The world’s oldest toy store has signed on to open its first Qatar branch at an under-construction mega-mall in Al Rayyan.
According to the Mall of Qatar (MOQ), the upcoming Hamleys department store will span two floors and host toy events, character visits, theatrical elements and daily parades when it opens here.
In a statement, Rony Mourani, the mall’s general manager, said:
“We are bringing the world’s most iconic toy store to Doha. Hamleys is a fairy-tale brand that is much more than a toy store, offering children a magical toy emporium where they can enjoy live and interactive demonstrations of their favorite toys.”
Hamleys was founded in the UK more than 250 years ago and has several branches in the GCC, including in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
In 2011, its Gulf franchise partner Retail Arabia International said it planned to roll out a Hamleys branch in Doha within the year, but that project stalled for unknown reasons.
The $824 million (QR3 billion) Mall of Qatar, situated west of Education City on the Dukhan Highway, is expected to open its doors early 2016.
It is slated to be around one-third larger than Villaggio Mall and will be – briefly – Qatar’ biggest shopping complex until Doha Festival City opens next fall.
Mall of Qatar has been branding itself as a family-friendly venue, and recently signed a deal to bring children’s center KidzMondo to the country.
Inside that miniature city, children between the ages of two and 14 years old would be able to act out a variety of everyday jobs as well as roles in space, technology or energy that might exist in the future.
Supervised by staff, they can earn a salary in the complex’s dedicated currency, and use it to shop in some of the on-site stores.
The Kidzmondo and Hamley deals come months after the mall parted ways with an operator who was originally supposed to run the retailer’s entertainment area.
Last year, Mall of Qatar said it planned to open a Juniverse family entertainment zone that would include an Angry Birds theme park and Virtuosity, an e-gaming zone for teenagers and young adults.
But earlier this year, rival shopping center DFC said it would be the home of Juniverse instead.
Ah, I love this – great news! The challenge will be to create not just a massive toy shop, but the magical atmosphere Hamley’s is famous for. I can’t wait to visit!
There was a Hamleys Toy Store in Qatar in the late 1970’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think I remember that. Where was it located?
Can’t recall location. Returned to Doha after 30 years and was almost totally disorientated on arrival. Store was owned by Ali Bin Ali. Was at official opening – close to second childhood now so I might buy some toys for myself this time around.
It was near Sana/Doha Toys Town … Or maybe it moved there … I guess it was a fake Hamelys!?
Hamley’s might as well open a museum. The world famous FAO Schwarz in Manhattan NYC shut its doors for good in July this year, and why is that? True, rents were unsustainable but the real culprit is that toys these days are old fashioned. Kids as young as three are picking up smartphones and tablets and playing games. Childhood entertainment has gone digital folks, especially in Qatar were traditionally there isn’t a huge culture of purchasing toys and where iPhones and iPads are the love of many a mum and dad.
Childhood entertainment has not gone digital for all folks. Parents still have the option of restricting access to digital entertainment, forcing their kids to get off their you-know-whats in favor fitness, socialization, imagination development, etc. Or just stick a screen in front of the kid. For some, it’s better to shut kids up and avoid having to actually interact with them. And that all important hand-eye coordination is really going to pay off some day, right?
Love Hamleys, one of the things the britshers do well, but opening in early 2016. That means 2018. 🙁
Has anyone noticed the huge difference in terms of quality and selections between Hamleys London and UAE , i think due to the sky rocketing rent and employees hiring cost ( as usual in Doha ), nationality ( Cheap Labour ) will for sure follow as UAE and end up in something to post for media on what we have but truly not on what they offer
Brilliant! – toy watches, adorned with real diamonds?
And a pedal car Lamborghini – to go with his “real” one