A Chat With The Hamleys’ Philip Paphitis

UK-based toy giant, Hamleys, opened its first South African store just over a month ago at Greenstone Shopping Centre. The launch was nothing short of a dream – with a parade through the mall, balloons, a marching band and LOTS of toys! The megastore is even set to open its second Joburg store in November.

‘The Finest Toy Shop in the World” as it’s dubbed was filled to capacity on 20 August; there was even a ridiculously long line of eager shoppers and their kids all the way down the passage in the mall.

Hamleys prides itself on ensuring that you step into a magical toy wonderland. It’s stocked with over 15 000 toys, including plush toys, dolls, high-tech, games and puzzles, arts and crafts, magic toys and even a Luvley Boutique.

Just after the launch of the Greenstone store, we got a chance to speak to Hamleys SA CEO, Philip Paphitis, about the brand and more … here’s what he had to say:


1.Why did you decide to open your first store in Greenstone?

We had an existing retail business and hence the relationship with Sasol Pension Fund. It’s also about the right space in the right location being available, [and one] that suits our requirements.


2.Are you planning on opening up any other Hamleys stores in Joburg?

Yes – watch this space for details. Eastgate is scheduled to open next, in November.


3.If you could describe the Hamleys shopping experience in three words – what would they be?

Wow, unparalleled, engaging.


4.What are your thoughts on the South African shopping environment? Did this influence Hamleys’ decision to come to SA?

[It has] existing experienced retailers with an in-depth knowledge of the retail landscape. [It’s also the] perfect environment for Hamleys and the success-to-date with two stores up and running is the proof in the pudding.

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