ANNUAL REPORT 2014 BLOKKER HOLDING
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MAXI TOYS

FORMAT
Maxi Toys is a specialised toy retail chain operating in five European countries. A typical Maxi Toys store has floor space of between 600 and 1,000 square metres and is generally located in large shopping centres right outside the major cities. The head office and distribution centre are located in Houdeng-Goegnies, Belgium. Established in 1989, Maxi Toys has been part of Blokker Holding since 1997.

Maxi Toys celebrated its 25th anniversary during the year under review, which it celebrated in a variety of ways. The quarter-century celebrations were supported with additional advertising, special offers, in-store decorations, creative collections and promotions. And to share in the celebrations with its customers, Maxi Toys treated them to several campaigns and promotions between March and December. Around 80,000 customers took home the Maxi Toys truck, a special anniversary gift.

The international toy market showed plenty of dynamic in 2014, with various peaks and troughs. Maxi Toys saw its sales increase slightly in 2014. Its online sales also increased further during the year under review. With the exception of Luxembourg, the retailer saw its sales revenues from games and multimedia items fall in all markets in 2014. Its own white-label brands of traditional toys continued to show strong sales. 

The number of stores remained virtually unchanged, with two closures and one opening. Traditional retail struggled mainly in the Belgian and French markets, which are both Maxi Toys markets. This is the result of both an increase in the number of online players and the reduced market share of hypermarkets in France. This trend has been unfavourable for Maxi Toys because hypermarkets generally attract large numbers of customers to the shopping areas where Maxi Toys is located. 

CLOSE TO THE CUSTOMER WITH CONTEMPORARY FORMATS
A successful shopping experience remains key to Maxi Toys’ success. The combination of leading, premium brands and the range of exclusive and up-to-date white-label brands appeals to large numbers of consumers. Research shows that customers spend an average of 42 minutes in the stores. Bestsellers during the year under review included the new collections of the white-label brands Professor PI (educational toys) and EZ BLOX (construction toys). 

OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE
The major expansion of the distribution centre in Houdeng-Goegnies (trading as Logitoys) from 30,000 to 45,000 square metres was a major milestone in 2014. The expansion coincided with the redesign of the supply chain. This has improved services to both online customers and in the physical stores. The expansion also enables Maxi Toys to realise its plans for expansion for the next 10 years. 

MASTER FRANCHISES IN GROWTH MARKETS
Since Maxi Toys expects limited growth in the coming years in its two main markets, France and Belgium, the chain is increasingly focusing on the world around it. Revenues are increased as a result of the introduction of the master franchise model. In 2014 the maxitoys.ro webshop is set up in Romania, in addition to a master franchise in Bucharest, repeating previous successes in Turkey and Morocco. The model is scheduled to be rolled out in other non-European markets in 2016. 

OPEN AND COMMITTED TEAMS
It all starts with the employees and this requires a constant focus on development. For example, external experts were hired during 2014 to adapt the entire training and education programme and create a Maxi Toys Academy. Since 2011, Maxi Toys have been working on the ‘Standardisation and professionalisation’ project, which focuses on some of the following topics: store image, routing, communications, duties, employee training and coaching, and service. 

ACTIVITIES AND OUTLOOK FOR 2015
In light of the overall economic trends and increased competition in the toy market, Maxi Toys again expects this to be a challenging year. Sales in the first few months of 2015 were stable, despite the early Easter. The toy retailer is well-positioned to overcome these challenges.

 

Maxi Toys celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014.


Maxi Toys, Flémalle, Belgium.


Maxi Toys mascot.


Entrance to Maxi Toys store.