Temporary stores in shopping centres will extend the retailer’s reach in key toy-selling period.

Famous toy store Hamleys is making its first foray into pop-up shops with the opening of three around the country to capture Christmas spend.

Hamleys opened Hamleys Toy Box shops in Bluewater and Sheffield’s Meadowhall last week. It opened a third in Chapelfield shopping centre in Norwich yesterday. All stores are expected to remain open until the end of January.

Because of its year-round popularity with visitors to London, Christmas accounts for only 25% of the retailer’s sales, but the pop-ups provide an opportunity to increase takings in the most important toy-selling period in the year.

Hamleys chief executive Gudjon Reynisson said: “It’s an idea we have had for quite some time and we decided to go for it this Christmas. We are taking things one step at a time and haven’t made any decisions yet, but we could either make these stores permanent or have more locations for pop-up shops next Christmas.”

Hamleys branched out from its flagship on London’s Regent Street in 2008 when it opened a large-format store in Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin, followed by another in Glasgow’s St Enoch centre in 2009. The pop-up stores will more than double the toy retailer’s locations in the UK, excluding its travel stores.

Reynisson said Hamleys was “extremely happy” with trading at the 1,000 sq ft Bluewater shop and the 2,000 sq ft Meadowhall store.

“They are very different to our wonderful big stores,” said Reynisson. “It’s really important to give more people access to our own-brand range, and to give customers a taste of the magic of Hamleys.”

The stores will stock 900 SKUs, with own-brand accounting for 70%. The rest of the offer is made up of Christmas best-sellers.

Reynisson added: “We are looking forward to Christmas. We are very optimistic and happy with the year so far.”

Reynisson said that, while pop-up shops were new to Hamleys, operating small-formats was not. The retailer has a handful of airport stores as well as one at St Pancras International railwaystation in London.

The 250-year-old brand also has stores overseas.

Property agent Jones Lang LaSalle acts for the retailer.