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Intralink brokers Hamleys’ launch into Japan

Intralink brokers Hamleys’ launch into Japan

We’re excited to have enabled Hamleys, the world’s oldest toy retailer, to sign a deal to open its first stores in Japan. The British firm’s new partner is none other than Bandai Namco Amusement - the Japanese entertainment giant behind iconic games characters including Pac-Man. The first two Japanese Hamleys stores will open in December this year.

Our Japan team – David Royer and Alecia Thomson (far right in the above photo) – spent a year working with Hamleys to select the right partner and develop a suitable framework for a franchise deal.

All it took was dozens of meetings, months of market research, business modelling and number crunching, several trips between the UK and Japan by the two companies’ top executives to immerse themselves in Hamleys’ UK legacy, visit potential store sites in Japan and build rapport! Even with Japan’s notoriously fastidious approach to decision-making, which is particularly evident in the bricks-and-mortar retail sector, the process ran smoothly.

Hamleys has been successful in expanding its brand in India and Southeast Asia, but Japan is the first East Asian market in which it will be launching a franchise. 

Claus Nielsen, Hamleys’ Head of International Business, said: “We know Japan is a complex market and recognised that, to find the best possible partner, we needed local expertise.

“Intralink not only helped us find the ideal retail partner but, through their market insights and cultural understanding, guided us all the way to contract signing."

"Without Intralink, there would have been no deal.”

Hamleys CEO, Ralph Cunningham, added: “Japan represents an exciting and important market and is key to Hamleys’ continued international growth strategy. We look forward to bringing smiles to the faces of children and families all over Japan and delivering the unique Hamleys in-store experience to this fantastic market”.

Intralink Japan’s Alecia Thomson, Project Manager in charge of the Hamleys initiative, said: “We spoke to dozens of potential partners and uncovered a great deal of interest in Hamleys, but Bandai Namco quickly emerged as the top contender. The two companies’ cultures and visions fit so well together.” 

With Bandai Namco’s rich history in the entertainment industry, and Hamleys’ expertise in creating magical environments for kids to play and shop, this partnership is sure to shake up the Japanese toy market.

Hamleys was established in 1760 in London and is considered the world’s oldest toy store. Today, it operates franchises around the world including Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and North America in a total of 120 locations. You can find Hamleys stores in malls, department stores and airports.

Bandai Namco Amusement is a division of Bandai Namco Holdings, originally founded in 1955. Its main business includes the development and sales of arcade machines as well as the operation of hundreds of amusement facilities across Asia, North America and Europe. Its unique machines combine the early arcade era’s nostalgia with cutting-edge technologies such as AR/VR to deliver a 21st-century gaming experience.

Pictured above, left to right: Haruo Iwayaguchi (Executive Officer - Bandai Namco Amusement), Tomohiro Hattori (Managing Director – Namco UK), Hitoshi Hagiwara (CEO – Bandai Namco Amusement), Kazuya Maeda (General Manager – Amusement Operation Planning), Ralph Cunningham (CEO – Hamleys), Muneo Aoyama (Manager – Corporate Planning), Alex Jablonowski (CFO – Hamleys), Alecia Thomson (Project Manager – Intralink), David Royer (Project Director – Intralink)

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