Marks & Spencer is to open FAO Schwarz areas in-store and sell a range online in time for Christmas in its latest partnership with an external brand.

Marks & Spencer Westfield store

Marks & Spencer is to sell toys from FAO Schwarz online and in selected stores

Marks & Spencer has begun selling 50 bestselling products from the US toy retail legend on its website, and the range will make its debut in mini shop-in-shops in 20 stores, including Bluewater, London’s White City, Glasgow’s Argyle Street and Cardiff later this week, Retail Week can reveal.

The tie-up is part of the Brands at M&S programme, through which the retailer has added lines form complementary brands such as Fat Face and White Stuff. Brands at M&S, spearheaded by the MS2 digital division, is designed to prompt customers to shop with M&S more often.

This will be the first time that FAO Schwarz has had a presence on the UK high street. The FAO shops will be located next to M&S gift shops in M&S Kids product areas. The retailer said that it would take ’an experiential approach’ by, for instance, having magicians perform. 

Special gifts at a special time of year

As Christmas nears, about 30% of M&S customers plan to purchase toys, and similar partnerships have already worked well for M&S. It said that 64% of orders for Early Learning Centre product - launched in 2020 - include at least one product from another M&S department.

M&S director of brands Neil Harrison said: “Our brands strategy is all about giving customers even more reasons to shop with M&S – and that includes being more relevant, more often throughout the important festive season. 

“At Christmas we want M&S to be the place customers turn to for great value stylish clothing, quality food and importantly special and different gifting. A leading toy brand such as FAO Schwarz supports that mission, bringing a little extra magic to the M&S offer.”

FAO Schwarz UK distributor Redlands chief executive Mark Handley said: “We are delighted to be partnering with M&S this festive season, and excited to see the iconic FAO Schwarz toy brand come to life in their stores.”