Hamleys has confirmed that it is cutting more than a quarter of its workforce in London as part of a redundancy programme draw up over the continued slump in footfall and trade at the hands of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The absence of tourists and holidaymakers coupled with the tightening local restrictions has seen footfall drop significantly across London’s Regent Street shopping destination. The iconic retailer has now confirmed that 60 of the 208 staff working in its flagship store, as well as the nearby head office building, will be made redundant.
The Guardian reports that the pandemic has also delayed plans to refurbish the seven storey shop, after seeing footfall stall since the summer. According to the New West End Company, a representative of the hundreds of businesses in the area, shopper numbers are now at around half that in normal times.
A Hamleys insider told The Guardian: “Regent Street relies massively on the tourist trade but there is none and the people who work in head offices around here are sitting at home. The store has always been the goose that lays the golden egg, but it is suffering.”
The New West End Company has tried to reassure shoppers of the Covid-19 safety measures being put in place in the area, including 24 hour cleaning, and has stated that it will be turning on the Christmas light displays earlier this year in a bid to coax earlier Christmas purchasing.
Meanwhile, Hamlesy has seen online sales ‘surge’ during the pandemic, as well as stronger sales outside of London, including at the Lakeside shopping center in Essex, as well as with the recent opening of pop-up shops across the country. Among the 11 pop ups planned for this year, Gateshead’s Metrocentre and Liverpool One’s stores have brought the retailer a measure of success for the new business model.