Three years ago, toy fans everywhere were devastated when iconic New York toy store FAO Schwarz closed its doors.
Dry those tears ... because the beloved store is opening back up with a new location in Rockefeller Plaza, just blocks from its old flagship location on 5th Avenue.
The new store is set to open in November, just in time for shoppers to snag the year’s hottest toys for the kids on their lists this holiday season.
FAO Schwarz is now owned by ThreeSixty Group, which purchased the beloved brand from parent company Toys R Us in 2016, which, of course, shuttered all of its own stores earlier this year. The new, 20,000-foot FAO Schwarz store hopes to lure customers with experiential elements such as product demonstrations, magicians and staff playing roles like toy soldiers. Of course, the massive floor piano made famous in the movie “Big” will also be a part of the store.
“We’re looking for people who can deliver that sense of theatre,” David Conn, ThreeSixty Group’s chief executive, told The Wall Street Journal of the staff members he hopes to hire. The company will begin auditions for performing staffers on Sept. 8.
Additional FAQ Schwarz stores are planned to launch in China and at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
Although the so-called “retail apocalypse” has been a major concern for the industry in recent years, a report from the IHL Group, a retail industry research firm, shows that the problem may be overblown. According to the report, store openings are outpacing closings in 2018 by nearly 4,000. The report analyzed data from more than 1,500 retailers.
“There has been a great deal of negative press about retail in the last two years,” Greg Buzek, president of IHL Group, told Chain Store Age. “Overall, retail is very healthy … But there are vast differences in retail segments with some growing rapidly and others struggling.”