Hamleys’ Regent Street store relies heavily on tourism as well as office-worker footfall; both have been severely affected by the pandemic.
Hamleys has announced plans to cut more than a quarter of its employees at its London location, as it struggles to cope with the impact of Covid-19.
The toy retailer has confirmed that 60 of the 208 staff working at the Regent Street store, as well as Hamleys’ nearby head office, have accepted redundancy as part of a programme to cut back on expenditure. Hamleys has also delayed plans for a major refurbishment of the seven-storey building.
The retailer, which is owned by Reliance Retail, part of the empire headed up by India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, relies heavily on tourism at its London flagship store, as well as visits from those working in many nearby office buildings. A Hamleys insider told The Guardian: “Regent Street relies massively on the tourist trade but there is none and the people who work in head offices around here are sitting at home. The store has always been the goose that lays the golden egg, but it is suffering.”
Outside of London, however, Hamleys is seeing success. The retailer recently announced the opening of two new shopping centre locations – one at the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, the second at Trinity Leeds – and is set to open 11 pop-up stores between now and Christmas, the creation of which has resulted in 80 new jobs. Locations for these pop-ups will include the Metrocentre in Gateshead, and Liverpool One.