UK Hamley’s Toy Store Opens Flagship Outlet……in Moscow

Posted: April 2, 2015 in Econ 101, Free Trade

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Hamleys Moscow Store Transcends Toy Retailer’s London Flagship

March 31, 2015

Moscow Store
The new Hamley’s Plc Moscow outlet, which opened today, is located in the same building that housed the former Soviet Union’s biggest toy store, Detsky Mir, from 1957 until 2008. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
(Bloomberg) — Hamleys Plc opened a toy store in Moscow larger than its landmark location in London’s Regent Street as the retailer accelerates its global expansion.The shop in Central Children’s Mall on Moscow’s Lubyanka Square is close to the Soviet-era KGB building and has selling space of 6,750 square meters (73,000 square feet), according to Hamleys’ Russian franchisee. That exceeds the London flagship’s 54,000 square feet, though trails the 110,000 square feet of Toys “R” Us Inc.’s biggest store on New York’s Times Square.Hamleys, acquired by France’s Groupe Ludendo in 2012, relies on local franchisees to develop in expanding emerging markets such as India, Russia and the Middle East.

The new Moscow outlet, which opened Tuesday, is located in the same building that housed the former Soviet Union’s biggest toy store, Detsky Mir, from 1957 until 2008. Detsky Mir became a household name, prompting the Soviet government to open a network of large stores by the same name. Now, the Detsky Mir chain of more than 320 locations is owned by billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov.

The Hamleys opening comes at a time when the Russian economy is slowing amid falling prices for oil, the country’s main export, which compounded the effect of U.S. and European sanctions over President Vladimir Putin’s incursion in Ukraine. The market for children’s goods in Russia grew 3 percent last year to 502 billion rubles ($8.6 billion), according to researcher Synovate Comcon. The pace slowed from 11 percent a year earlier.

‘Long-Term Project’

Hamleys isn’t afraid to expand against such a backdrop.

“Crises come and go, while we are making a long-term project,” entrepreneur Evgeny Butman, who runs Hamleys Russian franchise, said in an interview. “We run four smaller Hamleys stores in Russia and sales have been growing there, including in recent months. Hamleys is proving its resilience.”

Moscow is a unique megapolis that can be compared by population only to London and Paris among European cities, Butman said, justifying the logic for opening Europe’s largest toy store in the city. Despite the ruble’s devaluation, Moscow still has incomes comparable to Western Europe and remains under-penetrated by modern retail, he said.



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