Pester power profits again for Hamleys

The toy retailer has seen profits shoot up faster than a rubber ball on a pogo stick - despite the squeeze on consumer spending.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012
If us adults have scrimped and saved our way through the past few months, the kids in our lives haven't noticed - at least, that's judging by results from Hamleys. The toyshop, reported that pre-tax profits had risen to £660,000 in the year to the end of March, up from just £100,000 the year before. Like-for-like sales also grew by 1%, while revenues in the UK and Ireland rose by 15%. And while those profits might not be stellar, it does show things are moving in the right direction.

It wasn't just in the UK that the chain was rocking harder than Rock On Elmo. Almost a quarter of its total sales came from its eight franchised stores abroad. In fact, so swimmingly is its foreign business going, that the company says it's planning to open new shops further afield, in Riyadh, Kuwait, Bangalore, Delhi, Turkey and even Vietnam. Apparently, it's also considering extending its online delivery beyond the 20 countries it currently offers. Makes expanding abroad sound like child's play.

The chain's major shareholder, Landsbanki (ie. the nationalised Icelandic bank), which owns 64%, clearly thinks a lot of it: it fended off a £60m bid for Hamleys from Global Banking Corp in February. Bearing in mind that Landsbanki is currently trying to divest itself of Iceland (the supermarket, not the country), that must mean it's pretty impressed with its performance. Ex-Conservative treasurer David Rowland and his son, Jonathan, are just as impressed: they bought just over a third of the retailer in January.

Obviously, the main question in every parent's mind is what's going to be at the top of their little darlings' Christmas lists, come the festive season. The answer, apparently, is the Dr Who Ride-in Dalek, a snip at just £200. Also making up the bulk of Santa's sleigh will be Moshi Monsters talking soft toys and the LeapPad, a sort of iPad for kids, which comes in at a mere £100. Looks like it's going to be an expensive one this year.

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