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Hamleys looks to Asia for international growth

Last week, Hamleys opened its first stores in Japan – large, vibrant, theme park-style outlets.

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This makes the world’s oldest toy retailer (founded in London in 1760) one of many British companies looking to East Asia to expand.

Hamleys formed a £300 million venture with Japanese video games firm Bandai Namco Amusement through which it is opening its first two Japanese stores this weekend. These are in Yokohama City near Tokyo, opening on Friday 30 November, and in Fukuoka, western Japan, opening on Saturday 1 December.

The stores will bring together Hamleys’ and Bandai Namco’s respective retail and entertainment expertise.

They will have entertainers, playground attractions including merry-go-rounds, games corners and infant play spaces.

The Yokohama store will be 3,000m2 and the Fukuoka store 5,000m2, with around 6,000 products on sale.

The company is aiming for 4 million visitors to each store in the first year.

Through the Bandai Namco partnership, Hamleys plans to open a total of 30 stores in Japan over the next five years, which will secure 1,000 UK jobs and over 3,600 in Japan.

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Hamleys has previously expanded its brand in India and southeast Asia, but these stores in Japan are its first in East Asia.

Hamleys CEO, Ralph Cunningham, said: “Japan represents an exciting and important market and is key to Hamleys’ continued international growth strategy. We look forward to bringing smiles to the faces of children and families all over Japan and delivering the unique Hamleys in-store experience to this fantastic market”.

Many other British firms are doing likewise and firmly focused on expanding in Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan.

(Source: Retail Times)