The 295-year old toymaker company has experienced a series of losses in recent years and recovery is the least likely thing as of now. Reliance Retail already has the rights to sell Hamley’s merchandise across India and now are pursuing a deal to be the major stakeholders in the British toymaker company. Even though Reliance Industries Limited, or it’s subsidiary Reliance Retail, has denied commenting on this matter, a few secret sources have confirmed that the deal is in an advanced stage.
Hamleys started as a single store in 1760 at Noah’s Ark, England. By the time Queen Victoria had the throne to herself in 1831, Hamleys was already a household name in London. Hamleys became so big in the coming years that it opened a branch store at Regent Street, which was a huge thing back then. Since then, Hamleys was the one single brand that people associate with quality toys around the world. Apart from the UK, Hamleys opened their stores in countries like China, Germany, India, Russia, the Middle East, and a few other countries as well, with a total of 129 stores globally. However, with all this growth, the reigns of the brand have changed several hands over the years and now the brand is seeing a term filled with losses. Chinese fashion conglomerate, C Banner International, is the current owner of the brand. It acquired Hamleys for £100 Million in 2015. The last time Hamleys reported its finances in 2017, it reported having losses of £12 Million.
The profits fell down drastically, experiencing a 500% drop. Ralph Cunningham, the chief executive of the company, blamed Brexit, terrorist attacks and macroeconomic factors for this incredible drop. Nevertheless, he hopes to turn the tables back to the company’s favour soon. However, a comeback seems highly unlikely and this is why Reliance Retail is going all in to get the majority of stakes to gain control of the company and take it forward. If the deal goes through, Reliance is planning to open more stores across India to increase Hamleys’s geographic footprint.
With Reliance already having the rights of top brands like Steve Madden, Marks & Spencers, Diesel and so on, it is looking to take the next step with Hamleys by acquiring it. Reliance has been on a huge expansion spree lately, spreading their wings across India with 9907 stores in more than 6400 cities. If Reliance manages to get through with the deal, Hamleys would be one more of the many brands it already owns from around the world.