Planet Games is looking for local stores to host toy-vending machines that generate commission and footfall for shops at no cost to the retailer. 

The units, tradition­ally found in shopping centres, playgrounds, cin­emas and supermarkets, require a child to insert £1 and turn a dial to receive an individual toy. 

Speaking to betterRetailing, Planet Games managing director Nicos Nicolaou said the company provides a free machine, stock, delivery and upkeep to any store in the UK, with more than 300 convenience stores already taking part. 

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Describing their role in or outside stores, Nicolaou commented: “These machines are a footfall driver, and could be a rea­son why a parent would go to a specific shop when they have their child with them.” 

He said the machines were “perfect for small shops because they don’t take up too much room”. The dimensions are 60cm width, 30cm depth and 130cm height. They are waterproof and can be put outside the shop during the day if there isn’t enough room inside,” he said. “We find this is a popular option for small shop owners. The unit is on wheels, which means it’s easy for the retailer to move it to where they want.” 

Planet Games also provides a security chain to protect devices outside from theft or damage. 

Asked about com­mission, the managing director refused to give a level, stating that it varied by retailer and perfor­mance. Discussing other commercial terms, he said there was no costs for stores, but added: “There is a minimum three-month period of grace, so we can cover delivery costs, and this is usually enough time to know whether a machine is performing well, or not.” 

Each vending machine can house up to 240 individual toys at once, and no electricity is used during its operation. 

Nicolaou said there were no eligibility terms that convenience stores need to meet, other than that they must be visited by children. “The toys are aimed at children aged between three and 12 years old,” he said. 

The money inserted into the machine is col­lected by Planet Games. “Usually, we collect the takings once or twice a month, but it depends on the sales within the stores themselves,” he said. If it’s small, we are more likely to only go once every two months.” 

Planet Games also oper­ates machines filled with sweets and bouncy balls. 

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If you are interested in getting a free toy-vending machine for your store, email betterRetailing at letters@newtrade.co.uk