Hamleys is pushing forward with expansion plans for its 260 year old toy selling business which includes a refurbishment of its iconic London store on Regent Street and the potential to open new stores across the UK.
The toy retailer’s current owner Reliance Brands has underlined its plans to for ‘significant investment’ in the Hamleys name, stating that the expansion is a ‘sign of confidence in the brand and strategy’, rather than a ‘foolhardy ambition.’
The plans arrive at an interesting time for the high street, which has been hit by the pandemic and the surge in online shopping that the UK’s lockdown measures have facilitated in recent months. Recent months and weeks have seen numerous British retailers implement job cuts and store closures, citing the coronavirus as the cause of the decline.
However, Summit Yadav, CEO of Reliance Brands told Bloomberg that while ‘it has been quite an eventful journey,’ it would not be holding back making long-term investments. Yadav has declined to say just how much money is being invested in the expansion, but described the sum as ‘significant and worthy of a brand that is nearly 260 years old.’
“The Hamleys experience cannot be diluted,” he said.
Reliance, owned by the richest man in India, Mukesh Ambani, bought the 259-year-old toy retailer from Chinese footwear group C.banner International for £68m.
During the acquisition, Reliance said the transaction would “catapult Reliance Brands to be a dominant player in the global toy retail industry”.