Hamleys plays online card by signing eBay partnership

hamleys 2Hamleys is aiming to tackle a potential Tier 3 crash in footfall at its flagship Regent Street store by launching an eBay Shop with up to 1,600 products – the first time it has sold toys on the site – in a major expansion of its online operations.

Founded by William Hamley as “Noah’s Ark” in High Holborn in 1760, the company moved to Regent Street site in 1881 and pre-Covid claimed to attract nearly 5 million visitors a year.

But the retailer, which has 15 outlets in the UK and more than 90 franchises worldwide, is now aiming to lure shoppers online by offering discounts of between 10% and 40% until December 22.

Like many major London stores, Hamleys has suffered a double whammy of extended store closures and a huge reduction in international tourists, which provide a significant portion of sales throughout the year.

In October, Hamleys confirmed that 60 of its 208 staff working in its Regent Street store and at its headquarters would be axed.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, eBay UK is cockahoop about the move. General manager Murray Lambell said: “So many of us will have a special memory about Hamleys – as a child and spending an afternoon of play in one of their stores, or as a family visiting its famous Christmas grotto.

“As the pandemic continues to disrupt the high street, we’re pleased that we can give iconic brands like Hamleys another online shop window, bringing the magic of their experience in-store to reach the millions of customers we have in the UK and worldwide.”

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