Reliance Brands acquires Hamleys

RetailME Bureau

Reliance Brands Limited, a subsidiary of Indian diversified business group Reliance Industries Limited, and C Banner International Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed company, have signed a definitive agreement for Reliance Brands to acquire 100% shares of Hamleys Global Holdings Limited, the owner of the British toy brand Hamleys, from C Banner International.

Founded in 1760, Hamleys has over 250 years of celebrated history of being one of the oldest and largest toy shops in the world, bringing smiles to children. Hamleys truly represents a unique model leveraging the quality and wide range of its toys, combined with the theatre, entertainment and its retail experience.

Globally, Hamleys has 167 stores across 18 countries. In India, Reliance has the master franchise for Hamleys, and currently operates 88 stores across 29 cities. This acquisition will catapult Reliance Brands to be a dominant player in the global toy retail industry.

Commenting on the development, Darshan Mehta, president and CEO of Reliance Brands, said, “Over the last few years, we have built a very significant and profitable business in toy retailing under the Hamleys brand in India. This 250-year-old English toy retailer pioneered the concept of experiential retailing, decades before the concept of creating unique experiences in brick and mortar retailing became the new global norm. The worldwide acquisition of the iconic Hamleys brand and business, places Reliance into the frontline of global retail.”

Hamleys opened its flagship Regent Street London store in 1881. This flagship store is set over seven floors covering 54,000 sqft, with more than 50,000 lines of toys on sale. It is considered one of London’s prominent tourist attractions, receiving over five million visitors each year.

Following the news, Priyanshu Rana, consumer analyst at GlobalData, commented, “Hamleys, which operates 167 toy stores across 18 countries, has been facing headwinds due to the impending Brexit and economic slowdown in the UK. Reliance Retail, on the other hand, was looking for an opportunity to emerge as a dominant player in the global toy retail industry. Already, it has a pan-India franchise agreement to operate 88 Hamleys stores across 29 cities. The deal will now give the Indian acquirer full control of those outlets. Reliance Retail can leverage its supply chain management and distribution network to expand Hamleys’ business in India. Organised toys market in India is growing at around 15% riding on growing income of Indian middle class, and Hamleys has already set a premium image in the mind of consumers particularly due to its store formats and presence in airports.”