Norfolk toy maker rises above family favourites

Orchard Toys, based at the Wymondham Business Park. Managing director Simon Newbery. Picture: Denise

Orchard Toys, based at the Wymondham Business Park. Managing director Simon Newbery. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

A Norfolk board game manufacturer has trumped family favourites Monopoly and Scrabble in a top-selling toy chart compiled by online-retail giant Amazon.

Norfolk toy manufacturer Orchard Toys has trumped Scrabble and Monopoly with the Amazon sales of its

Norfolk toy manufacturer Orchard Toys has trumped Scrabble and Monopoly with the Amazon sales of its card-based game, Shopping List. - Credit: Archant

Wymondham-based Orchard Toys has emerged number three in Amazon's 15 best-selling toys of all time with its supermarket-inspired card game, Shopping List.

It was only denied the top spot by the iconic combination puzzle the Rubik's Cube, and word-game Bananagrams, which finished first.

Amazon, which created the chart to celebrate its 15th birthday, said the list leaders proved that there was still a customer appetite for traditional toys, despite the meteoric rise of computer games and electronic gadgets.

Simon Newbery, managing directory of Orchard Toys, said the success of Shopping List – a memory game aimed at three to six-year-olds – had been key to the firm's sales growth, with revenues on the verge of doubling since the company moved from Nottingham to Norfolk seven years ago.


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But he said the winning combination of a best-selling product and sustained growth did not mean he wanted to create a toy business the size of Tomy or Mattel, although he confirmed that the firm's overall strategy is to establish itself as a household name.

'Shopping List is a product which has been a best-seller for the past 10 years,' Mr Newbery said.

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'It has been a joke within the company that every household must now have a copy.

'But that does not mean that we are looking for world domination. Our aim is to keep delivering a quality product and to become a household name.

'There is an educational value to our products, and there is clearly an expanding market for board games. We concentrate on a narrow age range and we keep trying to keep doing what we do well.'

The triumph for the firm comes just weeks after it was handed a bronze medal at the Toy Shop UK Independent Toy Awards for its board game Where's My Cupcake?

Mr Newbery, who declined to disclose the turnover for the business, added: 'Shopping List has been key because it is the product that has become synonymous with our brand. Parents see it in pre-schools, then go out and buy it.

'Since we moved to Norfolk nearly seven-and-a-half years ago, we have nearly doubled in size.

'We have already exceeded where we want to be, but we want to continue to grow, and we are still breaking records month-on-month.'

Orchard Toys employs about 50 people at its base in Wymondham where it designs and packages a range of board games and educational toys.

Victoria Nelson, manager of Amazon Toys, said: 'At a time when interactive and electronic toys are becoming more advanced, our best-sellers chart shows that traditional family favourites still have a place in Britain's toy boxes.'

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