The Entertainer is upping its store expansion plans after full-year sales and profits rocketed in a gangbuster year for toys.

  • The Entertainer plans 18 new stores for current year
  • Profits surged 27% last year
  • Like-for-likes up 13.7% and total sales increased 20.8%

The toys retailer plans to open 18 new stores this financial year and “significantly more” in the following year after a strong year of trading.

Pre-tax profits surged 27% to £7.6m for the year ending January 31 as total sales increased 20.8% to £129.1m. During the same period, like-for-likes increased 13.7%.

The Entertainer’s profits were initially £845,000 higher, but the company donates a tenth of pre-tax profits to charity.

Founder and managing director Gary Grant said the surge in sales was helped by major toy launches across the year.  

Sales of Lego doubled for the three months after the launch of The Lego Movie, while the loom-band craze resulted in an “absolutely staggering” jump in footfall, and sales of products related to the Frozen movie soared.

Positive outlook

The company has upped its planned store expansion from 15 to 18 outlets after the strong trading, and Grant said expansion for the following year will depend on how it trades this Christmas.

He was upbeat about the peak trading season and beyond, which he expected will be boosted by Star Wars-themed toys following the release of the latest film in the franchise on December 18.

The Entertainer has ambitious expansion plans as it seeks to fill the gap left by the closure of Woolworths in 2009.

Grant said: “There are many communities that don’t have a toy retailer – when Woolworths closed its doors, 800 toy departments closed their doors. We do not even have a seventh of the store estate of Woolworths currently.”

The Entertainer has moved its main distribution centre to Banbury as it seeks to put in place an infrastructure over the next five years that will support its expansion. The new warehouse has 2.5 times the capacity of its previous warehouse.

The Entertainer currently has 107 stores in the UK.