Reliance Retail brings Hamleys to Mumbai – Plans for 20 more stores

Hamleys, a 250 year-old toy retailer of the UK, on Thursday opened its first store in Mumbai in a franchise agreement with Reliance Retail, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reliance Industries. The tie-up is valid for 20 years. The company plans to invest Rs 150 crore in the next seven years to set up 20 more stores across the country, including tier-II cities.

The size of the Mumbai store is around 21,000 square feet, while the one being opened in Chennai within six months will be close to 10,000 sqft, according to Bijou Kurien, president and chief executive officer, Reliance Lifestyle division. The Indian division of Hamleys, though, is going to be headed by Sudhir Pai.

Hamleys is based in London and is one of the world’s largest toy companies. Its flagship store located at the Regent Street is a five-storey building spread over 54,000 sqft. It is considered one of London’s major tourist attractions.

The first store has seen an investment of Rs 6 crore. Kurien explains that the investment has been significant as far as setting up this store is concerned. “The hard investment for the stores in terms of occupying retail space is going to be made by Reliance Retail. As for the soft investment in terms of store design and staff training, it will be done by Hamleys.”

Reliance Retail in 2008 had said it was in talks with the UK toy retailer. The reason for the delay, as Kurien reckons, is “finding the right location for the store”.

Moreover, the company is also looking at spending around Rs 50 lakh on advertisement for the first store.

The total organised toy market is India is around Rs 1500 crore. It caters to about 30 crore kids upto 15 years of age. Reliance Retail will be looking to have a “sizeable” share in it.

The firm will open 20 stores in India over the next six to seven years in partnership with Reliance Retail, which has a 20-year-franchise agreement with Hamleys.

Hamleys will invest around Rs1.25bn (£18.3m) in the scheme and will open its next store in Chennai in the next few months, having already opened a 21,000 square feet store in Mumbai.

“The organised retail toy market in the country is close to Rs15bn (£220.5m) and Reliance Retail will be looking to have a sizeable share in it,” Bijou Kurien, president and chief executive – lifestyle, Reliance Retail, commented.

Reliance Retail will stock Hamleys merchandise, but also products that are exclusively available to the UK retailer.

Apart from stocking Hamleys merchandise, Reliance Retail will stock products that are exclusively available to the UK retailer. Other global brands from companies such as Mattel and Funskool will also be available at these outlets.

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