When it comes to legendary toy stores, none are more notable than London’s Hamleys. Known for being the world’s largest and oldest toy retailer (founded in 1760), they began their soft opening in Wangfujing on Nov 30, at the former location of New China Children’s Store. So far they have been attracting a lot of attention with their larger than life mecca of toys. This couldn’t be better timing as Christmas is just around the corner, just two days after their official opening on Dec 23.
We decided to check out the new store, and needless to say, we were overwhelmed by not only the size and the giant crowd of people that lined up to purchase items but also all of the interactive demonstration areas they had set up to show off all of the biggest brands’ top items this season.
With five floors of kid-focused inventory, each floor is broken down into age groups, and other items like clothing, stuffed animals, and maternity gear just to name a few along with dedicated areas for brands like Lego, Nerf, and Play-dough. There’s something about being in a toy store this size that definitely gets you in the mood for the holidays.
It was about a year ago that Hamleys announced that they would be entering the Chinese market with 100 stores, which many news outlets attributed to the emergence of the two-child policy. This will undeniably lead to a boom in all kid-centered markets, so it must have seemed like the right time to jump into the fray.
As we mentioned earlier, since we went on a Saturday afternoon, the crowd was overwhelming. We recommend checking it out on a weekday or during the evening to do any holiday shopping you may have left or else you must plan on being stuck there all day waiting in lines for the register. After all, there’s nothing like waiting in a line all day to empty your wallet to fully put you in the Christmas spirit.
255 Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District. 东城区王府井大街255号
Photos: Kipp Whittaker