October 28, 2009 // Franchising.com // WAYNE, NJ – Building on a rich heritage that has delighted kids for generations, FAO Schwarz today announced its plans to offer gift-givers nationwide expanded access to its assortment of extraordinary playthings this holiday season. While millions of visitors from all over the world enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience each year at its renowned stores on Fifth Avenue in New York City and at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, customers now have a variety of ways to shop FAO Schwarz without leaving their hometowns – or even their homes! Just in time for the holiday shopping season, the legendary toy retailer is establishing dedicated FAO Schwarz-branded boutiques filled with a selection of its classic toys within 585 Toys"R"Us stores nationwide; relaunching its e-commerce site, FAO.com; and publishing its beloved Holiday Catalog.
"FAO Schwarz is known to kids and kids-at-heart for offering distinctive, unique toys and creating memories that last a lifetime," said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys"R"Us, Inc., which acquired the FAO Schwarz brand in May 2009. "This holiday season we are proud to celebrate the legacy of the FAO Schwarz brand, making it more accessible to customers from coast-to-coast while creating new traditions for generations of children to come."
Beginning November 1, FAO Schwarz-branded toy boutiques will be introduced in 585 Toys"R"Us stores nationwide, conveniently bringing classic treasures to customers in their local markets. The FAO Schwarz boutiques will be located prominently at the forefront of Toys"R"Us stores and feature colorful overhead signage, as well as life-sized displays of the famous FAO Schwarz toy soldier.
The edited assortment of unique playthings has been carefully selected to highlight dozens of classic FAO Schwarz toys at affordable price points ranging from $2.99 to $64.99, including annual favorites such as the FAO Schwarz Signature Holiday Ornament and 2009 Collectible Bear. Also gracing the boutiques' shelves are FAO Schwarz mascots Patrick the Pup and his sister, Penelope the Pup. In addition, customers can find FAO Schwarz-branded, child-sized sports sets sure to satisfy the smallest athletes, Dinosaurs in a Rock House for those interested in prehistoric playtime, and timeless favorites like the Jack-in-the-Box and Humming Top, perfect for any child on one's gift list. And, to surprise kids looking to emulate Tom Hanks' character in the movie, Big, gift-givers can take home a replica of the iconic FAO Schwarz Big Piano, which was featured in the film.
For customers who would like to explore the full FAO Schwarz toy assortment from the comfort of their homes, the company's e-commerce site, FAO.com, relaunches today to provide a truly unique shopping experience. Featuring a simple, easy-to-navigate layout, online shoppers can browse the selection of distinct FAO Schwarz merchandise, searching by specific toy categories, to find the perfect gift to elicit smiles on Christmas morning.
Whether children adore animals, admire the arts, prefer entertainment and dress-up, are crazy about construction, or wish to fuel their fantasy with powered toys and action figures, FAO.com offers something to fit every child's interests and desires. Online shoppers can also access a virtual version of the famous Muppet Whatnot™ Workshop offered in the FAO Schwarz flagship store on Fifth Avenue, which allows customers to choose from a series of bodies, hairstyles, eyes, noses and costumes to customize their own Muppet Whatnot puppet. Also coming soon to the site are FAO Schwarz exclusive products like (Not So) Scary Monsters™, Fancy Nancy Dolls and Brownstone Buddies™.
FAO.com offers the same magical experience customers have come to expect from the legendary brand, with a bright red background adorned with gold descending sparkles, and the FAO Schwarz logo prominently featured. A large gold picture frame centered on the homepage contains rotating images of the hottest products and brands featured at FAO Schwarz. Interactive product pages that bring to life some of FAO Schwarz's most in-demand products, including Playmobil®, are also available on the site.
Customers can also take advantage of the various services FAO.com offers, including managing individual accounts and "shopping bags," and signing up for exclusive promotional e-mails. In addition, an updated 'Wish List' application allows parents and kids to work together to create a tailored list of toys, and provides parents more input on the gifts their children receive for holidays and birthdays. Wish Lists can be shared easily by e-mail with friends and family.
Supplementing the online experience is the timeless annual FAO Schwarz Holiday Catalog, which will be delivered to the homes of loyal customers nationwide beginning November 10. From baby's first Christmas to the big kids on one's list, the catalog features 40 pages of wondrous playtime choices that gift-givers can purchase easily online or by phone.
This year's catalog – a publication that dates back to 1876 – boasts a complete selection of unique toys at an array of price points. High-end playthings, such as the Steiff Karl Lagerfeld Teddy Bear, modeled after the world-famous fashion designer and clad in premium denim jeans, Italian wool jacket and black silk tie; and the Steiff Niki Riding Pony, an exclusive, plush alternative to the classic rocking horse, are among the most posh toys published in this year's catalog, priced at $1,499.99 and $549.99, respectively. Other superb gift ideas include the annual FAO Schwarz Christmas Wendy with 2009 Bear, FAO Schwarz Classic Baby Doll and the Charlie and Lola™ Sizzles the Dog priced between $9.99 and $89.99.
For nearly 150 years, FAO Schwarz has been a brand synonymous with quality and innovation, offering an unparalleled selection of extraordinary toys that have enchanted generations and cultivated a loyal clientele. There are currently two FAO Schwarz locations in the United States – the famous flagship store in Manhattan, which attracts millions of visitors annually, and a store in Las Vegas at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. The complete assortment of the company's products, including a line of toys marketed under the FAO Schwarz brand name, can be found in-store and online at FAO.com. The iconic FAO Schwarz brand is exclusively operated by Toys"R"Us, Inc., the world's leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer.