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FAO Schwarz to close flagship New York store

FAO Schwarz, the oldest toy store in the United States and a retailer once considered accessible only to the rich, is closing its much-loved Fifth Avenue flagship store in Manhattan, citing rising rent prices.

The three-level, 4,180 square metre space is a popular tourist destination and has made cameos in multiple movies, including Woody Allen’s 1995 film Mighty Aphrodite and the 1988 movie Big starring Tom Hanks.

The store, positioned along a stretch of Fifth Avenue that is home to some of the world’s most luxurious retailers, will formally shut its doors on July 15, taking an early exit from its lease.

“The decision to vacate this space is due to the continuing rising costs of operating a retail location on Fifth Avenue in New York City,” FAO Schwarz said in a statement released on Friday.

FAO Schwarz, which was acquired by Toys “R” Us Inc. in 2009, is actively looking for a new space in Midtown Manhattan to re-open its flagship store, it said.

The toy retailer, known for its unique and sometimes pricey merchandise, was founded in 1862 in Baltimore by German immigrant Frederick August Otto Schwarz.

By 1870, Schwarz had moved to New York City and over the next 100 years it grew in size and moved Manhattan locations several times. It landed in the General Motors Building on Fifth Avenue in 1986.

The toy store once had multiple retail destinations across the country but they have all closed, leaving just the Manhattan space in addition to an online presence and boutiques in Toys “R” Us stores

CBC | Business News