Fast-growing toy retailer The Entertainer is keen to open its first shop outside of the UK in the next few months.
Speaking to ToyNews after the chain’s 2013 Stakeholder Day, director of multichannel Duncan Grant said: “We hope we'll have our first Entertainer open and trading in a foreign market this year.
“We're down to a shortlist of one or two potential partners, and we hope to announce our international partner in the next few months.
“The key aspect for us is finding the right partner. They need to commercially be able to run a good business, will have retail experience, funds available to expand and build a great business in that country.
“They also need to share our company and business values.”
The Entertainer opened 14 new stores in the UK last year. It currently has a 4.6 per cent share of the UK toy market, with more than 80 stores.
The chain spotted a gap in the international market after receiving requests from big businesses broad, asking to partner with The Entertainer.
“There are toy retailers in the majority of countries, but there's no equivalent to The Entertainer,” added Grant.
“There’s no national chain that operates in toy shops in High Streets. There are hypermarkets, but there’s nothing like what we do. This year we're looking to sign one or two partners through franchising. We want one partner handling [all of the stores] within a country.
“We won't be targeting America or Western Europe. We'll be targeting growing economic places like Central and Eastern Europe, The Middle East, Europe and Asia.
“Toys is a universally understood category, so there aren't many countries where a toy shop couldn’t be successful.”
ARE YOU THE RIGHT PARTNER?
“We are still actively looking for partners,” says director of multichannel Duncan Grant. “These discussions can take six to 12 months – and sometimes even longer – before they come to fruition.
“A number of people we've considered are already in the toy industry, but some may be looking to come into retail, from a manufacturing or wholesale background, and may be interested in partnering with The Entertainer.
“If someone out there thinks they’/d make a good partner, then get in touch. We’d be interested to hear from you.”