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Read the November issue of Progressive Preschool now

The November/December 2021 edition of Progressive Preschool Magazine is available to read now.

Q4 started with a bang for the nursery industry, as we all finally came back together in real life at Harrogate International Nursery Fair.

The reaction to this year’s show has been overwhelmingly positive, with retailers and suppliers alike commenting on how productive the event was, and how good it was to finally get back together face-to-face and see each other – and products – in the flesh.

After returning home, we spoke to the show organisers, who were so pleased with the outcome, that they already have a date for your 2022 diary, as the fair will return to Harrogate from 16-18 October next year, before moving back to a springtime slot in 2023.

We also chatted to some key buyers, who sung the praises of the fair and were delighted to see so much innovation in the industry. One even said they weren’t able to get around all of the halls as there was so much to see.

Harrogate

The excitement didn’t end there, though, as at time of writing we were getting ready to crown the winners of the Progressive Preschool Awards 2021 in a glittering ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel. The day was a lovely chance to don posh frocks and catch up with many that we haven’t seen for so long, while also celebrating the resilience, innovation and downright brilliance of our industry. Congratulations to all the worthy winners and finalists.

There’s still more to come, too, as we are just days away from Brand Licensing Europe returning to ExCeL London. In this issue, we’ve found out what some of the key licensors in the preschool space are planning for the event, and there is plenty of exciting news incoming, with a mixture of classic brands providing much needed familiarity and comfort, alongside a number of new, exciting properties ready to capture imaginations.

The likes of Clangers, Hey Duggee, Miffy, Bing and The Gruffalo, among others, are continuing to grow, while newcomers such as Bluey and the annual return of Magic Light Picture’s Christmas Day Donaldson/Scheffler special, are bringing fresh characters to the space. Licensors are expanding their hard lines offering, while also making the most of the world opening up again, with some exceptional experiential events.

Licensing

Once the shows and ceremonies are over, we’re looking ahead to Christmas. Despite the ongoing supply issues, which continue to put pressure on manufacturers and distributors during such a key period, the industry remains positive and retailers are doing all they can to overcome any shortages.

Having caught up with a number on indies, it seems they’re working hard to bring shoppers in-store to begin their purchasing early, with a range of events and incentives. It was heartening to hear that many report a continuing consumer shift to shopping local and returning to the high street.

All this, plus we also have exclusive interviews with online retailer Character.com, plus ambitious licensee Drew Pearson International – both companies are looking to make even further in-roads into the preschool space. There is also our regular research and insights from GfK and The Insights Family, plus we put Neil Montgomery, UK commercial director at Juratoys in the hotseat for this month’s Executive Profile.

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