FAO Schwarz set to return with new stores and expansion plans

The oldest toy store of the U.S., FAO Schwarz is reportedly planning to make a comeback. As per trusted sources, the toy store will be opening new locations, comprising a flagship store located in New York in November.

FAO Schwarz was popular for its massive store on Fifth Avenue, which featured Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia playing the floor piano in the movie Big. The store had to shut shop in 2015.

However, Toys “R” Us was acquired by ThreeSixty group, a consumer products company in the year 2016, from FAO. Under ThreeSixty group’s ownership, the company plans to open up new stores in airports, including LaGuardia Airport in New York and in Canada. It has also begun operations in Kohl’s.

However, the company’s top priority remains the new 20,000-square-foot store based at 30 Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan, whose plans were first reported in August. According to sources familiar with the development, the new store’s staff will include product demonstrators, sales clerks, magicians, and costumed actors.

David Conn, CEO of ThreeSixty Brands, stated that everything the company has been doing revolves around 30 Rock. However, Bob Phibbs, the Chief Executive of Retail Doctor, believes that the plan is flawed. He further elaborated that rather than designing a strategy that attracts young shoppers, the brand has decided to exhibit 80s nostalgia through in-store spectacles. The plan is outdated and doesn’t seem to capture the fundamental understanding of its customers, he added.

Reportedly, FAO can face tough competition from big players who have expanded their portfolio over the last few months to fix the void caused by a bankrupt Toys “R” Us. Moreover, FAO isn’t the only toy brand that’s been attempting to revive itself, sources said.

Recently, in a court filing, the company said that it’s looking at new operations for its Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us brands. The plan is estimated to create new, domestic, retail operating business, increase its international presence and improve its private brands’ business, cite sources.