FAO Schwarz Hawaii bound
New York, Las Vegas and Chicago have long housed FAO Schwarz, the luxury toy retailer featured in the hit 1980s movies "Big" and "Baby Boom." Now, Ala Moana Center will host the iconic shopping institution.
FAO Schwarz will open on Nov. 3 in Macy's at Ala Moana Center. The 1,000-square-foot store-within-a-store will carry luxury toys, including plush stuffed animals, cars, trucks and trains, as well as other exclusives available only to FAO Schwarz customers, said Lavina Wong, director of special events for Macy's Hawaii region.
Macy's also will offer FAO Schwarz merchandise at 250-square-foot kiosks located within their children's departments at Pearlridge Center on Oahu, the Prince Kuhio Plaza on the Big Island, and the Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center in Maui, Wong said.
"We are one of 21 Macy's locations to get an FAO Schwarz store," Wong said, adding that selected Macy's stores will offer FAO Schwarz toys exclusively.
The arrangement is likely to be a real boon for Macy's, especially during the competitive holiday season. FAO Schwarz, touted as the oldest toy store in America by the chain, was founded by Frederick August Otto Schwarz and his three brothers from Westphalia, Germany, more than 145 years ago. Today, the chain's three stand-alone stores are known not only for their toys but for the shopping experience they provide. According to Bloomberg news service, FAO Schwarz's flagship store in Manhattan reportedly attracts about 2.5 million shoppers each year.
"Obviously, we are just thrilled," Wong said. "FAO Schwarz is the most famous toy retailer in the world."
While it is challenging to gauge the impact that the toy-store opening will have on Macy's holiday sales, Wong said that she expects the addition of the FAO Schwarz name and merchandise will drive sales.
"I think the opening of the No. 1 toy store in Hawaii is really exciting for our state and that our little ones will have a great holiday season," she said.
Ala Moana Center, which owner General Growth Properties Inc. says is the largest outdoor shopping center in the world, has continued to aggressively recruit new retailers despite a down market. The center, which offers consumers 290 store choices and nearly 70 dining options, will add several other new retailers soon.
Coming this fall are: Miki House, which sells children's and family-related goods; Custo Barcelona, known for its vibrantly colored apparel and accessories; Spiral Girl, best known for its trendy branded apparel and accessories; and the Nestle Toll House Cafe, which will serve up the legendary cookies and other treats.