed a record-breaking digital release, Topps UK quickly implemented an online influencer plan. READ MORE
  • Google Shopping scraps seller fees; sellers will no longer pay fees to place their products on Google Shopping in the US; and this revised model will be rolled-out worldwide by the end of the year. READ MORE
  • After all schools in the UK shut on the 20 March 2020, the world’s fastest-growing marketing place OnBuy has noticed a 32 per cent increase in web traffic to its educational toy department and has shared a list of its top ten most popular educational toys. Products from VTech, Great Gizmos and Padgett Bros are among top-sellers. READ MORE
  • To keep the nation smiling and entertained in these difficult times, The Happy Puzzle Company has been running lots of competitions and posting free puzzles through social media. And now, these puzzles have been made available to TNP.MEDIA to spread a bit of boredom-busting cheer. Be sure to enter the competition by 11:59pm on Monday 27 April 2020. READ MORE 
  • At tonight’s daily briefing, Hancock said the lockdown measures will only be lifted once certain criteria is met. READ MORE
  • In a continued effort to support the toy trade, Thames & Kosmos UK has announced a 10 per cent Independent Toy & Gift Show discount for any orders placed by 30 April 2020. READ MORE
  • Gary Wadhwani, co-founder and director of Craft Buddy speaks of the duty of care that the company owes its employees. He speaks of responding to an increase in demand for its arts and crafts products, while prioritising the health and wellbeing of its staff, their families and the general public. READ MORE
  • Charlotte Khan, owner of Moo Like a Monkey, spoke to TNP about transitioning from being a predominantly brick and mortar shop with an online presence, to an online-only business, while the country remains affected by Covid-19. READ MORE
  • Experts have said that the delays in accessing emergency government loans could lead to independent retailers running out of cash – and up to a third may struggle to reopen after lockdown is lifted. READ MORE
  • With the UK on lockdown, Craft Buddy has seen a surge in demand for crafting activities. While prioritising the wellbeing of its team, the arts and crafts manufacturer and distributor continues to work hard to safely fulfil orders, support its retailers. READ MORE
  • Not even a pandemic could stop the release of Trolls World Tour! The animated sequel was due for theatrical release on 10 April, but due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent widespread cinema closures, Universal made the decision to make the film available for digital rental at the same time instead. And it seems that this bold move paid off for Universal, who last week claimed that the sequel had landed the biggest digital debut in history. READ MORE
  • With most children unable to attend school amid the outbreak of Covid-19, and many parents now home-schooling their little ones, Spin Master-owned Sago Mini has launched Sago Mini School to support the transition. READ MORE
  • Following last night’s announcement that the UK lockdown would continue for at least another three weeks, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has confirmed that the government’s furlough scheme will be extended by one month, until the end of June. READ MORE 
  • The Entertainer is keeping community at the heart of its operations in a unique cross-sector partnership to get vital support to those in need amid the outbreak of Covid-19. READ MORE
  • It's been a hair-raising week for Joe Kissane of the Character Group. Ever-the-charity-man, and a truly good sport, Joe came up with a novel and creative way to help the Fence Club raise some money. READ MORE
  • The Hyve Group has launched its #InspiredByKindness campaign to celebrate the kindness that has shined through in these uncertain and challenging times. READ MORE
  • To support its brick and mortar customers, during these unprecedented times, Thames & Kosmos has said that it will allow retailers to sell on third party websites. READ MORE
  • Playmobil has launched a charity initiative to celebrate key workers and raise funds for NHS Charities Together. READ MORE
  • Hazel Hodgins, owner of Toy Corner shares her experience of opening a new toy store – and keeping her business running in spite of the challenges she faces amid the outbreak of Covid-19. READ MORE
  • It has been announced that the UK will remain on lockdown for at least three more weeks. The announcement comes after the UK's Chief Medical Officer said that the UK was probably reaching its peak, but it was not safely past it. READ MORE
  • Gavin Ucko, Managing Director at The Happy Puzzle Company speaks with TNP about how the team is taking one day at a time and ploughing on as best we can in these ever-changing and most challenging times. READ MORE
  • Aimee Hill, Assistant Selector at plaY-room AIS talks to TNP about how the team has been supporting its members and helping them to prepare for when the retailing restrictions are lifted. And she reminds the industry: “Christmas will happen!” READ MORE
  • Spin Master Corp. responds to the growing need for PPE for front-line healthcare workers by producing more than 10,000 face shields a day, with plans to ship them globally. READ MORE
  • The Bandai Foundation has promised $55,000 to local charities to help support the community in time of great need. READ MORE
  • Brian McLaughlin, Retail Manager at Toymaster, caught up with TNP to discuss the importance of keeping its members informed and the praiseworthy efforts of the independent retailers who are continuing to support their communities in spite of the challenges that they are facing. READ MORE
  • TNP looks at how internet use has been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, the measures that are being taken to prevent outages, and how the growth in audience size for many streaming platforms may be short-lived. READ MORE
  • Natasha Crookes, Director of Public Affairs and Communications at the BTHA, speaks to TNP about the challenges that the industry is facing in light of Covid-19 and credits the toy industry for responding with creativity and positivity. READ MORE
