The Toy Book
Sharon DiMinico, founder and CEO at Learning Express, talks about supply chain disruptions, top toy trends, and Learning Express exclusives in the Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A.
The Toy Book: How did Learning Express plan for supply chain disruptions early in 2021?
Sharon DiMinico: Because of our close partnerships with our vendors, we knew early last year of the predicted supply chain interruptions. We guided our stores to buy early and in larger quantities, and to plan on having most of their fourth quarter inventory on hand by September. It worked. Our stores are in fantastic inventory positions due to early and informed planning, as well as constant communication with our vendor partners.
TB: Do you expect missing holiday toy shipments to arrive in early 2022? How does Learning Express plan to balance that out with spring 2022 product shipments?
SD: With every order placed, our stores are able to request a cancel date. Most of our vendors allow for order adjustments and/or cancellations. With only a few exceptions, our stores are able to plan for a healthy flow of product in spring 2022.
TB: What were some of Learning Express’ top sellers last year?
TB: How important is it to carry Learning Express exclusives?
SD: The best-performing exclusives are within trending categories. Last year, we had exclusives within the slime category with Dope Slime, as well as exclusive Squishmallows that kept consumers coming to shop in-store.
TB: What consumer shopping trends do you predict in 2022?
SD: TikTok will inform future product trends. It certainly fueled the growth of fidgets and Squishmallows in 2021.
This article was originally published in the February 2022 edition of the Toy Book. Click here to read the full issue!