With the exception of Hamleys, the Regent Street/Oxford Street area makes for pretty slim pickings for kids when it comes to toys, shopping and having a retail experience, but things are changing.
Visit the fourth floor of Selfridges and the new Toy Shop occupies a space on the north side of the floor, and if Barbie, Play-Doh or, of course, Lego are what is sought, then this is a good place to find what is needed.
And although this is a relatively small space, compared with the whole of the store, its footprint is sufficiently substantial to make an impression on the many children who arrive in the department store’s upper reaches, as well as making a meaningful dent in the wallets of their parents.
This is a carefully crafted piece of toy merchandising with the space being carved up into distinct branded toy shops.
Pride of place probably goes to the doll shop, which is almost enclosed on three sides and has at its heart a pillar with glazed partitions with a Barbie or Ken figure standing proud in each. This is backlit and shines out like a beacon across the floor. At the back of this area, a stylised monochrome graphic of a Japanese Manga-like figure captures the eye thanks to its contrast with the pink and purple walls that surround it. The Toy Shop is, naturally, a homage to brands, this is Selfridges after all, but in terms of there being more or less everything that a child might hanker after, this is one of the best places to look. The merchandising is very dense, but then a feast of plenty is what a toy shop should involve - in sharp contrast to the designer minimalism of much of the rest of the store.