FAO Schwarz’s unique experiential retail offer introduces American showmanship and exclusive toy collections to Europe
Tuesday 22 October, Selfridges has officially opened Europe’s first FAO Schwarz flagship destination in its London Oxford street store. It is the first time America’s oldest and most prestigious toy retailer has ventured into Europe on such scale in its 157-year history.
At over 22,000 sq. ft, FAO Schwarz at Selfridges is the second largest FAO Schwarz destination after the Beijing store. The current New York location relaunched last November was the first FAO flagship to open under ThreeSixty Group’s ownership marking the highly anticipated return of the iconic toy store to the city in which it first opened in 1870.
“Selfridges is the perfect partner for FAO Schwarz in the UK and to start our expansion into Europe,” said Jan-Eric Kloth, COO at ThreeSixty Group, owners FAO Schwarz. “It truly is the best department store in the world and is fully aligned with our goal to innovate and push the limits of traditional retail with our customized on-site experiences and activations.”
The London outpost at Selfridges features the FAO Schwarz toy line – exclusive to Selfridges – as well as a comprehensive selection of products to satisfy all ages, from pre-school to early teens, catering for all tastes and genders. FAO Schwarz at Selfridges will also house two new collections from the brand – Discovery #Mindblown, a learning-focused science and technology collection, as well as Sharper Image, a design and innovation driven robotics, remote control car and laser line. The store will also offer the widest range of dolls, plush toys, kids tech, magnets, souvenirs and automotive toys as well as ranges from brands including Playmobil, Lego, Steiff, Bunnies By The Bay, Schleich and Build-a-Bear. At launch, well over 2,000 product lines will be on offer, backed by over 130,000 units of stock.
“FAO Schwarz is the premiere global brand in toys and today it is certainly the most dynamic experience and customer driven within its field,” said Martyn Stroud, Director of Home and Toys at Selfridges. “We are thrilled to bring the wonder, excitement, and passion for toys at the heart of FAO Schwarz and offer them to our customers. The pairing of our brands, both originated by American founders and steeped in a shared sense of showmanship and outstanding customer service is a perfect fit”.
Top toys expected to be the most popular include:
- Sharper Image monster spinning remote control car, £16
- FAO Schwarz Dance on Piano, £60
- Discovery Planeterium, £25
- FAO Schwarz plush giraffe 48 inch, £300
- Jellycat plush, from £15
- Elsa feature doll, £40
- Lego, from £5
- L.O.L Glamper, £100
- Owleez, £50
More than a toy store, FAO Schwarz is a destination of imagination and discovery, showcasing an unrivalled experiential retail experience. Customers – especially children – can expect to be fully engaged with the space and its interactive offerings, such as Build Your Own Race Car, which enables shoppers to customise and build their own remote car from scratch, and My FAO Doll which enables children to acquire their doll through an exclusive immersive experience. Additional play and exploration experiences include FAO’s iconic Rocket Ship, Clock Tower and, of course, FAO Schwarz’s famous dance-on piano. Piano dancers will be on hand to teach customers of all ages and skill levels how to simultaneously dance and play songs
FAO Schwarz’s hand-selected toy ambassadors and product demonstrators are also on hand to provide a world-class shopping experience with showmanship, thoroughly supporting the whimsical and theatrical wonderment FAO has always been known for.
And to keep everyone smiling, FAO Schweetz, FAO Schwarz’ exclusive branded candy destination, supplies the most appealing of sweets including 2-lb. gummy bears.
The quality, diversity and hands-on nature of these elements elevate the overall product and experience offer within the Selfridges space above and beyond global industry standards.