A Super Mario-themed Lego set and “loveable” animatronic pets are predicted to be Christmas bestsellers at the retailer Hamleys, as toymakers try to please both children and adults this year.
Hamleys, famous for its flagship store on Regent Street, London, thinks the £50 marriage of everyone’s favourite plumber and Lego will have blockbuster appeal. The battery-powered Present Pets pups, which respond to your voice and shower kisses, are also expected to be a winner for households unable to own a real puppy.
Victoria Kay, head of buying at Hamleys, said creating “simple Christmas magic” would be more important than ever after such a tough year. She thought new versions of classic family games such as Cluedo and Monopoly would also sell well. “We can see carefree shared play and togetherness featuring heavily this year,” she said.
With possibly small family get-togethers the order of the day, the retailer anticipates demand for toys with “inter-generational appeal”. The rise of the kidult has already meant bumper toy sales this year as adults in Britain embraced Lego, jigsaws and board games during the coronavirus lockdown.
Last year Hamleys became part of Reliance Industries, the business empire of India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, whose $88bn (£67bn) fortune, according to the Bloomberg billionaires index, makes him the 6th richest man in the world.
The absence of tourists in central London, however, has hit trade at Hamley’s flagship store. But, with a quarter of all toys sold in the UK each year purchased in December, the retailer is planning for busy weeks to come. It is in the process of opening 11 pop-up stores around the country, including temporary branches in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.
“We have had huge success with our online business,” said Kay. “Central London is challenging but our shopping mall stores are bouncing back. We’re not waiting in the shadows for customers to come back. Yes it is tough but we are not letting that put us off.”
Hamleys’ Christmas top 10
Laser Battle Hunters – remote-controlled tanks do battle (£60)
Playdoh! Snotty Scotty – snot/slime streams out of the nose of this plastic head (£11)
Lego Super Mario starter set – everyone’s favourite plumber gets the Lego treatment (£50)
Barbie 3-in-1 camper – reboot of classic toy complete with pool and rooftop bedroom (£90)
Nerf Ultra One Blaster – fires the farthest flying darts yet at 120ft (£50)
Monopoly for Sore Losers (£23)
Cluedo Liars Edition – (£22)
Greedy Monkey – board game with dice that change colour (£12)
Present Pets pup – animatronic pup (£55)
Osmo Genius Starter Kit – educational gaming accessory (£100)
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