Some Better News for the Toy Industry

It looks like the toy industry is working out some of the kinks in its supply chain and that retailers are placing reorders. Just a few weeks ago, I was being told by my sources that due to a pullback by concerned container shipping lines, some toy companies were having difficulties booking passage for their products.

Now I hear a different story. Sources tell me that the container ship shortage has lessened and that products are shipping smoothly. Supporting this notion is a Bloomberg News article by Christian Wienberg: “Maersk Lifts Profit Outlook.” Mr. Wienberg reports that “The world’s largest container line may generate $1.5 billion more in operating profit this year than previously expected, as its business proves resilient to the Covid-19 crisis.” He goes on to write: “…container volumes [will] back at 2019 levels by the beginning of next year.“

Just a few weeks ago, I was hearing that retailers were working through their inventory and were holding back on re-ordering. Now, sources tell me the reverse. Re-orders are flowing in, and some companies are hoping that they will have, not their best year by any means, but a good one. Supporting this notion is another quote from Mr. Wienberg’s article: “Container volumes are now rebounding with potentially an inventory replenish story on top.”

Again, just a few weeks ago, sources told me that due to concerns about cancellations, o.e.m. providers were asking toy companies and retailers for as much as 50% upfront before they would manufacture. Now my sources tell me that O.E.M. providers are shipping goods without the upfront monies.  They are now confident that their customers will take the orders.

Finally, Wal-Mart and Target just had a major quarter. Consider this CNBC headline: “Target reports a monster quarter — profits jump 80%, same-store sales set record.” Or this Yahoo Finance headline: “Walmart Q2 earnings soar, led by nearly 100% surge in e-commerce.”

The August 19, 2020 Bloomberg Close had this outstanding graphic depicting how five major retailers have outperformed all expectations:

Should we be celebrating? No, not just yet. Congress has yet to pass a relief bill, an election is coming, unemployment remains high, and a potential second wave of Coronavirus shadows all optimism about an early end to the pandemic.

Still, we should smile at the sun when it does come out and enjoy the moment.

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