Containment: the toy players between worry and hope as Christmas approaches

Paris (AFP) - Online sales far from compensating for those in stores, currently prohibited: toy specialists are worried as the crucial holiday season approaches but hope the government will soon change the rules and save their season.

Specialty stores, especially toy sellers, had to close their doors at the end of October, during the re-containment imposed by the government to fight the coronavirus epidemic.Considered "non-essential", they can only sell online.

This measure comes at the worst for the toy industry which achieves between November and December 48% of its annual sales estimated at 3.5 billion euros, according to NPD Group.

The sector would be deprived of 770 million euros in sales if the departments and stores concerned remained inaccessible until the end of the year, the firm calculated.

"We are worried about the closure of shelves and toy stores, the whole industry is mobilizing to demand their reopening" from November 13, tells AFP Anne Besson, spokesperson for the French Federation of Toy and Childcare Industries (FJP).

The federations in the sector are negotiating with the government.Received at Bercy, they made a series of proposals to reopen under conditions adapted to the health situation.

Toy sellers are notably ready to increase the gauge from 4 to 8 square meters per person and to extend their opening hours in order to better regulate the flow of customers and to enforce social distancing.

Contacted by AFP, Bercy indicates that nothing will be announced before Thursday.

"It is essential to be able to reopen", November 13 would be the last deadline "to save the economic and social situation," said AFP Romain Mulliez, president of the PicWicToys brand."Seasonal activities cannot survive thanks to government aid."

Posted Date: 2020-11-30

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