FAO Schwarz, whose emblematic New York store has been immortalized in several films, including “Mom, I Missed the Plane Again” and “Big” with Tom Hanks, arrives in Paris. The American toy brand inaugurated its first French point of sale this Wednesday in Paris, in the heart of Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann. Founded in 1862 by German immigrant Frederick August Otto Schwarz, the brand has seven other stores around the world. Including its flagship located on the luxurious 5th avenue in New York, a huge space of 5,600 m2 closed in 2015 then reopened in 2018 nearby on a smaller surface.

For more than a century and a half, FAO Schwarz has experienced ups and downs and several owners, the last two being the American Toys “R” Us (since 2009) then ThreeSixty (since 2016). In 2021, the latter entrusted the exclusive management of the license in Europe to the Italian group PRG Retail Group. “After opening a store in Milan in 2021, for a second store in Europe we had to choose an emblematic destination,” summarized Amedeo Giustini, executive vice-president of PRG Retail Group, to the press on Wednesday.

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The FAO Schwarz Parisian point of sale occupies half of the fifth floor of Galeries Lafayette Haussmann, or 620 m2 within the famous Parisian department store which welcomes 37 million visitors per year. It benefited from a “very significant investment, of almost one million euros”, PRG also indicating that it was aiming for “a turnover target of 6 million euros excluding tax per year”. Amedeo Giustini told AFP that he was “looking at” other destinations for potential other establishments in Europe, for example in Spain or Italy, either for stores “of their own or in places where there are traffic” visitors.

Alongside toys from major brands or stamped with its own brand, the specificity of FAO Schwarz is to offer various in-store experiences, with small stands where the child (or adult) can create a small Majorette car on the spot with colors and shapes of your choice, or customize Barbie doll clothes.

PRG Retail Group owns the Prénatal, Bimbostore, Toys Center brands as well as the Toys “R” Us license in the Iberian Peninsula. He is also the minority shareholder of the French group King Cadeau. It has 528 stores in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. In France, the toy market achieved a turnover of 4.3 billion euros in 2023, down 5.2% year-on-year.