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Thread: Zodiac Toy Shops

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Walsall, West Midlands
    Posts
    39

    Default 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.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    100

    Default 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.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Walsall, West Midlands
    Posts
    39

    Default 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.

  4. #14

    Default 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.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Walsall, West Midlands
    Posts
    39

    Default 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.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: Zodiac Toy Shops

    Hi, me again.

    That's fascinating about the staff 'bartering'. Seems a funny word, but I presume you mean staff theft. Or do you mean staff swapping goods, giving away goods to mates in other shops, and so on???

    Years after being a little Zodiac customer, I ended up an assistant manager in another Arndale Shop, so I have actually been in those tunnels beneath the Arndale Centre. Little did I know, they'd played host to such scandal!!!!

    But yes, as a child, Zodiac was the dream end to every trip to Manchester. Thank you, Zodiac.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Zodiac Toy Shops

    Ah yes I remember Zodiac in Wolverhampton. We were quite spoiled for toy shops cos we had the Beatties department store, BD Price Bikes and toys and a shop called Playschool (or Playskool) not far from Zodiac. Am I right in remembering though that Zodiac didn't stock the 'Star Wars' action figures. I seem to remember having to go to the others to get these.

    Thanks for the website.....great stuff

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Walsall, West Midlands
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Zodiac Toy Shops

    Zodiac Wolverhampton.
    In 1972 I was across the other side of Mander Square as manager of the electrical/white goods dept of Woolworth (their largest UK store) selling fridges, dishwashers etc. I became disenchanted with the "Wonder of Woolworth" and saw an ad for Area manager Zodiac in the local paper. I applied and for several months I managed the new Zodiac branch, before being let loose on half a dozen stores in the Midlands.
    The Wolverhampton store was very busy despite the afore mentioned competition and in the early 80s we acquired the unit next door and doubled the size.
    I used the Wolverhampton branch as my regional office not far from home in Walsall.

    STAR WARS figures .....
    We sold thousands of them and were often out of stock (in 1984 we sold 150,000 at 1.49 each from 80 branches)

    I'll sort out a list of best selling lines from the info I have circa 1984/5 ... later.
    Everything passes and vanishes, everything leaves its trace,
    Often you see in a footstep, what you could not see in a face.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    7,865

    Default Re: Zodiac Toy Shops

    Great thread, very informative

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    501

    Default Re: Zodiac Toy Shops

    I'm sure there was a Zodiac Toys at Woolwich - not completely sure though!

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