Hamleys has said there will be plenty of toys to buy in its stores this Christmas, as it unveiled its top toy predictions for 2021 – a list that includes a “magic” cauldron and the latest in Lego’s tie-in with Super Mario.
Victoria Kay, the head of buying at the toy chain, said the retailer had been building up its stock levels since March. “I don’t have a crystal ball but all I can say it that as we stand today we’re in a really strong position,” she added.
The possibility of a toy shortage this Christmas has become the latest concern in the country’s supply chain crisis. This week a buildup of cargo in Felixstowe resulted in vessels being directed to other ports, leading to predictions that toy deliveries would be waylaid. The Entertainer toy chain thinks there will not be enoughBarbie dolls and Paw Patrol toys to meet demand.
Nevertheless the government sought to reassure Britons, with the chancellor saying he was confident there would be a “good amount of Christmas presents available”. Rishi Sunak said the supply chain snarl-up was a global issue, adding: “I feel confident there will be good provision of goods for everybody.”
Hamleys, which is known for its flagship store on Regent Street, London, said it had a good supply of the toys in a top 10 that runs the gamut from £11 for a LOL Surprise Doll to the Barbie Dream House, which with a working lift and swimming pool costs £310.
However, it described the Magic Mixies Cauldron as the “wow toy of 2021”. The set, which costs £70, comes with a wand, spell book, potions and interactive toy. Young magicians can use it to conjure, complete with smoky special effects, a cuddly pet critter. The refills needed to repeat the theatrics cost about £10.
Lego’s recently trumpeted the success of its Super Mario tie-up with the games company Nintendo. Last year a set devoted to the mustachioed plumber was a big hit, and this year’s one, which is focused on his taller brother, Luigi, is also expected to be as popular.
Hamleys benefited from having a large own-brand toy business, which made the company less reliable on big names, said Kay. “When we opened the stores after being closed for quite a while we needed to make sure they were ready for customers to come back to,” she added, reiterating that the company had been getting ready for Christmas for more than six months.
Two years ago, Hamleys was bought by Reliance Industries, which is the business empire of India’s wealthiest person, Mukesh Ambani, whose $101bn (£73.8bn) fortune, according to the Bloomberg billionaires index, makes him the 10th richest person in the world.
After last year’s cancelled plans, Hamleys predicted families would want to buy presents they could play with together and that did not involve the internet. “This year it is all about imaginative role play and trying to get kids off screens and bring some of that magic back,” said Kay.
Hamleys’ Christmas top 10
Playmobil police robot – robot with movable legs and gripping arm (£20).
Shifu Orboot Earth – augmented reality globe with dedicated app (£50).
Magic Mixies Cauldron – cauldron with interactive soft toy (£70).
Mattel Barbie Dream House – latest refurb of classic dollhouse (£310).
LOL Surprise Movie Magic Doll – doll and wardrobe accessories to “unbox” (£11).
Ralleyz Warrior 3-in-1 – remote control racing car that fires darts and bubbles (£90).
Lego Super Mario Luigi – Mario’s brother gets his own starter set (£50).
Nerf Elite Flip 2.0 – blaster with back-to-back barrels (£25).
Huggables – huggable Avocado, Unicorn, Watermelon or Koala (£20)
Dicii Snakes and Ladders (£14).