The reborn FAO Schwarz has broadened its retail footprint beyond its U.S. base to include a global audience using travel retail much like a launching pad.
With a flagship store opening in Beijing, China, earlier this year and London and Dublin openings scheduled for October 22 and 30 respectively, the potential for the FAO Schwarz experiential toy brand in global travel retail is clear, says exclusive global channel distributor SKYlink, which has very high expectations for the brand.
Listings have already been secured with DFS in 10 of its Galleria stores, and negotiations are in process for a number of key airport and cruiseship locations.
FAO Schwarz, an American icon before its New York store became famous globally in the 1988 American fantasy comedy film BIG, is again in the limelight thanks to Big–The Musical Review, currently playing in London.
FAO Schwarz is a global kid’s lifestyle brand that has always gone a step beyond just selling toys, says SKYlink managing director Barry Fitzpatrick.
He sees travel retail as a natural outlet for expansion, alongside its domestic growth plans, which will place FAO Schwarz as a leading high-end toy retailer across the globe.
“We were delighted when FAO Schwarz approached us to represent them in global travel retail. This is a brand whose belief in experiential marketing is perfect for the channel; and while other toy suppliers have fallen by the wayside in the face of e-commerce competition, FAO Schwarz is going from strength to strength,” said Fitzpatrick.
Earlier this year FAO Schwarz partnered with Kidsland, China’s largest toy distributor and retailer with almost 200 stores; and a 27,000 sq ft flagship store opened in China World Mall, Beijing.
This October the first flagship store opens in Europe within Selfridge’s Oxford St location. The 20,000 sq ft, store takes its cues from the new New York City flagship outlet in the Rockefeller Plaza, featuring the famous Clock-tower, Grand Piano dance mat and new FAO Rocket Ship.
Next month, Arnott’s in Dublin is devoting an entire floor to a 6,000 sq ft FAO Schwarz store. More are also planned for Canada.
SKYlink has selected a core line of around 30 items that reflect the DNA of the brand display mechanisms that enable retailers to build a truly experiential offer for travelers, says Fitzpatrick.
Listings commence with DFS Galleria in time for the Christmas campaign at outlets in Cambodia, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Vietnam.
“At SKYlink our modus operandi is to offer a portfolio of brands that stands apart from others available to retailers. FAO Schwarz is a perfect example of this and we’re very excited about the potential for this historic and iconic brand in travel retail,” adds Fitzpatrick.