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Hamleys provides home for teddy bear retailer.

Toy shop group Hamleys is buying the remaining assets of troubled bear retailer The English Teddy Bear Company.

The group is buying four stores, in Cambridge, Bath, and Regent Street and Piccadilly in London, for pounds 710,000 from the group's liquidator.

It is also buying related stock and the English Teddy Bear brand name and website.

English Teddy Bear, founded in 1991, built itself up to a chain of more than ten stores but went into liquidation after being hit by financial difficulties.

The group, which sells teddy bears and themed T-shirts and sweatshirts, had suffered management issues and poor decisions opening new stores.

A spokeswoman for Hamleys said the four stores, which were bought yesterday, had been profitable for the last ten years.

But last year it was reported that the teddy bear firm had seen sales plummet by 50 per cent at its Regent Street shop in the wake of September 11.

The store had relied in part on American tourists for sales.

Hamleys, however, said it saw a significant opportunity to expand the teddy bear group and improve performance of the four stores.

Chairman Simon Burke said the acquisition was an 'excellent addition' to Hamleys and its Bear Factory chain, which has stores in both Solihull and Dudley.

To fund the acquisition, Hamleys is aiming to raise pounds 3.3 million through a share placing of 2.1 million shares at 165 1 /2p.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 12, 2002
Words:238
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