Marketing Blog

Marketing Blog

Supermarkets are ruining the independent retail toy market – why are we letting it happen?

A funny thing happened to me the other day, I was in my local supermarket shopping with my loved one for the weekly groceries – not something I do very often – and was struck by a very weird sight! shopping trolley retail store

Perusing the toy and gift aisles , as I often do, and moaning and groaning to myself at the ridiculous prices being offered, I spotted a familiar face at the end of the aisle with his shopping trolley overflowing with goods coming towards me. Immediately I could see he was not best pleased to see me and quickly considering whether he could slip away down the cooking and home utensils aisle without it being too obvious. My curiosity however would not let him get away and I made a friendly beeline for the surprised shopper cutting him off at the kitchen whisk and melamine cutlery stand!

“Hello” I said to the shopper with his full trolley, who happened to be the owner of a local toy store. “How are you doing, how is business”. I slowly looked down at his trolley and instead of this weeks groceries he had his trolley loaded up with assorted Lego items, board games and other toys. Embarrassingly he admitted to me that he was stocking up for his shop shelves as the supermarket were selling it at a price lower than he could buy it direct from the manufacturer.

What madness is this….retailers buying stock from a supermarket to stock in their own store. Am I surprised by this …! And I know that many toy shops selling big name brands are doing exactly the acquaintance is not alone in his weekly shopping trip to stock up his shelves!

So who is to blame for this ludicrous state of affairs? The supermarket, the independent retailer ….no I point the finger at the manufacturer and distributors of these toys who are allowing their goods to be sold at ridiculous prices …all for short term gains. At some point the independent retailers and other larger toy stores will say enough is enough and just walk away from these brands (or copy what they have and dump the manufacturer) and move to brands that are not stacked high and sold low! So is it not about time that retailers took up the fight and stopped stocking such brands – many of which only provide a very small margin on the goods sold.

And what about the toy trade press, what do they have to say about this ……well absolutely nothing. They cannot comment as the culprits (the big boys) who allow their products to be sold at such low prices (often under their usual trade prices) are their paymasters! I hope to see the trade press stand up for the small retailer soon…I won’t hold my breath!