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.