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Toys R Us has some big plans for FAO Schwarz


Toys R Us has purchased the assets of the high-end retailer FAO Schwarz after it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. There are separate areas in some stores that feature FAO toys. Toys R Us plans to expand the line of the high-end toys.

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NEW YORK - Toys R Us plans to open 10 FAO Schwarz pop-up stores for the holidays, giving new life to a brand it recently acquired that was down to just two locations.

The move is the latest piece of the toy retailer's aggressive plan to gain market share in a weak economy. Toys R Us also is opening 600 Toys R Us pop-up stores and is increasing the selection of its exclusive toys and its own "R" label toys.

"In a difficult economy, the smart thing to do is push forward," CEO Jerry Storch said Wednesday.

Toys R Us, which bought the assets of the high-end retailer FAO Schwarz after it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009, already has a separate area in all of its stores for FAO Schwarz-branded toys, including a smaller version of the piano featured in the movie Big for $79.99.

The new pop-up stores, two of which have opened, will be at high-end malls such as Aventura Mall in Aventura, Fla. They will also offer the Big piano, a plush Zebra that retails for $154.99, Harry Potter toys and dress-up clothes, Madame Alexander dolls, and other toys.

The stores are slated to close in January, but Mr. Storch said there is a possibility they could remain open.

Toys R Us has scooped up former competitors such as FAO Schwarz as well as Web site and mall chain KBToys after they each filed for bankruptcy protection, done in by the recession and competition from mass merchants like Target and Walmart Stores.

Toys R Us posted a loss in its most recent fiscal quarter, hindered by higher costs, but it has performed relatively well during the last two years as toys proved relatively recession-proof.

The bulk of toy retailers' profit is earned in the fourth quarter, one reason Toys R Us is being aggressive for the holidays.

"We're not projecting a dramatic increase over prior years. We just know Christmas will come," Mr. Storch said.

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