Hamleys brand set for shakeup under new owner

New Hamleys toy store owner Reliance Industries plans to revamp the brand, according to a report in The Guardian.

The article reveals that the new owners “have ambitious plans for the toy store” which has been passed “from one absentee foreign owner to another over the past 16 years”. Reliance is currently turning to the US market in the wake of the Toys R Us collapse, having already firmly established the brand in India with more than 100 stores.

The firm is also planning to revamp its London flagship.

“We’re not going to put Swarovski chandeliers in, which can cost a lot of money, because that’s not required,” Reliance CEO Darshan Mehta told The Guardian. “You have to be careful not to create something that is intimidating because one of the Hamleys’ secret ingredients has been that it welcomes all and sundry, from the super-rich – someone recently bought a £5000 reindeer – to someone buying a £5 soft toy.”

“If your proposition is price as the only lever then you will lose the game,” said Mehta. “We are not selling the cheapest toy from a box.”

Mehta also added that the store revamp has to focus on providing a better experience than online shopping.

“As a brick-and-mortar retailer I have to stand up to that onslaught,” he said. “People will not remain closeted in their homes. They go out for experiences. A visit to a Hamleys store is an experience.”


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