Last week Hamleys opened Europe’s largest toy shop in Moscow, taking inspiration from a theme park retail design as they look to develop a new model for their global retail offer which combines adventure and play with their traditional toy shop format.
Capitalising on the idea of both customer experience and retail journey, the new flagship 75,000 square foot store in Lubyanka Square describes it’s mission to “transport families through a world of entertainment and discovery” as it becomes poised to overtake Toys R Us as the largest toy store in the world by the end of the year – after Toys R Us announced plans to downsize or close their record-breaking super-sized store in Times Square in New York.
Gudjon Reynisson, chief executive of Hamleys described the move and why they have decided to branch out into entertainment as well as retail:
“If we were going to open a toy store that was 70,000 square foot it could not have been a normal toy shop, it is just too big.
“We decided to create something new – this concept is an interactive world where the brands can interact with attractions more in a manner akin to a theme park.
“It has taken us three years but I can say we pulled it off. This store is starting a new era in toy retail. There is nowhere anywhere like this store. I just have to admit this is now the best toy shop in the world.”
The new store in Lubyanka Square is much larger than Hamleys’ popular Regent Street flagship, which at 54,000 square foot was previously Europe’s biggest toy store. The store design is inspired by nine ‘worlds of play’, which are: Enchanted Forest, Imagination, Lego World, Magic Kingdom, Metropolis, Motor City, Park, Safari and Space. Inside there is a full-scale replica of one of the world’s most famous spaceships – the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars – and a go-kart track. The Magic Kingdom and Enchanted Forest areas feature a large castle and flying witches and the Lego World attraction is already proving a big hit with a 40 foot high Lego rocket constructed almost 2 million Lego bricks.
If the new theme park hybrid format proves popular then Reynisson has suggested that it might be rolled out to other stores globally
As always we’ll be watching this innovative format with interest to see if it takes off and is adopted by other similar retailers. By encouraging play, they can encourage more footfall? And will this subsequently encourage people to spend money in store too? We’ll keep you posted!