FAO Schwarz is entering European markets for the first time in its history.
The new owners expect to make the brand internationally with the launch of the large-scale expansion.
The first FAO Schwarz store was opened in Baltimore in 1862, and since 1870, the home for the brand is New York. The company twice initiated bankruptcy proceedings in 2003. Today the brand is owned by the ThreeSixty Group. The purchase of FAO Schwarz from Toys R Us was closed in 2016, shortly after the closure of the flagship store on Fifth Avenue. In autumn 2018, the new luxury store welcomed customers to Rockefeller Plaza, and on May 2019, it made its historic debut in the Chinese market.
In addition to the first store outside the U.S. in Beijing, FAO has opened a new sales space in London and is preparing to launch a large store in Dublin. In London, Selfridges is a partner, while in Dublin, Arnotts is planning to open the store. Both sites are interested in expanding their toy departments.
Stores in London and Dublin, as well as all future international FAO flagships, will feature four key business cards for the famous New York store - a giant dance piano, a clock tower, a missile ship, and welcoming cavalrymen.
The launch of the brand in the UK and Ireland is part of ThreeSixty Group's five-year plan to create an international network of FAO Schwarz, which will include 12 to 15 flagship stores around the world. Earlier, in partnership with retailer Hudson News, the company began opening small shops selling toys and sweets at U.S. airports.
Despite the big plans for international expansion, brand owners are not planning to open new stores in the U.S. market, noting that "nothing better than the flagship Rockefeller Plaza can be." The shop, located in one of the most prestigious and expensive locations in the city, serves as a hallmark of the brand, which, thanks to tourist traffic, has become known far beyond the U.S.