One of the reasons that we visit some places is because of the shops. Shops, shopping centres, town centres and out of town outlet stores are tourist draws in their own right. The success of Merry Hill in Dudley, Bluewater and Lakeside in the south-east and Meadowhall in Sheffield and just some examples of successful retail outlets which pull people- and coach parties- from miles around.
So too does Hamleys.
It is one of the few stores that have an international appeal. You are just as likely to find people from the US, the Netherlands, and France in there as you are to find Londoners or Merseysiders. It is a tourist draw in its own right and, as such, also brings trade to nearby shops. Nearly 5 million people visit Hamleys each year in Regent Street in London not necessarily to buy things but just to see the store and its huge array of toys. To put that into perspective, it is similar to the number of passengers Virgin Atlantic flew last year and about half the number of tourists that went to Singapore. There aren’t many shops that are such tourist draws; Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Liberty’s, Betty’s Tea Rooms in York are a few others that come to mind.
Given that this anniversary coincides with reports showing how many empty shops there are in the high street, it shows how important a single “anchor” shop can become in attracting people to its doors and then elsewhere.
Hamleys is where lots of people go for birthday presents. Today they’ll be there helping to celebrate a birthday.
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