FAO Schwarz reopens in New York while Target and Walmart ‘beef up’ toy offering in wake of Toys R Us

FAO Schwartz is making preparations to return to brick and mortar retailer in a new location in Manhattan, New York this year.

The toy store closed its doors in 2015 due to rising rents, but is now permanently reopening a 20,000 square foot flagship location at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in midtown Manhattan this November.

It’s a relative downscaling from its 61,000 square-foot space on 58 and Fifth Avenue, where it was based for 30 years.

“Ever since the brick and mortar locations closed, the brand is still extremely successful and viable through shop-in-shops,” said Charlie Dougiello, CEO of The Door, PR agency for FAO Schwartz.

“The brand is still very strong, but it has wanted to bring back its own location for a while.”

FAO Schwartz has a collection of classic toys and specialty items at shop-in-shops in over 5,000 retailers across the US. The retailer has been in operation for more than 150 years, attracting over three million visitors annually and over 25,000 visitors per day during the holiday season.

FAO Schwartz also plans to launch into mainland China in 2018 via a brand collaboration with China’s largest toy distributor, Kidsland. It has also struck an exclusive agreement with Hudson Group, one of the largest travel retailers in North America, to open a chain of FAO Schwartz-branded airport shops in the US and Canda.

Since the downfall of Toy R Us, a number of US retailers have been making major moves to fill the gaps left ahead of this year’s Christmas shopping period.

Walmart said last week that it plans to expand its toy offerings and is planning for “a big toy market this year.”

“We’re buying more toy inventory than we would traditionally in the past because there’s more volume up for grabs,” said Walmart’s chief merchandising officer, Steve Bratspies.

“We’re also doing some work on space in our stores and programming around the back half of the year and holiday time frame. You should expect us to be very competitive in the toy space.”

Meanwhile, Target added 1,400 toys to its offering in 2017 and is also planning on bolstering the category in store this year.

“Our teams in toys and baby have increased their inventory investment to ensure that we can meet higher demand as other competitors liquidate and exit these categories,” said Target’s COO John Mulligan.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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