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Zodiac Toy Shops

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  • Zodiac Toy Shops

    For 15 years from 1971 to 1986 I worked for Zodiac Toys, first as an area manager and then as retail operations director. By 1986 when I left following a takeover we had 85 UK branches. I've just been working on a website dedicated to Zodiac. Its a work in progress at the moment.
    If you're interested its at www.freewebs.com/zodiactoys


    Everything passes and vanishes, everything leaves its trace,
    Often you see in a footstep, what you could not see in a face.

  • #2
    Re: Toy Shops

    Wow! I practically lived in my local Zodiac (Croydon branch) in the mid 70's

    Thanks for the link
    Last edited by sixtyten; 08-02-2008, 02:09.

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    • #3
      Re: Toy Shops

      Looking through the site now.. memories flooding back
      Its so ingrained in my mind, I could still draw the old logo and I'd not seen it since the 70's

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      • #4
        Re: Toy Shops

        I'm pleased to have brought back some happy memories for you. I've had a load of stuff in a box for 20 years, so I thought I'd share it.
        Croydon was our busiest shop in the 70s, even in the 80s when we were opening much larger units Croydon still held its own. 1985 sales grossed 600,000 .. I guess you remember it was a bit of a squeeze at the best of times. Toys are pretty bulky (all cardboard and fresh air) so it was a job to keep the shelves full at Christmas ... they had deliveries every day.
        I'll try and include info about everyshop eventually. I think I put the old and new Croydon shopfronts in the photo album.
        Everything passes and vanishes, everything leaves its trace,
        Often you see in a footstep, what you could not see in a face.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Toy Shops

          Excellent Saved link so I can keep checking back.
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Re: Zodiac Toy Shops

            Site has a pic of Rainbow Brite dolls, stating that they were Zodiacs own brand??
            I thought Mattel made them?

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            • #7
              Re: Zodiac Toy Shops

              Well spotted Daz, not very 'Brite' of me, was it? Put it down to one of my frequent 'senior moments'. I will correct the error asap.
              Everything passes and vanishes, everything leaves its trace,
              Often you see in a footstep, what you could not see in a face.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Zodiac Toy Shops

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                • #9
                  Re: Zodiac Toy Shops

                  nice video clip of adverts in your site..cheers!

                  spotted 'Nick Cotton' in the last advert

                  and (at the start of the Cadburys Roses ad, on the sofa) the girl from the checkout till in Depeche Modes' video for 'See You' ..my fav DM song

                  (I never forget a - pretty - face )
                  Last edited by rossobantam; 15-02-2008, 01:37.
                  sigpic

                  Splitters!

                  Visit us here:

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                  • #10
                    Re: Zodiac Toy Shops

                    I assume this is from the Pocket Money Toys range
                    ?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Zodiac Toy Shops

                      Yes Daz,
                      At 15p and the old logo it must be mid 1970s. Quite a few Zodiac lines appear on eBay and elsewhere. I'm amazed at some of the prices .... 28 for a Tommy Gunn figure (originally 2.99)
                      Everything passes and vanishes, everything leaves its trace,
                      Often you see in a footstep, what you could not see in a face.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Zodiac Toy Shops

                        I remember Zodiac Toys in Manchester. Best shop in the Arndale to a kid!!! I seem to remember three hours of getting dragged round the dull grown-up shops (while my mam or Grandma shopped for tights, hoover bags, or hot water bottle ... snore!!!) were eventually rewarded with a mooch round Zodiac Toys.

                        Quite a small shop, but I always came away with with a box of Airfix 'little' soldiers.

                        And just outside this toy shop, in the earlier days of Manchester's Arndale Centre, were a large wooden rhino and camel. They were for kids to play on, and had hollowed out 'secret' stomachs to slither through. Hurrah! I miss them! hehe.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Zodiac Toy Shops

                          Manchester ... I remember it well. Started off as a combined Toy/Confectionery outlet in 1976 with Maynards taking the right-hand side, not leaving much room for toys. Later the sweet section was reduced and in 1982 the unit next door was acquired. This enabled sales to grow and it was No. 2 in the chain. Problem was the high rent and the stock losses. It was costing 3000 a week in overheads. The shop never made a profit between 1976 and 1986. Stock losses were staggering at 88000 in the five years to 1986. Bartering was rife amongst shop staff in the Arndale, mainly taking place in the service corridors that ran along the back of the shops. Zodiac were one of the first retailers to install CCTV in their branches and to have cash collected by security vans. Apologies if this is boring stuff to the lay person, but it may prove interesting to any retailer who chances upon this thread.
                          Everything passes and vanishes, everything leaves its trace,
                          Often you see in a footstep, what you could not see in a face.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Zodiac Toy Shops

                            Not at all boring, quite the opposite it makes very interesting reading, Dont think we had a Zodiacs in Stoke On Trent?? So I myself have never had the pleasure, from all the pictures on your website I feel I missed out big time,but what a joy to see all those childhood toys stored on the shelves in the photo's. Great Thread and very much appreciated.
                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              Re: Zodiac Toy Shops

                              Thanks Huggie for your kind words. I have more pics to upload when I have time.
                              We never did get to Stoke on Trent, but I remember trudging the streets of Hanley on several occassions looking for suitable premises. I dare say we would have got there eventually had the chain not folded following the disastrous Ward White takeover and subsequent events.
                              Everything passes and vanishes, everything leaves its trace,
                              Often you see in a footstep, what you could not see in a face.

                              Comment

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