LONDON: World-famous toy emporium Hamleys has reported a modest increase in sales after one of the most tumultuous years in its 249-year history.

Despite a 64% stake in Hamley's currently being in the hands of the Icelandic Government, the company says it is now in expansionist mode with plans to open stores in Cardiff, Glasgow and Mumbai.

Although an attempted roll-out into the regions proved disastrous in the 1980's, the company also intends to open Hamleys stores in Leeds and Manchester, as well as selected airports and railway stations. It is also on the hunt for international franchise partners. 

Gudjon Reynisson, the chief executive, said: “It's important to take expansion one step at a time. It's also fundamental to realise that the Regent Street store is a one-off but the joy, theatre and magic of experiential toy retailing isn't a one-off. It's not confined to Regent Street.”

Like-for-like sales for the year to the end of March fell 6%, but the first three months to the end of June saw a sales rise of 5% or 4% in like-for-like terms.

Turnover at the firm increased 7 per cent to £47.2 million ($ 77m; €54m) in the 12 months to the end of March.

Reynisson added: “Last year was an eventful one. We made decisions to strengthen the focus and create a leaner organisation.”

After the banking collapse of 1929, Hamleys shut its doors for close to a decade before being reopened in the late 1930s. It survived the Second World War, despite being bombed five times during the blitz.

Data sourced from The Times; additional content by WARC staff