Just 2 days before Christmas Hamleys opened its largest store in the world. It’s in Beijing and attracted quite the interest. That’s despite the Christmas debate going in the country, ABS CBN News reports.
The new Beijing Hamleys store is twice the size of the flagship store of the company in London. It’s on 5 floors and it was opened with a teddy bear parade and Santa Claus.
The launch comes 2 years after Chinese shoe company C.banner acquired Hamleys from its previous owner, France’s Groupe Ludendo, for $153 million. “In China, the holiday is just for kids. It’s a time to have fun and get some new toys,” said Daisy Yan, one of the hundreds of locals that flooded into the store. “In China, the holiday is just for kids. It’s a time to have fun and get some new toys,” said Daisy Yan, one of the hundreds of locals that flooded into the store.
A stuffed lemur had a 1619 yuan ($245) price tag. And a Hello Kitty ornament cost a whopping 2208 yuan ($335). Hamleys bears engraved with “I love China” on one paw were less, at 129 yuan ($20).
Hamleys already has toy stores in Nanjing and Xuzhou. The new store in Beijing is situated in the Wangfujing shopping district. And while it tends to be expensive, there’s still interest by the locals.
The store opened amid a new Christmas debate about a potential ban to the popular holiday. The reason? It’s said that the ruling party doesn’t want Western festivals to take over local culture. There’s no confirmation of this, though. And no actual steps made to make it a reality.
So, Hamleys will have at the very least this holiday season to attract fans. And then there’s the Chinese New Year in a few weeks times. So, the store will be definitely quite busy as it aims to become more than a store, but also an attraction.