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Toy brand FAO Schwarz opens in Selfridges

American toy brand FAO Schwarz has opened its first European outlet within Selfridges’ flagship London store.

The 157-year-old brand – probably best known to UK customers for its walk-on piano keyboard that featured in the 1988 movie Big, starring Tom Hanks – has taken over 22,000 square feet to house more than 2,000 product lines at the department’s Oxford Street location.

It returned to New York City last year under new owner ThreeSixty Group after shutting its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in 2015 when the brand was still owned by Toys R Us.

The London outpost – the largest in the world after the Beijing store which opened in May – will exclusively offer the FAO Schwarz toy line as well as dolls, plush toys, children’s technology and souvenirs as well as ranges from brands including Playmobil, Lego, Steiff, Bunnies By The Bay, Schleich and Build-a-Bear.

It will also house two new collections from the brand – a science and technology line called Discovery #Mindblown and the Sharper Image robotics, remote control car and laser tech.

ThreeSixty Group chief operating officer Jan-Eric Kloth said: “Selfridges is the perfect partner for FAO Schwarz in the UK and to start our expansion into Europe.

“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 customised on-site experiences and activations.”

FAO Schwarz outlet store
The new FAO Schwarz outlet in Selfridges’ flagship London store (Matt Writtle/Selfridges/PA)

Martyn Stroud, director of home and toys at Selfridges, said: “FAO Schwarz is the premiere global brand in toys and today it is certainly the most dynamic experience and customer driven within its field.

“We are thrilled to bring the wonder, excitement, and passion for toys at the heart of FAO Schwarz and offer them to our customers.”