Toy Fair gives Olympia the thumbs up
by Annie Byrne
The British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA), organiser of The Toy Fair, tells exhibitionnews.co.uk the “time was right” to return to Olympia from Excel London. “We are looking at being at Olympia for the foreseeable future, but things change,” says BTHA director of communications, Natasha Crookes. “The natural daylight makes all their products look fantastic.”Exhibitor Wilton Bradley’s Dave Ellis says: “Something had to be done. On a purely attendance level visitors found it difficult to visit Excel and we have really seen a positive response to the move.”Held from 26 to 28 January 2010 the dedicated toy, game and hobby trade exhibition is around five per cent down on exhibitors year-on-year, with noticeable brands such as Mattel and Hornby missing. Crookes says although some brands are choosing not to exhibit this year the show had a waiting list of exhibitors. “We have the same floor space occupied as at Excel. We have had to make the aisles narrower and there was no room for features this year. “The toy industry has been incredibly lucky in the recession. The closure of Woolworths was quite a big loss as it accounted for 11 per cent of the UK toy sales. Everyone has just battened down the hatches and they’ve tightened down what they do and as a result they have come out better on the other side,” Crookes adds. As well as moving the exhibition from Excel London to Olympia, the BTHA also took the decision to reduce the number of days from four to three. “With the new venue we thought it was time to make the change. Exhibitors thought that three days was really going to be enough,” says Crookes.