Reliance is operating Hamleys’ franchises from 88 stores across 29 cities in India currently
Reliance Brands, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, has recently announced the acquisition of Hamleys, an iconic British toymaker, and has signed a definitive agreement with C Banner International to obtain 100% shares of the toy retailer.
Apparently, the value of acquisition was not yet disclosed. This agreement is set to place Reliance Industries as a dominant player in the worldwide toy retail industry.
President and CEO of Reliance Brands, Darshan Mehta, said that Reliance has built a very profitable and significant business in toy selling under the brand name of Hamleys in India. This global acquisition brings Reliance to the forefront in global toy retail, he commented.
Reportedly, Hamleys is presently owned by C Banner International, a Chinese fashion conglomerate, which had acquired it in 2015 for 100 million pounds. C Banner also holds Chinese units of well-known consumer retail brands such as Sundance and Steve Madden.
In 2003, Hamleys was seemingly delisted from the London Stock Exchange when it was acquired by Baugur Group, an Icelandic investment firm for USD 68.8 million. In 2012, it was sold to Groupe Ludendo of France for USD 78.4 million. The brand has found it difficult to make profits in recent years.
For the uninitiated, Hamleys was founded in 1760, and is the largest and oldest toy shop in the world with 167 stores in 18 countries. Besides the UK, it has stores in, Russia, South Africa China, Germany, West Asia, and India. In India, Reliance runs Hamleys’ franchises from 88 stores across 29 cities.
In 1881, Hamleys opened its flagship store at Regent Street in London. This flagship is built over seven floors which covers 54,000 sq ft, with more than 50,000 types of toys on sale. It is considered one of the prominent tourist attractions in London, receiving more than 5 million visitors yearly.