  • A series of virtual toy fairs will run in the US this year to help connect suppliers, retailers, designers and more from the toy industry ahead of the vital fourth quarter. The US Toy Association, which organises New York Toy Fair and a host of other events across the States each year, will launch the first online toy market this July, as part of the Toy Fair Everywhere initative. READ MORE
  • LEGO and its charity partner Fairy Bricks plan to donate 30,000 sets to the children of UK NHS staff. The initiative aims to give parents who are working on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic an activity to enjoy with their family while at home, and keep the kids occupied. READ MORE
  • In response to a trend for playing Articulate over video call apps, Tomy and its Drumond Park games division have launched an official virtual edition of the game. Families and friends can play with no registration or purchase necessary through a new microsite. READ MORE
  • Online games and activities starring pre-school favourite Bing have been launched online as part of Acamar Films' ‘Staying at home together... it’s a Bing thing’ campaign. The initiative launched this week, with regularly updated ideas for keeping little ones engaged during the lockdown. READ MORE 
  • Wilton Bradley has ring-fenced a large supply of Bestway Inflatable Beds and pumps, which are ready for donation to NHS workers on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic. Anyone who would benefit from a donation can learn more by getting in touch with Julian Marsh on julian.marsh@wiltonbradley.com. READ MORE
  • Moose Toys co-founder Paul Solomon says supporting retailers through the Covid-19 outbreak and readying autumn 2020 lines for a big return to form in the second half of the year are the top priorities for his team. READ MORE
  • Harrogate Home and Gift Buyers' Festival, which in recent years attracted a growing number of design-led toy companies looking to tap into the gift market, will skip this year entirely due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Due to take place this July, the 60th anniversary edition of the event has been postponed to July 2021, says Show Director Kelly Grant. READ MORE
  • More than 65,000 face masks and other forms of personal protective equipment have been donated to 40 hospitals in the US by MGA during the first week of its Covid-19 response initiative, Operation Pac-Man. New ventilators, designed in consultation with local hsopitals, will also begin mass production at the Little Tikes factory in Ohio, and more than 2.5 million additional PPE items will arrive in the US, ready for donation, next week. READ MORE
  • WHSmith raised nearly £166m through a placing of 15.8 million new shares valued at 1050p each. The equity raised helped finalise a £120m banking facility from HSBC, Santander and BNP Paribas, which will help keep the retailer afloat after 58 per cent of its stock value was wiped off in the past six weeks, in part due to forced store closures.
  • Children are spending more time during the lockdown playing with traditional toys and reading than you might think. The Insights People's latest findings, shared exclusively with TNP.MEDIA, show a rise in playing board games, desires for Barbie dolls and toy vehicles, along with the surprise resurgence of Facebook among young audiences. READ THE FULL REPORT HERE
  • Retail footfall in the past week unsurprisingly plummeted 81 per cent compared the same week last year. High streets were the worst impacted, though shopping centres and retail parks - even those with supermarkets megastores - also felt the pinch, accoridng ot Springboard. READ MORE 
  • Dobble and a handful of other popular Asmodee titles are being offered from free in a print-and-play format. A new website offers slightly modified versions of Dixit, Unlock! and more, to keep families entertained throughout the lockdown - with more titles being added in the coming weeks. READ MORE
  • Administrators are on stand by at Debenhams, which aims to implement a 'light touch' administration to keep management in place under the stewardship of administrators. Suppliers and staff will continue to be paid throughout. READ MORE
  • Dr Amanda Gummer's Good Play Guide will launch the Play at Home Fest in May, a two-day online event offering toy and children's brands the chance to offer play, entertainment, competitions and more for families experiencing Covid-19 self-isolation and school closures. READ MORE
  • The US toy industry experienced its own self-isolation sales spike, according to NPD. As in the UK, board games, arts and crafts, and construstion sets are top of the shopping list - with total toy sales up 26 per cent. READ MORE
  • Furloughing of a "significant portion" of staff, and executive pay cuts, form the bulk of a new package of cost-cutting measures today implemented by Funko. READ MORE
  • Toymaster, which has until now remained tight-lipped on the fate of its May Show, has confirmed the annual event will be postponed until September. The buying group's MD Ian Edmunds concedes that the dates might not suit everyone, but says: "I hope you agree that we need the show to take place and help kick start the independent toy business." FULL DATES AND DETAILS HERE
  • The award-winning Super Wings pre-school educational programme, which Alpha Group UK launched in 500 schools and nurseries last AW, has been made available to parents who find themselves home schooling during the coronavirus lockdown. READ MORE
  • Monopoly, Dobble and Uno are among the best-selling toys of the past weeks. Sales of games and puzzles soared 240% during a seven-day period in March, according to NPD. Other winners have been outdoor toys and constuction sets - both seeing significant boosts. READ MORE
  • Deliveries of purchases made on The Entertainer website may take a little longer than usual, after the toy retailer adopted a shift system in its warehouses "that ensures social distancing at all times" to help safeguard staff against the coronavirus. "The safety of our employees is our first priority," says a notice on its delivery page. "We’re striving to deliver our usual levels of service but hope you’ll understand that things may be a little slower."
