Ahead of the holidays, Toys R Us is opening FAO Schwarz boutiques in some of its stores and relaunching the iconic toy store's Web site.
The announcement gives the first clear indication of Toys R Us' plan for the brand best known for the scene in the 1988 movie "Big" in which Tom Hanks danced on a floor piano. The largest U.S. toy-store chain bought the brand in May.
FAO Schwarz has two standalone stores, one in New York and one in Las Vegas.
This year, Toys R Us will open 585 boutiques within its own stores branded with the FAO Schwarz name beginning Nov. 1.
The boutiques will feature overhead signs and life-size displays of FAO Schwarz' toy soldier, which stands outside its stores.
Toys will range from $2.99 to $64.99, including FAO Schwarz' annual holiday ornament and collectible stuffed teddy bear. Other toys include a dinosaur playset and classics like a jack-in-the box and a humming top.
Privately held Toys R Us also relaunched FAO.com, the FAO Schwarz Web site. And it will continue to publish FAO Schwarz' holiday catalog. The catalog has been published since 1986 and will be sent out beginning Nov. 10.
The catalog lives up to FAO Schwarz's reputation for exclusive toys.
Items include high-end toys such as Steiff Karl Lagerfeld Teddy Bear, which wears designer clothing, for $1,499.99 and the Steiff Niki Riding Pony, a plush rocking horse for $549.99, though there are lower-priced offerings such as "(Not so) Scary Monsters" stuffed animals for $29.99.
Toy retailers have been increasingly squeezed by discounters such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. as well as online retailers. Toys R Us has attempted to use the recession to gain market share. In addition to FAO Schwarz, Toys R Us, based in Wayne, N.J., bought the assets of KB Toys Inc. and online toy seller eToys.com.
Toys R Us operates more than 1,550 stores worldwide, including 848 in the U.S.