After billionaire Mukesh Ambani took over Hamleys, the 261-year-old chain was able to revive its business and open many stores across the world. In order to fuel its revival, the chain has turned to India, home to the new owner of Hamleys but also a potentially large market for growth.
India is where a fifth of the world’s babies are born. According to a Bloomberg report, Darshan Mehta, chief executive officer of Ambani’s Reliance Brands Ltd said Hamleys plans to quadruple its outlets in India to more than 500 in three years despite the pandemic. Besides India, the company is also adding stores from Europe to South Africa and China.
British’s iconic toy chain was bought in 2019 by Ambani to strengthen his retail footprint as part of the ongoing transformation of his oil-and-chemicals conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd. into a consumer and technology.
Hamleys opened its 100th store at MGF Mall, Gurgaon in 2019. With 100 plus stores in 36 cities and more, today, the store is available online, walk into a mall, or an airport etc. Today, there are 170 Hamleys shops in over 18 countries like UK, India, UAE, China and Russia.
Despite the pandemic, Mehta expects growth to come. He stated about 30 per cent of Hamleys’ sales coming from orders online in five years, versus 20 per cent now. Direct selling over the phone or via WhatsApp would account for 20 per cent in the same period, he said.