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Toy shop sector in serious trouble as crisis and online retail bite

Friday 23 November 2012

This may be the traditional time of year for buying presents but many of the Netherlands’ toy shops are in serious financial trouble, Nos television reports on Friday.

Sales have been declining steadily since 2008 and experts say some 300 of the country’s 1,100 toy shops may have to close their doors in the coming years.

‘In four years their turnover has gone done by 25%, from €1bn in 2008 to around €770m in 2011,’ Amsterdam University retail expert Frank Quix told the broadcaster.

Online shopping

A recent report by ABN Amro bank also said turnover in the non-food retail sector is plummeting and bankruptcies will rise in 2013.

The economic crisis and the shift to online shopping for computer games in particular, is behind the downward trend.

In addition, chains like Bart Smit and Intertoys are facing competition from other outlets like book shops and the Kruidvat high street chemists chain which are also stocking toys. DIY chains like Gamma are also moving into the sector.

Independent shops are among the hardest hit. ‘It looks bad,’ said Jan Sinke of sector magazine Speelgoed+Hobby. ‘The owners say ‘I have cut down on wrapping paper, on plastic bags, on shop lighting and personnel. There is nothing more I can cut. Next year I will have to close down.’


Where do you buy toys? Share your thoughts using the comment box below.

© DutchNews.nl



 

Readers' Comments

I buy good, old-fashion, wooden toys in local shops.
Big toy stores are sad, it is only about plastic toys, considering children as consumers (which they should not be) and easy-to-play toys. Children would play with those pieces of plastic for a month (if lucky) and then they want new ones.
I want good toys children can have fun for years and carry the memories with them.

By joanna | 23 November 2012 9:03 AM

You can often find toys far cheaper on Amazon. Some of the toy shops over here are so expensive it is unbelievable. Children are often more excited to receive a parcel in the post than with the actual toy, so buying over the internet has another advantage.

By Darren | 23 November 2012 9:06 AM

An informed consumer will always "shop around" for the best price, now more than ever. These days any allegiance to local shop keepers is taking a back seat to the rising "austerity" on all fronts. We know who to blame for this. Sad, but true.

By Al | 23 November 2012 9:23 AM

The problem is that shoppers use the high street as a "shop window" to look and handle, but then go home and shop on line at companies who very low overheads to save Eu5.
But then when the online purchased stuff goes wrong they come back to the high street for the service under guarantee and cannot accept the associated costs of handling and postage.

By nd | 23 November 2012 10:11 AM

The problem is that shoppers use the high street as a "shop window" to look and handle, but then go home and shop on line at companies who very low overheads to save Eu5.
But then when the online purchased stuff goes wrong they come back to the high street for the service under guarantee and cannot accept the associated costs of handling and postage.

By nd | 23 November 2012 10:20 AM

In the UK there is the ELC (Early Learning Centre)... Why not over here? Great quality toys with some element of thought behind them. I avoid Bart Smit and Intertoys like the plague. Just money traps! Many the time my kids have actually played with the packaging more than the toy.

By Allan | 23 November 2012 11:36 AM

joanna, nice comment and way of thinking. I like supporting small local businesses. In the US where I come from everything is HUGE; the parking lots for some stores there are almost as big as entire neighborhoods here in A'dam. Everyone in the store is making minimum wage and you do not recognize a soul from the local neighborhood. Is this the type of world we really want? For the sake of cheaper products? I wonder if people think this through at all...

By B | 23 November 2012 11:41 AM

I'm afraid that like the toy shops, some posters are living back in the past, when everything was rosy, and you played with carved blocks of wood.

Not understanding the needs and desires of today's children (after the age of 4, when they grow out of wooden toys) is going to leave you alienated.

If your child is feeling alienated, its because his train-set or marionette just isn't as exciting as some other child's Playstation.

Incidently, many of today's great architects and engineers were raised on 'plastic toys': we call it lego! It encourages the skills needed to plan and create. Only so much you can do with wooden blocks....

By osita | 23 November 2012 6:18 PM

I agree with you about lego, Osita. It is an amazing "toy" that still keeps children entertained and stimulated for hours. Keeps me amused too. Thankfully, you can buy it cheaply online!

By Darren | 24 November 2012 11:38 AM

Osita, I think there is a huge difference between lego and the majority of the palstic toys sold today. With lego you have to actually do something, most of modern toys are just to be taken out of a box and used.Children play with them for few weeks.
Do you really want to give your 4 years old a playstation? Go ahead. I really find disturbing seeing children able to type on a keyboard before they are even able to write with a pen.
But if that's how you want your children to grow up, feel free.
I see all the children I know (ranging up to 8-9 years old) are perfectly fine with old-fashion toys and no playstation.

By joanna | 26 November 2012 8:44 AM

@joanna: it is absolutely normal for children to use keyboards before they use pens. After all, keyboards require far less motor coordination and can - and hopefully will - anticipate the age in which they learn how to articulate written language.

By Andre L. | 26 November 2012 9:08 PM

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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