Retail news round-up on August 14, 2014:Hamleys to open Europe’s largest toy store as it eyes global crown, Amazon enters into mobile payments market Sales at UK supermarkets fall 3.2% in first half

Hamleys to open Europe’s largest toy store as it eyes global crown

Hamleys will open the biggest toy store in Europe in Moscow this year as it expands its global footprint.  The store, which will span 72,600 sq ft and cover two floors at the Central Children’s Store building on Moscow’s Lubyanka Square, is also poised to become the biggest toy shop in the world. Toys R Us is thought to be closing or downsizing its 110,000 sq ft Times Square giant, which is the world’s largest toy shop at present, by 2016.

Hamleys’ Lubyanka Square store will be significantly larger than its Regent Street flagship, which spans 54,000 sq ft and is currently Europe’s biggest toy store.

Amazon enters into mobile payments market with card reader

Online giant Amazon has entered the mobile payments market with the launch of Amazon Local Register. The card payments tool is aimed at small businesses, and is expected to compete with Square, PayPal and iZettle. It allows retailers to take credit card payments using an iOS or Android device, or Amazon’s own Fire range of mobile devices, for a fee of 1.75% per swipe. The lower fee is an ‘introductory offer’ which will end on January 1, 2016. At present it is only available in the US.

Sales at UK supermarkets fall 3.2% in first half

The volume of products sold in UK supermarkets plunged 3.2% in the first six months of this year, according to IRI analysts. The price war along with changing consumer behaviour caused the dramatic slump in sales, its report said.

“Consumers are struggling to keep within their budgets as wages rise slower than price inflation and child benefit cuts kick in,” said Tim Eales, strategic director of insight at IRI. “They are cutting back on how much they buy from the major supermarkets, some moving instead to the discount shops, buying lower priced alternatives or simply making do with less. This is having an unprecedented effect on sales from the UK’s major supermarkets.”