The sale of famous toy retailer Hamleys to a Chinese buyer is thought likely to be completed within weeks after months of speculation.

  • Deal close following months of speculation
  • A relative of House of Fraser’s owner thought to be purchaser

Hamleys’ French owner Ludendo is in advanced negotiations to sell the business, which has stores overseas as well as its Regent Street flagship, to a relative of Yuan Yafei, the billionaire owner of House of Fraser, according to the Sunday Times.

There has been speculation about the possible sale for several months and it was thought that Yafei himself, who controls department store group House of Fraser through his Sanpower business, might buy Hamleys.

Ludendo has owned Hamleys for less than three years after buying it from failed Icelandic bank Landsbanki for £60m in 2012.

Hamleys has 10 UK stores and more than 40 internationally – overseas growth has been a focus in recent years under chief executive Gudjon Reynisson.

Hamleys’ flagship faces increased competition from new arrival The Toy Store, which has opened its first UK branch in London’s West End after establishing itself in the Middle East.