Christmas toy market faces its own China crisis

Wednesday 17 November 2010

It's November, and by mid-afternoon London's streets are already shrouded in autumnal twilight. But the city's shopping districts are brightly lit, colourfully decorated and thronging with people. Christmas may be more than a month away, but in the slightly surreal world of seasonal retailing, it's here already.

Outside Hamleys, the giant toy emporium on Regent Street, Snow White is calling out a welcome to passers-by, while beside her, a man in bright orange top hat and tails ushers eager customers into the shop.

Inside, trade is brisk - and noisy. For toy stores, this is by far the most important time of year. Shelves are stacked from floor to ceiling with a bewildering array of garishly packaged products, from teddy bears to train sets.

But predicting which toys are going to be the top sellers can be something of a black art, especially as orders need to be placed up to a year in advance.

Read more about this story here.


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