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Read the latest issue of Progressive Preschool now

Ahead of next week’s Toymaster May Show, the new issue includes a special independent retailer roundtable, as well as focuses on sustainability, games and puzzles and dress-up.

Having turned the calendar to May, there is currently a host of preschool suppliers finalising their plans for the much-awaited return of the Toymaster May Show from 16-18 May in Harrogate.

A key date for independent retailers and suppliers alike, the Toymaster Show had to be postponed for the last two years due to Covid restrictions, so the industry is hugely looking forward to gathering back at the Majestic for those all-important face-to-face meetings.

The suppliers we spoke to for the preview feature in this issue, said the interaction they have with indies at the show is vital to their business and provides an invaluable insight into current trading and consumer habits, enabling them to better plan their ranges and support those retailers.

From a wider perspective, consumer confidence in general is at an all-time low, according to recent figures, with budgets being stretched more than many of us can remember. We caught up with some preschool indies in this issue’s industry round table to find out how that is affecting business.

So far, it seems that sales are fairly steady, with most reporting a good start to the year. Almost unanimously, however, the indies told us that price is by far the number one factor affecting buying decisions at the moment, as consumers look to make their cash go further. Therefore retail offerings are being planned with this in mind to provide a value driven range.

While there is no doubt that it’s a worrying time for all industries, it seems the preschool sector has a glimmer of hope for sales as we enter the holiday planning season.

Despite purse strings needing to be tightened, the travel industry is reporting a boom in sales as consumers plan long-awaited family trips away this summer. Bookings of both staycations and holidays abroad are seeing an increase, offering a valuable sales opportunity for the preschool sector, as parents prepare to take little ones away, many for the first time.

Looking beyond the summer, there is some big excitement from the Max Publishing team, as we plan for the tenth annual Progressive Preschool Awards in the new venue of the Royal Lancaster London.

For 2022, the awards will include some new categories, including the Eco Award, as well as expanded categories with accolades for Best Licensed Toy Range (12m+) and Best Non-Licensed Toy Range (12m+), while the mobility sector has also been strengthened with the introduction of Best Wheeled Goods and Best Car Seat.

Entries are free and are open now via the websiteprogressivepreschoolawards.co.uk/enter – until the closing date of 3 July 2022.

In the meantime, we hope to see many of you on the show floor in Harrogate.

Check out the full issue of Progressive Preschool May/June, by clicking here.

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