By Arturo Chang, BNN Bloomberg, December 14, 2018.

Posing with giant stuffed animals and floor pianos, many Canadians have been flocking to FAO Schwarz’s pop-up stores across the country, snapping photos with the iconic U.S. retailer’s signature toys for social media.

But while FAO’s Canadian foray may have made a splash on Instagram, the question remains on whether the company is converting social media likes into sales in a tough toy retail environment still reeling from the U.S. demise of Toys ‘R’ Us earlier this year. 

The company’s decision to enter Canada with small pop-ups may be a way to sound out the country’s market while avoiding the risks associated with larger stores according to Jennifer Marley, partner at marketing consulting firm Sklar Wilton and Associates.

“They’re trying to test the waters [with the pop-ups],” Marley said in a phone interview with BNN Bloomberg. “Building a big-box experiential store is expensive.”

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