FAO Schwarz opens inside Macy’s stores in Mass.

Julie Onufrak

FAO Schwarz has returned to Massachusetts by opening toy stores inside 11 Macy’s department stores in the state in recent months, including one at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, according to the toy retailer.

Three of the 11 stores – located at Boston’s Downtown Crossing, the Natick Collection, and the Northshore Mall in Peabody – are 1,000 square feet each, while the rest are 300 square feet each. They all follow the “store within a store” concept. Some of the FAO Schwarz stores will be staffed by FAO Schwarz employees, and others will be staffed by Macy’s workers.

All of the smaller stores opened last week, while the three larger ones opened in the past two months, according to FAO Schwarz spokeswoman Candice Lail. She said that the company expects to hire more than 250 new employees to staff the stores nationwide.

New York-based FAO Schwarz announced in May that it would open toy stores in as many as 275 Macy’s stores this fall, and in a total of about 685 stores over the next two years. Under the agreement between the two companies, FAO Schwarz has named Macy’s the exclusive U.S. retail store host of its toy departments, and FAO Schwarz will be the exclusive toy department in Macy’s stores.

The other stores in Massachusetts are located at the Auburn Mall, Burlington Mall, Holyoke Mall at Ingleside, Solomon Pond Mall in Marlboro, Emerald Square Mall in North Attleboro, Square One Mall in Saugus and Swansea Mall.

FAO Schwarz closed nearly all of its standalone stores, including one in Boston’s Back Bay, several years ago. The chain’s only remaining standalone stores are in New York and Las Vegas.

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