  • Mattel has launched its own online resource for families. Mattel Playroom offers online games, printable activities and more to keep kids entertained and playing while stuck at home during global social distancing efforts. READ MORE
  • An online resource for kids and parents has been launched by Hasbro to keep families occupied in lockdown. The #BringHomeTheFun campaign features a central online resource of videos, play tips and more - and the company is stepping up its support of UK charity Save the Children. READ MORE
  • Keel Toys Sales Director Steve Cox shares his experiences and tips on working from home, as much of the UK toy industry convert corners of their homes into their lockdown offices. READ MORE
  • The team at leading UK content and production house BoxFX have launched the #NHSTabletTeam initiative to help connect those receiving care for coronavirus in hospital with their loved ones. Learn how you can get involved and READ MORE
  • Mattel has begun repurposing fabric for Barbie and Fisher-Price products into masks for healthcare workers. The company is also looking into designing and producing other PPE to help keep frontline responders safe. READ MORE
  • While The Netherlands opts to leave toy retailers open as part of the country's partial lockdown, Nico Blauw, CEO of Dutch toy company BOTI International, shares his first-hand account of how the toy trade is operating and the reality of keeping toy shops up and running. READ THE FULL REPORT HERE
  • The LEGO Group is donating $50 million to help kids affected by the coronvairus through its charitable arm, the LEGO Foundation. The toy company has also launched a number of online initiatives to help families use LEGO as part of kids' education and to keep boredom at bay. READ MORE
  • Global confirmed coronavirus cases have passed 720,000, as the UK government looks to impose further restrictions on travel and may look to extend the current three-week lockdown by several months. 
  • The Toy Association has urged US legislators to keep toy stores open as more families enter self-isolation. A letter campaign outlines the educational and emotional benefits of toys and play for kids, and the economic importance of the industry. READ MORE
  • The Orb Factory, the toy comapny behind brands such as Soft 'N Slo Squishies, is converting its toy manufacturing machinery to ramp up production of sanitiser and disinfectant. READ MORE
  • Toy Industries of Europe shares an update on how it's working with national toy associations across the continent to best support businesses throughout the coronavirus outbreak. READ THE EXCLUSIVE REPORT HERE
  • Global confirmed cases of the coronavirus have passed 530,000, as the US becomes the nation with the highest number of infected. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for Covid-19. 
  • Retailers forced to close their doors due to the coronavirus have refused to pay their rents to Intu. The shopping centre operator, which already warned of collapse after a dismal 2019, says less than a third of all rent, due Wednesday 25 March, was paid, and some of its biggest tenants are refusing outright. READ MORE
  • A stop motion video released by Playmobil uses its iconic figures to explain the coronavirus outbreak to kids, from how to stay healthy and safe, to why they aren't at school - and even the meaning behind its Latin taxonomy. SEE THE VIDEO HERE
  • A coronavirus support hub for independent retailers has been launched by Bira. It provides handy links and advice for indies to access government guidance, loans, and details on what new rules and regulations apply to the sector. Andrew Goodacre, the association's CEO, says: “Everyone at Bira has been working hard to ensure that our members and the wider retail community receive the support they need at this time."
  • Disney share price yesterday dipped below $100 for the first time in nearly two and a half years, as the coronavirus forces movie postponements, parks and resorts closures, and dramatically reduced retail. It now sits just above the mark, but has lost close to 20 per cent in the past month.
