Sainsbury’s agrees that ‘toys should be toys’

We’re really pleased to hear from Sainsbury’s that they agree with the direction of the Let Toys Be Toys campaign, and that ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’ signage in stores is already being phased out.

In our letter to Sainsbury’s we highlighted problems such as store signage and also celebrated what they’re doing well, such as their summer ‘Boredom Busters’ website – see our full letter for details.

We’ve responded to Sainsbury’s to thank them for such a positive response, and also to highlight remaining areas such as the prominent ‘Girls Toys’ and ‘Boys Toys’ graphics on the website and very gendered sticker books. We also hope this positive outlook will be shared with the clothing team.

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Sainsbury’s letter

Dear Let Toys Be Toys

Thank you for your letter to Sarah Warby, the Marketing Director, about your campaign, Let Toys Be Toys.  Sarah has asked me to respond on her behalf.  I’m sorry it’s taken a while for our response to get to you.

You are right to flag this as an issue and we agree with the direction of your campaign. I am glad that you’ve recognised some of the work that Sainsbury’s has been doing in this area, most recently through our Bumper Book of Summer.

It’s unfortunate that you’ve highlighted one of our stores using old point of sale signs to differentiate the toys in the range. I would like to reassure you that we no longer define girls’ and boys’ toys in store in this way, and the old point of sale signs are being phased out.  We want to make it as easy as possible for customers to find items quickly, and with over a thousand stores I am sure you can appreciate that it takes a bit of time to make changes without irritating our customers.

Ultimately, we agree that toys should be toys; we also recognise that we can always do more, so I appreciate you taking the time to highlight your concerns.   We have spoken to our toys team and let me assure you that they have been working very hard, doing their very best to ensure that we neither develop nor group our toys by gender.

We know that children learn through play, which is the key focus for our teams when developing the Sainsbury’s own brand range. Ultimately, our goal is to provide great toys that children want to play with, regardless of their gender.  In October, we’re launching a new own label range called ‘Pretend and Play’. I’d encourage you to look out for this and we’d be happy to send you samples. We’ve worked really hard on our colour choice and packaging to keep the range as neutral as possible.

Thank you again for taking the time to Sainsbury’s.


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