Friday 12 October 2018 4:50 pm

Toy maker Hamleys blames Brexit, terrorism and rising retail costs for £9m loss


Nicholas Earl is a sports and business contributor.

Nicholas Earl is a sports and business contributor.

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The UK's oldest toy store Hamleys revealed a record loss today with profits dropping a staggering 500 per cent over the past 12 months.

The iconic toy-maker blamed Brexit, macroeconomic factors and the threat of terrorism for the downturn in its fortunes.


The retailer announced a £9.2m loss for the year to 31 December 2017, having made a £1.7m profit in 2016.

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Revenues also dropped by almost four per cent to £45.3m this year, making it the worst business year in the company's 258-year history. 

Hamleys said the retail environment in 2017 had been especially difficult, with higher costs, rents and rates, and adverse foreign exchange rates.

Founded in 1760, Hamleys is one of the most reputable toy retailers in the world, and it said it retains the backing of Chinese fashion conglomerate C.Banner. However, the chain was forced to close two UK stores and ceased trading across Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

"In the UK, 2017 was one of the most challenging years in UK retail history, and Hamleys was not immune to the impact of Brexit uncertainty, terrorist attacks, macroeconomic pressures and a general erosion in UK consumer confidence," the firm said in accounts filed at Companies House.

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The company said that the UK retail landscape "remains challenging in 2018" as spending continues due to a softening of consumer confidence in the brand.

Hamleys still maintains 29 stores and more than 100 franchise units despite insolvencies plaguing the high street retail industry as stores battle rising costs attributed to a spike in business rates and the national living wage.

Famous names have already vanished from the market this year including Maplin, Toy R Us and Poundworld, characterising a tough time on the high street, while Boots reported low revenues today and hairdresser Supercuts' owner asked landlords for a rent reduction.

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