As Christmas approaches, toy stores call for reopening and adapt

Reopening toy stores would be the “Better health strategies”. This is the argument developed by the Federation of specialist toy shops (FCJPE). This organization brings together JouéClub, KingJouet, PicWicToys and even La Grande Récré.

These toy giants sent an open letter to Prime Minister Jean Castex on Wednesday November 11 to demand an end to their administrative closure. And this, the day before the press conference of the head of government where he must take stock of health measures. Shops specializing in toys make around 50% of their sales in the period November-December.

65% less turnover

In its letter to the Prime Minister, the FCJPE underlines that an authorization to reopen stores from November 13 will prevent customers from waiting until December to do their Christmas shopping, and therefore ” to double attendance between the 1is and December 24 “. To do this, the toy giants say they are ready to make concessions: limit the number of customers in their stores, ask them to do their shopping on their own, or increase the range of opening hours to smooth flows.

Covid-19: the political issue for small traders

For now, delivery and collection in store (click and collect) act as a shock absorber. At KingJouet, the system has been improved to allow orders to be collected directly from a car trunk.

“We are also trying to increase our capacities on our merchant site, indicates Patrick Jocteur Monrozier, director of the group’s customer center. The capacity of our logistics platform has increased from 5,000 to 10,000 orders per day ». Thus, KingJouet delivers from its warehouses.

The company is also developing delivery from its stores, which allows it to distribute a total of 10,000 additional orders per day. « We have tripled our internet sales, Patrick Jocteur Monrozier figure. Yet we are still 65% below our usual turnover. “

“Inability” to sell the toys

According to the NPD firm, in 2019, the distribution of market shares was as follows: 35% of toy sales were made by specialized stores, 31% by hypermarkets and supermarkets and 20% by Internet platforms. ” The risk is that some of the customers turn to e-commerce ”, analysis Frédérique Tutt, toy sector expert at NPD.

“If the French wait until December to make their purchases, that could also create logistical problems”, continues Frédérique Tutt. At a month and a half before Christmas, most of the stores’ stocks are already in place. The fear is not to manage to sell everything.

In the JouéClub store in Mérignac, in New Aquitaine, “With seven employees and a reduced capacity, we can accommodate 160 customers per hour in the store. On the other hand, we can only prepare 28 click and collect orders, advances the spokesperson of the channel, Franck Mathais. You have to process the order, print, collect the products from the shelves, pack, etc. And it takes time. “

Franck Mathais is not particularly afraid of the giants of the Net. “They don’t have the stocks to supply the whole of France,” he says. This channel will not be able to replace ours. So the risk is that people find themselves unable to buy their toys ”, he said.

Risk of bankruptcy

Difficult for traders, therefore, to estimate the loss of cash that this confinement will cause. The bulk of stocks for the end of the year have already been built up. They are financed either with own funds or through loans, as is customary. “We will have to pay the deadlines. And traders who can’t risk bankruptcy, explains Franck Mathais. Within the Federation, we estimated that 500 companies could be affected by the end of the year. “

The problem is also likely to continue, as the lost cash can no longer finance new stocks the following year. Only very small businesses with fewer than 50 employees can benefit from a solidarity fund of up to € 10,000. Small and medium-sized enterprises in the sector can resort to partial unemployment. They had benefited last spring from loans guaranteed by the State.

“We are grateful to the government, emphasizes Patrick Jocteur Monrozier, whose group has around 1,000 employees. But all this costs the community. But we prefer to work. “

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