Toy retailers Toys R Us and The Entertainer have reported a strong year in 2009 after mopping up share left from the collapse of Woolworths.
The UK arm of Toys R Us - which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year - revealed a pre-tax profit surge from £9.4m to £30.4m in the year to January 30. Turnover increased from £516m to £556m. This month it will open stores in Bradford, Canterbury and Newport, taking its store count to 78.
The Entertainer’s turnover soared 25.9% to £59.8m in the year to January 30. Like-for-likes shot up 15.7% while pre-tax profits rocketed from £39,000 to £1.4m after “collapsing” the year before.
Since year end The Entertainer’s like-for-likes have grown 4.9% while total sales increased 10.7%.
The Entertainer managing director Gary Grant said: “These are excellent results given the conditions. There was a monumental change in toy retailing with the demise of Woolworths and this was the first full year trading of Woolworths exiting the market.”
Grant said The Entertainer was able to grow profits by growing sales and by keeping control of costs.
The Entertainer will open eight new stores in the current year, and expects to open between eight and 12 next year. “It’s the largest number of store openings we’ve ever undertaken,” said Grant.
The retailer has already opened this year in Hull, Bury, Hereford, Warrington and Stockport and will open in Merryhill, Arndale Centre and Horsham in the next five weeks, which will take its store count to 55.
Grant said: “We’re in a positive position. We have great promotions coming up.” He is hopeful of a good Christmas. “We have great products coming through, and continued growth in the Lego brand, Sylvanian Families and Toy Story 3.”
However, he added: “The next few years will be a challenge. We’re in the disposable income bracket. But we’re cautiously very optimistic.”
The retailer moved its warehouse from Amersham to Swindon at the start of the year, which Grant said negatively hit sales for six weeks, although he added those have now been recouped.