The Entertainer is expecting to significantly expand in 2018.
While the toy industry was dominated by the disappointing news about Toys R Us earlier this year, other chains are reporting more positive news. The Entertainer is one of the UK’s largest toy store chains, with Managing Director Gary Grant telling Toy News that “2018 is our year of growth”.
Key growth will be happening in Europe and the Far East, where the Entertainer is expanding through a franchise model. In the UK, the chain currently has 145 stores and expects to increase that to 200 by the end of 2019. Worldwide, Grant expects the retailer to have 1,000 stores eventually.
“Internationally, we started to grow our business overseas five years ago and with one of our longest-serving and successful partners, the Zeta Group,” he told the toy industry magazine. “Zeta Group is based in Azerbaijan and has two stores currently, with a third opening before Christmas.
“The group has also opened its first store in Kazakhstan. That’s the same group moving into other countries with The Entertainer brand. This is all done through franchising, so if you walked into these stores, you could well be walking into a store in London, or Camberley. They look absolutely identical in every way, it’s just in a different country.”
While Toys R Us closed its UK operation earlier this year, it has had little impact on the Entertainer. It was when the British retailer closed in 2009 that Grant’s stores had the boost that led to the rapid expansion seen since. During that time, the stores have had a consistent LEGO range, something that was not always the case during the chain’s earlier years.