  • LEGO says it is still on track to open the 80 new LEGO stores in China it had forecast for 2020. The coronavirus has hit other areas of its business, including its theme parks and supply chain, but the company's regional GM told local news LEGO is in "good position to deliver" on the openings. READ MORE
  • MGA boss Isaac Larian has launched Operation: Pac-Man, a relief initiative to support hospitals and healthcare workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak. The company is donating cash, procuring masks and opening up its domestic manufacturing to begin producing medical equipment. READ MORE
  • Danish toy chain BR Toys has closed temporarily exactly a year after it reopened under the Salling Group, after being saved from insolvency. READ MORE
  • US toy company Crazy Aaron's has swapped production of its popular play putty for hand sanitiser to support local healthcare workers and first responders. The team are gearing up to produce 1500 gallons a day. READ MORE
Crazy Aaron's team swap putty production for hand sanitiser
  • The Toy Trust's big annual fundraiser has been called off. Due to take place in Oxfordshire this June, the Toy Trust Activity Day 2020 will no longer go ahead, but organisers say they will take the year to relaunch and reinvigorate it's main annual event for 2021. READ MORE
  • The Independent Toy and Gift Show is back on - though at a later date. After a swell of support from exhibitors and members, the AIS group will look to reschedule the show in Solihull for later September. READ MORE
  • Kids' TV viewership has been given a dramatic boost as families adjust to life in lockdown in the UK and across Europe. Generation Media charts the trend across Europe, early figures in the UK and what it means for toy advertisers in the UK, who could see enormous benefits to ROI as screen time and viewership continues to rise. READ THE EXCLUSIVE FULL REPORT HERE
  • All non-essential retailers have been ordered to close by the UK government. Smyths Toys joins The Entertainer in closing all stores, but will keep its online business open for customers to place and receive orders. READ MORE
  • Hasbro has seen "great demand" for its family favourites and arts and crafts lines, as parents look for ways to keep children entertained indoors. CEO Brian Goldner says its China supply chain is "back up and running", and the company will look to launch new product aimed at stay-at-home families as early as this week. READ MORE
  • Christmas in July Festival, due to take place this summer, will be postponed until September. Around a dozen toy companies joined retailers, confectioners, gadget and make-up brands at the media event last year to showcase their hottest product for Christmas. 
  • Hamleys has closed its doors on all UK locations for the time being. The historic retailer will continue to operate at airports and online. READ MORE
  • Toys R Us Canada has begun selling Stay-at-Home bundles of toys exclusively online, with free delivery. The retailer last week closed its doors for a fortnight. READ MORE
  • In the UK, Nando’s, McDonalds, The Entertainer, Costa Coffee, Waterstones, and Primark are among the high-profile retailers and fast-food restaurants that will close by the end of 23 March. WHSmith says it offers “essential products” and intends to remain open.
  • The number of confirmed cases worldwide has passed 350,000 and deaths as a result of contracting the virus passed 15,000 as of 23 March.
  • Smyths is restricting capacity to 20 customers at a time, with a strict one child per adult policy as part of its measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus spread in-store. READ MORE
  • The Entertainer will close all its stores from 5pm today (23 March). Its website and elc.co.uk will continue to receive and deliver orders for the time being. READ MORE
  • Spin Master’s manufacturing in Asia is nearing normal levels, it says, with “substantial improvements” in factory capacity seen across China, Vietnam and India over the past three weeks. The Canada-based toy giant has withdrawn its financial guidance and will share a new update during its Q1 report in May. READ MORE
  • Funko has withdrawn its financial guidance from earlier this month, which forecast 6-9% revenue growth. READ MORE
  • The UK Games Expo has been postponed to August, in a move that organisers say will protect the health of all involved and minimise financial burden on exhibitors. Anyone unable to make the new dates will be issued a full refund for either their entry ticket or stand fees. 
  • This year’s AIS Independent Toy and Gift Show will no longer take place next month, and will skip 2020 entirely. READ MORE
  • LEGO says the coronavirus has yet to significantly impact day-to-day operations. A spokesperson for the company tells TNP.MEDIA: “We are working to mitigate any disruption caused by the closure of manufacturing facilities – our own and partners. At this stage, all LEGO manufacturing sites are running as normal and there is no direct impact to customer supply.”
  • Basic Fun layed off 10 per cent of its staff as a cost-cutting measure against lower-forecast sales due to the coronavirus. READ MORE
  • Distoy 2020 has been cancelled and will not take place this year.
  • Licensing Expo, the licensing industry’s biggest trade show, has been postponed. The Las Vegas event will now take place in August, with exhibitor and visitor bookings and registration automatically carried over. READ MORE
  • E3, the highest profile trade show for the video game industry, has been cancelled. Due to take place in June, organisers at the ESA say they will look to produce and online showcase for exhibitors to share their news. 

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