US toy retailer FAO Schwarz opens Dublin store

Retailer takes 6,000sq ft space in Arnotts for its fourth location internationally

Famous US toy retailer FAO Schwarz has opened a 6,000 sq ft store in Arnotts, replete with a walk-on piano keyboard made famous by Tom Hanks in the 1988 film Big. Photograph: Alan Betson

Famous US toy retailer FAO Schwarz has opened a 6,000 sq ft store in Arnotts, replete with a walk-on piano keyboard made famous by Tom Hanks in the 1988 film Big. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

With Christmas just around the corner, famous US toy retailer FAO Schwarz has opened a 557sq m (6,000sq ft) store in Arnotts, replete with a walk-on piano keyboard made famous by Tom Hanks in the 1988 film Big.

The outlet opened on Wednesday, with Dublin becoming Schwarz’s fourth location globally after New York, Beijing and Selfridges in London, a sister department store of Arnotts.

Why Dublin? According to Megan Wycoff, who is in charge of business development for the toy retailer outside the US, “they [Selfridges and Arnotts] were looking to reimagine their entire toy space. In both locations, it was great partners, a shared brand history and innovative retailing.”

‘Perfect’ timing

Ms Wycoff said the timing was “perfect” with Christmas just eight weeks away.

Arnotts has licensed the brand from Schwarz following 13 months of planning. Donald McDonald, managing director of Arnotts, said Schwarz would help it to “deliver unique experiences” to families here.

Founded in 1862 by Frederick August Otto Schwarz, the retailer has become a well-known brand in toys, and its former flagship New York store on Fifth Avenue was the third most visited location by tourists prior to closing in 2015 due to high rents.

The retailer was acquired from Toys R Us by ThreeSixty Group in 2016 and reopened in New York in November 2018 at the Rockefeller Plaza.

Over the years, Schwarz has helped to launch a wide range of leading toy brands, from Lego to Barbie, and is also known for its plush large stuffed animals and its FAO Schweetz shop with giant gummy bears and jelly toy soldiers.