RETAILING: A Toy Shop Goes Dutch

A Toy Shop Goes Dutch

Conspicuous consumption, that signature vice of the 1980s, was rarely more evident than at the 17 toy stores of Manhattan-based F.A.O. Schwarz, where toddlers of the rich and famous could acquire an 8-ft. stuffed giraffe ($4,500) or a child-size Jaguar sedan ($6,000). Now the 128-year-old retailer has joined still another trend: foreign ownership. A Dutch department-store conglomerate, Koninklijke Bijenkorf Beheer (KBB), has agreed to buy the toy retailer from the Morse-Harris Group, owners since 1985. Estimated price: $40 million. Once America's top toy merchant, Schwarz was - losing customers by the early 1980s to competitors like Toys "R" Us. But Morse-Harris...