Shopping Centers Today

APR 2015

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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Page 17 of 83

in Beverly Hills and on Fifth Avenue, respectively, could make for a huge launch, with airports being a good way to introduce the Hamleys name to people in other parts of the country. She adds that any comparison to the bad experiences of Tesco and Sains- bury's may not be entirely fair, because "Tesco in particular faced a perfect storm of opening in the hardest-hit ar- eas in a terrible economy." Hamleys' main challenge would be the parlous state of the entire toy business in the U.S., according to Howard Davidow- itz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, a retail consulting and investment bank- ing firm in New York City. "Toy stores have been closing in massive numbers for years," he said. This has left Walmart and the main players, he notes. "It's a nongrowth business," he said. "No one has had any success for the last five years. Kids now are into gadgets rather than toys, which is a very fundamental change. Just look at FAO Schwarz — they're a legend, and they've been in the crapper for 20 years. Any toy store here has to get the merchandise mix right. We don't have any winners in the toy business anymore, only losers." Davidowitz acknowledges that he does not know a great deal about Hamleys, but he does believe that if the chain is going to succeed in the U.S., "it is going to have to do some- thing very different." Certainly, its history is different. Wil- liam Hamley established the store in the late 18th century on London's High Holborn Street and named it Noah's Ark. In 1881 a second store opened, on Regent Street, where the 54,000-square- foot Hamleys flagship is today. Ham- leys has proved to be resilient in that 200-plus-year history, which has cer- tainly not been without setbacks. The store gained something of a heroic sta- tus during World War II by remaining open despite getting hit in five air raids. More recently, Hamleys has suffered severe commercial trouble, notably in 2003, with the collapse of then-owner Landsbankinn, an Icelandic bank. The company, which declined re- quests for an interview for this article, has not announced what form its expan- sion in the U.S. will take. Elsewhere it has favored franchise partnerships with local operators, such as its linkup with Reliance brands to open 20 stores in In- dia, and its arrangement with franchisee Jordan Centre, in Jordan. But a little child shall lead them, be- cause what is going to matter most in the end is whether Hamleys wins the favor of the American kid. S C T Dan Frey - 512.682.5507 Billy Osherow - 512.682.5558 OPENING SUMMER 2017! Freedom Crossing at Fort Bliss FREEDOM CROSSING AT FORT BRAGG In†roducing Visit F A Y E T T E V I L L E , N C First dine-in movie theater in the Fayetteville market Restaurant spaces with abundant outdoor seating wrapping a lush village square common area Outdoor complex that will serve as Fort Bragg's new town center Access to more than 263,000 active & retired military personnel/families Second project in the Freedom Crossing portfolio - following Fort Bliss 18 S C T / A p r i l 2 0 1 5 r e T a i l i n g T o d a y

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