UK book sales for Hit Entertainment's Thomas & Friends brand rose by ten per cent last year, to make it the number one pre-school publishing property for the year.
Egmont has been working alongside Hit to spearhead the growth with an expanded range of titles and formats including classic story books, novelty books, magazines and television tie-ins.
Thomas & Friends has sold more than 200 million books globally to date.
Key to the increase has also been the brokering of innovation promotions, such as the recent Daily and Sunday Mirror reader giveaway, which offered ten free classic Thomas & Friends story books over ten days. This resulted in an estimated one million books being redeemed, and contributed to one of the best months yet for book sales of the property, with close to two million books sold in January.
Master publisher Egmont UK has continued to drive growth in new markets with the appointment of new publishing partners in China, Thailand, Spain and Holland. In addition, it has also founded the first pan-Eastern European agreement with other members of the Egmont Group to open up 13 new markets for books and seven new markets for magazines.
"Thomas & Friends continues to hold a unique place in our pre-school culture," said Nicky Thomas, acting head of publishing for Hit Entertainment. "Its strong and rich heritage in children's publishing is unparalleled and, as a brand, Thomas transcends all cultures and languages and provides young children with stories that last a lifetime and continue to be passed on from generation to generation."
Hamleys will be hosting a special series of Thomas & Friends weeks from March 16th in its flagship London and Ireland stores.