Hamleys CEO David Smith to resign

Hamleys David Smith Mukesh Ambani
Hamleys has faced tough trading conditions since its most recent change of ownership
// Hamleys CEO to step down after less than 6 months
// David Smith has held executive roles at both Debenhams and The Body Shop
// The reasons for his departure remain unclear

Hamleys chief executive David Smith is due to resign after spending just seven months in his role, with reasons remaining unclear.

Smith, a former Debenhams and The Body Shop executive, is set to leave the world-famous 260-year old toy retail business by the end of the month.

Hamleys has faced tough trading conditions since its most recent change of ownership, which saw India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani acquire the business for £70 million.

READ MORE: Hamleys appoints former Debenhams & The Body Shop exec as new CEO

Reliance Industries, the company owned by Ambani, said it had signed an agreement to buy Hamleys from China’s C.banner International which had acquired it in 2015.

Under its Chinese owner, Hamleys opened a 115,000sq ft store in Beijing in a ceremony overseen by the UK’s ambassador to China.

Hamleys reopened its London flagship store on Regent Street in June after having been closed for several months due to the coronavirus lockdown.

The retailer trades from more than 100 stores in different international markets, with most of those operated under franchise.

Sales continued to suffer due to a lack of tourists in the area, and footfall had weakened in central London.

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