ECONOMY

Toy sales keep increasing

The Greek retail sector of toy and baby care goods grew by a hefty average of 17 percent in the 2002-2004 period, according to a recent survey by business research firm ICAP. The reasons cited are good pricing policies, the supply of a great variety of products and the expansion of dominant chains across the country. The market’s size grew from 175 million euros in 2002 to 240 million euros in 2004. Sales in toy chains have also risen sharply from 128 million in 2002 to 170 million euros in 2004. The concentration of the market has allowed the few big players to broaden their scope to baby, paper and seasonal products, so that they have obtained a share from these markets as well. On the other hand, the number of individual toy stores is declining at a fast rate. ICAP found that toys covered 70-73 percent of the chains’ sales in the period examined, with traditional toys accounting for 90 percent and electronic ones grabbing a 10 percent share in 2004. Baby goods sold through chains recorded a 21 percent rise per year. The survey predicts toy sales through chains will continue to increase in the next couple of years by an average yearly rate of 13-14 percent, electronic toys’ sales will grow by 10 percent annually and baby goods will sell 15-17 percent more every year. The toy market also grew in the EU in the 1997-2003 period at an annual rate of 6.5 percent. Chains and individual stores led sales with a 31.7 percent share in 2003, followed by hypermarkets and discount stores with 24.8 percent. Video games covered 28 percent of the overall toy market, ahead of baby toys with 12.5 percent and jigsaws with 10.1 percent.