Hamleys’ chief executive walks from iconic toy store as hunt for new owners continues

Hamleys’ chief executive, Ralph Cunningham has walked away from the famous toy shop, as the iconic brand looks for a new owner.

His exit from the firm comes just five months after Hamleys’ head of finance, Alexander Jablonowski, left the business and Yong Shen, House of Fraser’s former finance chief, was brought in as his replacement.

Yong has now been promoted to take the helm, the company has said.

The Telegraph reports that this appointment has now raised further questions about the business links between Hamleys owner C.banner and House of Fraser’s former owner, Sanpower.

Chen Yixi is the chairman of C.banner and the brother in law of Sanpower chairman, Yuan Yafei, who led the takeover of the British department store. C.banner had considered buying a stake in House of Fraser months before it collapsed.

Hamleys’ most recent accounts reveal a £12m loss before tax for 2017, down from £2.6m profit a year earlier. Sales fell by three per cent to £66 million. Cunningham said in October that the UK had suffered “one of the most challenging years in UK retail history.”

An internal memo from Hamley’s chairman, Richard Wu, confirmed that Cunningham was “stepping down with immediate effect.”

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