FAO Schwarz, manufacturer and retailer of high quality children's toys, enters European markets for the first time in its history.
The new owners expect to make the brand international with the launch of a large-scale expansion.
The first FAO Schwarz store was opened in Baltimore in 1862, and since 1870 the brand has been home in New York. The company filed for bankruptcy twice in 2003. Today the brand is owned by the ThreeSixty Group. The deal to buy FAO Schwarz from Toys R Us closed in 2016, shortly after the closure of the Fifth Avenue flagship store. In the fall of 2018, a new luxury store welcomed customers to Rockefeller Plaza, and in May 2019, it made its historic debut in the Chinese market.
In addition to its first non-US store in Beijing, FAO has opened a new retail space in London and is preparing to launch a large store in Dublin. In London, the company partners with Selfridges department store, and in Dublin, the opening is planned at Arnotts department store. Both marketplaces are interested in expanding their own toy departments.
Stores in London and Dublin, as well as all future FAO international flagships, will feature the iconic New York store's four key calling cards - a giant dancing piano, a clock tower, a rocket ship and greeted troopers.
The brand's launch in the UK and Ireland is part of the ThreeSixty Group's five-year plan to build an international FAO Schwarz chain of 12 to 15 flagship stores worldwide. Previously, in partnership with retailer Hudson News, the company began opening small toy and candy stores at US airports.
Despite big plans for international expansion, the brand's owners do not plan new openings in the US market, noting that "there can be nothing better than the flagship Rockefeller Plaza." The store, located in one of the most prestigious and expensive locations in the city, serves as the hallmark of the brand, which, thanks to tourist traffic, has become known far beyond the borders of the United States.