The famous London toy store, Hamleys, is planning to open stores in the US for the first time and is searching for stores in major airports and cities.The retailer lays claim to being the oldest toy shop globally. Its landmark store on Regent Street in London attracts tourists from around the globe. It is considering stores in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, and looking for small stores in a minimum of 20 airports.
After its purchase by Groupe Ludendo, a French retailer, during 2012, the group has started an international expansion program. Its previous owners were an investment consortium, including Landsbanki, the Icelandic bank, which experienced a collapse during the financial crash.
Hamleys can trace its roots back to 1760. It moved into Regent Street during 1881 and experienced several bombings during the Second World War.
There are now Hamleys outlets in three UK airports, including Stansted and Heathrow. It has a store in Manchester’s Trafford Center as well. The company has almost 40 stores across the Middle East, Asia and Europe, with stores in Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Cyprus and the Mecca Mall in Jordan.
British retailers have not had much success in the US market, and Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco were all forced to withdraw after experiencing very poor sales.
On the other hand, Topshop and Ted Baker have been successful, with Primark planning to open its first store in the country during next year.