This Christmas, kids in Singapore have another toy wonderland to pick their presents from.
Famous British toy company Hamleys opens its first store here today at Plaza Singapura.
The toy giant, owned by French retailer Groupe Ludendo, is planning to open a second outlet at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) before Christmas and a third store in the near future.
The two-storey 12,000 sq ft flagship store at Plaza Singapura will stock more than 10,000 traditional and high-tech toys, including its signature teddy bears and toy soldiers.
There will also be games, puzzles, magic props, arts and crafts, and the Luvley Boutique, a Hamleys exclusive which features hair and nail products.
Ahead of the store's media preview at 3pm today, Mr Gudjon Reynisson, chief executive of Hamleys in Britain, told Life in an e-mail interview that Singapore is a strategic market for South-east Asia and will pave the way for further expansion into the region.
Hamleys, billed as the oldest toy store in the world, has 54 stores in 17 countries, including Sweden, Russia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Mr Reynisson cites Singapore's market size, growing retail market and customer affinity for global brands as reasons for its expansion here.
The stores here will be run by GRV Toy Store, a franchise partner which also runs Hamleys stores in Malaysia. But the products in the Singapore stores will be curated by the Hamleys UK team, who will train the staff here.
The Hamleys store at MBS will be smaller - at 6,300 sq ft. It will carry at least 10,000 different toys, including exclusive items not found in other malls, as well as brands such as Lego and Hasbro.
Hamleysopened in 1760 in London under the name Noah's Ark. In 1881, the flagship store moved to its current location in Regent Street and changed its name to Hamleys, in honour of its founder, the late William Hamley.