Toy retailer FAO Schwarz to close flagship New York City store

Sat May 16, 2015 2:41pm EDT
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By Sebastien Malo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - 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, 45,000 square foot 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 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 store was packed with shoppers on Saturday, with many just learning the location would soon be closing its doors.

Laurent Orne, visiting from France with his family, snapped photos of his six-year-old daughter, who beamed as she posed next to toy soldiers in red uniforms.

"We wanted to come here because this store is mythical," said Orne, 42, a computer engineer.   Continued...

Shoppers crowd the FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue store in New York, November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar