FAO Schwarz makes an iconic comeback in the Big Apple
FAO Schwarz, the toy retailer that closed its famous Fifth Avenue flagship three years ago, has just as suddenly returned to the Big Apple.
The retailer opened the doors of its new store in Rockefeller Center store on Nov. 16, according to Boston.com. The 20,000-square-foot store features some of the touristy attractions the original flagship was famous for including a clock tower-style entrance and a giant playable piano floor mat familiar to Baby Boomers and Millennials from the iconic scene in the 1988 film “Big” starring Tom Hanks.
The then owner of the original FAO Schwarz flagship, Toys “R” Us, blamed the closure on escalating rents in Manhattan. Toys “R” Us also closed its own Times Square store that same year. ThreeSixty Group acquired FAO Schwarz in Oct. 2016.
In addition to FAO Schwarz’s return to New York City, the retailer has been planning an international expansion, according to CNBC. FAO Schwarz plans to open permanent stores in Canada and China and has developed a pop-up strategy for Spain, Australia and London. Unlike the massive main store in New York City — currently the retailer’s only U.S. brick-and-mortar location — its stores in other countries will be small formats, many within existing department stores and taking up as little as 1,000 square feet.
The opening of a store at Rockefeller Center comes at the start of a holiday season with a lot up in the air for the toy world. The final closure of one-time category killer Toys “R” Us has prompted moves by retailers nationwide to fill the vacuum.
Walmart and Target as well as specialty retailers, such as Party City, have announced enhanced toy selections for the holiday season. And even retailers less directly associated with kids or toy shoppers, such as Kohl’s and J.C. Penney, are targeting the category for the Christmas season.
- FAO Schwarz is returning to Manhattan with a Rockefeller Center store – Boston.com
- Was Toys “R” Us Times Square doomed by high rents? – RetailWire
- ThreeSixty Group Announces Acquisition of FAO Schwarz – ThreeSixty Group/Business Wire
- FAO Schwarz makes international push and plans return to New York ahead of first Christmas without Toys R Us – CNBC
- Walmart will have 30 percent more toys in stores this holiday season – CNBC
- Will gains make believers of investors who opposed Target’s toy category push? – RetailWire
- Amazon to start new Christmas tradition with its own toy catalog – RetailWire
- Toy City pop-ups look to fill the gap left by Toys ‘R’ Us – RetailWire
- Who will fill the retailing void left by Toys ‘R’ Us? – RetailWire
- KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you approve of the strategy behind FAO Schwarz reopening its flagship store in Manhattan? What will be the keys to FAO Schwarz acheiving success in the U.S.?