Mariana Cabeza

Department for International Trade

Guest blogger for FCDO Editorial

Part of FCDO Outreach

24th November 2016 London, UK

Business success in Mexico is child’s play for UK’s Hamleys

London’s famous toy story, Hamleys, has opened a new branch in Mexico City. The Department for International Trade (DIT), based in the British Embassy, worked very closely with the toy store as they looked to expand their business, trying to identify a suitable partner in the Mexican market.

After exploring several market entry routes, DIT introduced Hamleys to Grupo Sordo, one of Mexico’s leading shopping mall developers and operators.  One of the greatest challenges was to get Mexican investors to understand the Hamleys model of customer interaction and offering a full brand experience. The Mexican toy industry had been dominated by traditional toy stores with no real focus on experience and customer interaction.  Grupo Sordo saw the potential right away and were keen to take the risk by introducing a new brand with a total different concept and betting on British innovation, quality and heritage.

A year ago, Hamleys opened their first ever store in the Americas in Mexico City with a ceremony hosted by the British Ambassador, Duncan Taylor and the British Minister for Culture, John Whittingdale. The event has one of the retail highlights of the season and the branch quickly earned its place among the top five selling stores in the world. After a year of great success, Hamleys and Grupo Sordo have decided to go ahead with their expansion plan and will be opening a second Hamleys store in the city of Queretaro at the end of November.  There are plans for around five stores in total over the next few years – thanks to the partnership forged by DIT and the British Embassy.