NEW YORK, United States — Under Armour Inc. plans to build “the single greatest retail store in the world” on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, in space formerly occupied by toy store FAO Schwarz, the sportswear maker’s chief executive officer said.
“We know that’s a big statement with big company, but I think that that’s the opportunity we have,” chief executive officer Kevin Plank said on an earnings conference call Tuesday. “I think it’ll really position the brand again in the iconic place where we believe we belong.”
Under Armour, which is jostling with Nike Inc. for market dominance, has been looking for a high-profile retail location in midtown Manhattan to raise its brand identity. Taking space along the world’s priciest retail corridor, in Boston Properties Inc.’s General Motors Building at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street, will give Under Armour one of the highest profiles possible.
Plank said Under Armour will take about 53,000 square feet (4,900 square meters) in the former FAO Schwarz store, which parent company Toys “R” Us Inc. abandoned last year, citing rising rents. The closing left the 154-year-old brand, whose Fifth Avenue store was famous for the giant toy piano that Tom Hanks danced on in the 1988 film “Big,” without a retail outlet.
Boston Properties will turn the space over to Under Armour in 2018, after a temporary tenant leaves, the landlord said in an e-mail. About 17,000 square feet of the former FAO Schwarz space remains available for lease.
The new Under Armour store will open no later than mid-2019, Plank said. He did not say how long the lease would run. It will be Under Armour’s second company-run store in Manhattan, after a location on Broadway in Soho.
By David M. Levitt and Matt Townsend; editors Nick Turner and Daniel Taub.