FAO Schwarz, the world famous toy company, will open a new 20,000-square-foot store in London, according to reports.
The store will be located inside of London’s Selfridges department store, which the company describes as its first ever European flagship location. It will be full of the company’s iconic interactive experiences, and will also feature a huge collection of toys.
The target date for the grand opening is Nov. 1, 2019. The store will be modeled after the company’s Manhattan location that recently opened at Rockefeller Plaza, which was a milestone return to the area for the company about three years after it closed its Fifth Avenue location.
The Manhattan store has many different interactive activities, including a huge keyboard that people can dance on and a clock tower. In the spring, FAO will open another flagship store in Beijing, to be followed by the London location.
The company has had a tumultuous run, but it has been around since 1862. In 2009, Toys R Us bought the brand, and it had about 40 stores across the country. That was eventually whittled down to just the Fifth Avenue location. In 2016, ThreeSixty Group, a company that makes and distributes toys and various other products to different retailers, bought FAO.
“Similar to FAO, Selfridges is an iconic retail brand that delivers amazing experience and theater to its customers, therefore this was the perfect place for us to be,” said Jan-Eric Kloth, COO at ThreeSixty Group. “FAO Schwarz is a global brand that stands for experience and wonder.”
The Selfridges store will also have the huge, danceable keyboard, as well as the “FAO Raceway,” where people can work with FAO mechanics to design and build remote-control cars one piece at a time.
“FAO Schwarz is the world’s most inventive and inspiring toy store and the perfect partner for Selfridges’ reimagined toy department,” said Eleanor Robinson, director of accessories, kidswear and toys at Selfridges. “We like to think of Selfridges as a retail playground; the unparalleled product and experience that FAO Schwarz will bring to our Oxford Street store will mean that sentiment has never been more true.”