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NEW YORK CITY-FAO Schwarz reopens a redesigned flagship store at 767 Fifth Ave. on Thanksgiving morning. This follows the October 22 reopening of a Las Vegas store located within the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

Last December, in a deal valued at $20 million, King of Prussia, PA-based FAO Inc., sold assets including the 78,000-sf flagship here, the Las Vegas store, its signature clock towers and other FAO fixtures, as well as its Internet and catalog businesses to VGACS Acquisition Inc., a subsidiary of DE Shaw Laminar Portfolios LLC.

The Manhattan store, which was redesigned in collaboration with the Rockwell Group, features a Grand Hall with more than 20,000 computer-controlled colored lights, a giant dance-on piano keyboard and an ice cream parlor. Store amenities include a personal shopping service, concierge and complimentary gift wrap. FAO Schwarz also recently launched a new website and a new catalog debuted in September.

“We are building on the store’s 142-year legacy, preserving the tradition of exceptional quality and service that has always defined FAO Schwarz while enhancing the store experience for a new generation,” says Jerry Welch, FAO Schwarz’s chief executive officer. “At the same time, our new Web site and the FAO Schwarz catalogue give us additional channels to reach customers across the globe.” FAO Schwarz was founded by Frederick August Otto Schwarz, who opened his first store in Baltimore in 1862 and relocated to Lower Manhattan in 1870.

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