Hamleys is pulling the plug on its House of Fraser concessions as it concentrates on opening large standalone stores in the UK.
The retailer said the 6,000 sq ft concessions, which opened in September 2007, were an “experiment” and had been disbanded because they were too small to deliver the “magic, theatre and entertainment that are the core of our brand”.
The iconic toy specialist has one UK standalone store on London’s Regent Street, but hopes to open another before Christmas, and is in talks over sites in Glasgow and Cardiff. It plans to open in other “key cities” such as Manchester and Leeds.
The decision to roll out the larger store format – between 20,000 and 32,000 sq ft – in the UK was based on the success of those opened last year in Dublin, Jordan and Dubai.
Chief executive Gudjon Reynisson, who was drafted in a year ago by former Hamleys owner Baugur, said the standalone store strategy is a “tremendous opportunity”.
He said: “In the current climate you have to find out what works best for you. It’s a difficult environment but we’re delighted with the performance of the big stores.”
Reynisson said Hamleys had a “very good” relationship with House of Fraser, but the lower footfall in the concessions contributed to its decision to close them.
The retailer will keep trading its Heathrow and Gatwick airport stores, as well as St Pancras station.