Dutch toy stores in trouble
The future is looking bleak for toy stores in the Netherlands. Their average turnover is plummeting, and more and more stores are closing their doors. While the approaching holiday season may be the lifebuoy for many toy stores, it is already too late for some, RTL Z reports.
The toy industry in the Netherlands stopped growing in 2009, according to a study by ABN Amro. The number of physical stores is dropping rapidly. In Zeeland it even halved since 2005.
This is largely due to the shift to online shopping, where there is still growth in toy sales. In the first half of 2018 the Dutch spent 18 percent more on toys online than in the same period last year. Half of Dutch expenses on toys were spent online. Another challenge for toy-only stores, is the fact that toys can also be bought in other stores like supermarkets.
One toy store that will not survive the year is Pim's Olifant in Utrecht. Here you will not find well-known brands that are advertised on children's channels around the festive season. The toys at Pim's Olifant are rarely plastic, and don't require batteries or chargers.
Pim's Olifant was opened by Ineke Stuivenberg (67) and her partner Marion (54) in 1996. In 2011 it was elected the Quality Toys Shop of the year. The store will be closing its doors in mid-December. "That decision was made due to the declining sales", Stuivenberg said to RTL Z. Children and their parents apparently no longer want quality toys. "Children ask for what they see on television." And the small toy shop can't compete with the big toy giants.
The Utrecht toy store also has a small web shop, "but that did not go that well", Stuivenberg said to the broadcaster. "We are not so educated digitally, we just do not get it so well." The biggest problem they face is competition from big chains. "You can also buy toys at the Lidl and the Kruidvad. What I find annoying is that they always undercut the prices. A box of Kapla costs 49.45 euros. Now you sometime see them for 35 euros. They do not have to make a profit."
Investing more money into Pim's Olifant is not possible, because the turnover has been decreasing for some time. "You then end up in a negative spiral." And the two owners found putting their own money into the shop too risky. They therefore had to make the decision to close their doors.