BTHA Retailer Award Winners

Toy Industry Awards celebrates Retailers for altruistic efforts throughout a challenging year

Lisa Clay of Armadillo Toys recognised with new ‘Ultimate Superhero’ Award

18 January 2021: With what has been a difficult year for not only the toy industry but retail in general, this year’s Retailer of the Year awards (organised by the British Toy & Hobby Association) celebrates those who have shown great altruism and innovation, and who have gone the extra mile during this challenging year.

Phil Ratcliffe, President of the BTHA and Chair of the Retailer of the Year judging panel, commented: “This is a change from our usual awards. We made a conscious decision this year in the retail landscape to take a completely different tack on the Retailer of the Year awards and celebrate the retailers who have gone the extra mile. We are not using our historic categories, instead we are celebrating altruism and innovation and we have received lots of entries demonstrating this. This year we have decided not to award an overall Retailer of the Year as toy retail from every quarter contributed massively. Over the last 12 months, retailers across the industry, both small and large, have shown great spirit and dedication in adapting and shaping their business to help support and provide for customers despite the challenges they have faced throughout the continuing pandemic. We are mindful that there have been many great acts of support and generosity during the pandemic across the industry but the panel can only judge those who entered or were nominated.”

The following retailers have been recognised for their efforts throughout 2020:

  • Toy Corner from Galway, Ireland
  • The Trading Post from Kingsbridge, Devon
  • The Entertainer
  • Smyths Toys

These retailers all displayed great community spirit in various ways such as by partnering with other local businesses and providing toys and packages to local food banks and those in need during the pandemic, as well as providing free resources online and toys in boredom busting boxes to keep children occupied whilst at home.

This year the British Toy & Hobby Association also introduced the Superhero Awards, in order to recognise and celebrate staff within retail who have gone above and beyond normal service this year. The winner of the inaugural ‘Ultimate Superhero’ Award is Lisa Clay of Armadillo Toys who has continued to deliver excellent services to her customers and community, whilst using innovative ideas to make safety restrictions in her shop child-friendly and fun. Lisa worked every single day throughout lockdown and delivered toys to customers herself as well as sorting postal orders and arranging for collection. Lisa also created her own character, Sally the Social Distancing Spinosaurus, who had socially distanced dinosaur footprints around the shop as well as Sally’s special sanitising station, among other initiatives and activities.

Alongside Lisa were lots of brilliant examples of how individuals went above and beyond to help their community this year and in turn have been awarded a Superhero Award. Their efforts ranged from volunteering for the NHS, helping in their local community, raising funds and volunteering for local charities. A full list of the Superhero Award winners can be found below.


Toy Corner
Galway, Ireland

The Trading Post
Kingsbridge, Devon

The Entertainer

Smyths Toys


Ultimate Superhero Award: 

Lisa Clay, Armadillo Toys, Leeds

Superhero Awards:

Lisa Dyson, Games Crusade

Nouman Qureshi, Ebay

Craig Whiting, The Entertainer, East Kilbride

Julie Robbins, The Entertainer, Jersey

Karen Stacey, The Entertainer, Brent Cross

Layla Owen, The Entertainer, Llandudno

Chantel Lopez, The Entertainer, Ashford

Inna Nikolova, The Entertainer, Stratford

Jade Oliver-Deacon, The Toy Shop Okehampton

Lisa Dyson, Games Crusade

Kelsey Davis, The Entertainer, Hereford

Paul Hart, The Entertainer, Telford

Karen Emery, The Entertainer, Area Manager

Kelly Martin, The Entertainer, Brighton

Andrew Laughton, Chairman of the BTHA commented: “It has been incredibly heart-warming reading through all the inspiring efforts by individuals and retailers who have shown great creativity, selflessness and spirit whilst adjusting to keep not only the toy industry going but also helping those in need during these difficult times. Whilst we have highlighted just a few of the extraordinary efforts we are sure there are many more unsung heroes that we are unaware of. The real winner this year was toy retail in general and we are grateful to the whole toy industry who have done masses this year. I’d also like to give a special thank you to Golden Bear who have created these bespoke Superhero awards for us. The toy industry has proved just how special it is this year in coming together and I congratulate everyone involved.”

TRA toy and supplier of the year winners


The TRA’s Toy of the Year Awards takes a different approach to reflect a unique but challenging trading year

Embargo: 19th January 00:01

There is no doubt that 2020 was a very different year in many ways. The impact on retail could not have been more pronounced – with online sales accounting for just under half of the market in 2020.

As such, the TRA’s Toy of the Year committee adopted a different approach to the selection process for its awards this year.

Toy suppliers and retailers have played a major part in keeping the nation’s children smiling, entertained, healthy and educated resulting in a 5% increase in the overall sales achieved in a very difficult year, heavily influenced by Covid-19.

There have been four outstanding categories which have played their part in delivering this growth, all of which have outperformed the overall market.

The TRA recognises that multiple suppliers have played an integral part in each of the categories, but the selection panel has decided to highlight a ‘winner’ in each of these categories to represent the largest overall contribution to the category in a unique year for the industry.


This was a key performer in the overall market. As well as helping educate and entertain children, this category topped the growth (year on year) performance with various suppliers driving this increase. Ravensburger, Orchard, Gibsons Games, Asmodee, Hasbro and Tomy (Drumond Park) all performed superbly well.

The panel has chosen RAVENSBURGER as its standout performer in this category.


This is an area dominated by one supplier, although Hornby with its Airfix range added a different dimension to this category with notable ranges from K’Nex and Geomag.

The winner in this category is LEGO. Delivering remarkable growth consistently over the last 10 years, Lego has yet again outperformed the market and is to be commended for keeping the nation’s children (and kidults) entertained and amused throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and various lockdowns.


In a category that benefitted from people having to stay at home, it was inevitable that growth would be achieved in this area. Many products helped with our children’s mental and physical health – bicycles, trampolines, skateboards, as well as outdoor ranges from the likes of Little Tikes.

The standout performer in this category was MOOKIE TOYS for its swingball range.


Again, a variety of suppliers contributed to making this category such a success. These were Galt, Crayola, John Adams and Spin Master with its Kinetic Sand, to name but a few.

The winner in this category is HASBRO for its domination in the arts and crafts sector through its Play Doh brand.

Many other suppliers contributed to the success of 2020 and the panel recognised the most notable listed below, with the reasons noted alongside. These will all receive a “Highly Commended” certificate this year.

BANDAI for its launch of the Cocomelon range.
CHARACTER OPTIONS for continued success with its Peppa Pig, Goo Jit Zu and Pokemon ranges

FUNRISE for its Fart Ninja line
GOLDEN BEAR for its Hey Duggee and Bing ranges
MGA ENTERTAINMENT for its L.O.L. Surprise! range
MATTEL for its success with its Barbie, Hot Wheels and Star Wars’ The Child ranges
SPIN MASTER for Paw Patrol
VTECH for its varied pre-school learning range
ZURU for the successful launch of its 5 Surprise Mini Brands range

LICENSES continued to play a big part in 2020. In addition to licenses already mentioned, Frozen, Super Mario and Harry Potter continued to deliver throughout the year.

The TRA sincerely hopes that ‘normal service’ resumes in 2021 when we can revert to our customary criteria and identify the actual toy winners and allocating awards accordingly. In the meantime, we wish you all a successful and healthy 2021.