Hamleys profits leap as French owner plots further expansion

Kasmira Jefford
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HAMLEYS, the country’s most famous toy shop recently snapped up by its larger French rival, yesterday posted bumper sales and profits in the year to March as it continues to keep its little customers happy.

Ludendo, the family-owned toy group, bought Hamleys from the failed Icelandic bank Landsbanki for £60m in September.

The group, under the stewardship of Hamley’s chief executive Gudjon Reynisson plans to further expand Hamleys’ presence overseas. In the past year, it has opened eight stores overseas taking the total Hamleys stores outside the UK and Ireland to 20.

It also opened a store in Cardiff last month.

In a statement released yesterday, Hamleys said pre-tax profits have jumped by more than 250 per cent to £2.3m in the year to 31 March.

Despite tough trading conditions, UK and Ireland sales were up by 3.8 per cent on last year in total and 6.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

The toy shop was established by Cornishman William Hamley in 1760 in High Holborn and was originally known as Noah’s Ark.

The flagship store in Regent Street, its home since 1981, is one of the more popular tourist attractions in the capital’s West End, with seven floors of toys brought to life by an army of demonstrators.

Ludendo has 300 stores in Europe and turns over more than £500m. It trades as La Grande Récré, Franz Carl Weber and StarJouet in France, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain and Morocco.