FAO Schwarz – the oldest US toy retailer – has finally opened the doors of its new 22,000 square foot location in London, housing itself within the capital city’s flagship Selfridges.
A 157-year-old New York toy shop, FAO Schwarz once upon a time occupied the General Motors Building on Fifth Avenue. However, it was shuttered back in 2015 when common consensus was this was the last to be seen of the brand.
But last year, FAO Schwarz returned to New York City under its new owner ThreeSixty Group, moving into a new address at Rockefeller Plaza, with a refreshed business model. Since then, global expansion of the retail brand has not been far off.
This week has now seen the iconic toy shop – best immortalised in the role it played in the 1988 Tom Hanks film, Big, and the 1992 comedy, Home Alone 2 – now move into the UK with the opening of its first European retail presence with its 22,000 square foot Selfridges concession; proving that it won’t be doing things by half.
The fourth floor location within London’s Selfridges marks FAO Schwarz’s largest flagship store in the world, dwarfing its New York base.
The Oxford Street location will now house more than 2000 product lines, spanning big name brands from Playmobil, Hot Wheels and LEGO, to the higher end, specialist items such as the £800 life-size Nutcracker soldier, made famous by its New York store, and its £1,650 toy elephants.
The expansive fourth-floor layout in London also marks FAO Schwarz second international location, joining the large Beijing branch. Its opening now puts it in direct competition with the likes of Hamleys and Harrods, both premiere central London destinations for the Christmas toy buyer.