Hamleys has signed for a 9,000 sq ft unit, its fourth UK shopping centre store at Intu Lakeside shopping centre in Essex.

The toy retailer has taken a 9,000 sq ft unit at the centre, which it will open some time next spring, marking its ninth British opening outside of its iconic Regent Street flagship.

It will join toy retailers Disney and Build-a-Bear in the centre, which is anchored by Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, BHS and House of Fraser.

A Hamleys spokesman said: “Intu Lakeside with its strong family demographic is a great location for a new Hamleys store. Working closely with Intu we have created a store that complements our UK growth strategy, delivering our unique retail experience of fun, theatre and entertainment.

“The Intu Lakeside store will be in a great position and we are sure the impact of an impressive 51 metre frontage right at the gateway of the proposed leisure extension means our store will perform well”.

Hamleys has been linked with greater international activity for next year, with a raft of stores reported to be planned for the US. The retailer has had a busy year of expansion, with Russia among the markets in which it has grown its presence.