May 19, 2020

Toy seller F.A.O. Schwarz reopens under private equity-backed company ThreeSixty

brand
Retail
FAO Schwarz
ThreeSixty
hotmaillogin
2 min
Toy seller F.A.O. Schwarz reopens under private equity-backed company ThreeSixty

In time for worldwide retail event Black Friday, FAO Schwarz has reopened its doors under the management of private equity-backed company ThreeSixty. Headquartered in California, the ThreeSixty Group is a leading cross-category designer, manufacturer and distributor of consumer products to major retailers in the U.S. representing over 70,000 retail stores.

Originally founded in 1862, luxury toy vendor FAO Schwarz “was unable to adapt to e-commerce, and its parent company until 2016, Toys “R” Us, had its own serious troubles.” The company closed its doors in 2015, Forbes reports.

Since acquiring the FAO Schwarz brand in 2016, ThreeSixty has drastically revamped the business model. According to the New York Times, ThreeSixty “wants to avoid the problems that befell its previous owners. The large network of stores. The vast supply of toys that can be hot one moment and cold the next.”

As a result, “FAO’s new owners are creating thousands of ‘stores within stores’ at other large retailers as well as small stores in airport terminals and other locales across the United States and in China.” The New York Times reports that the new locations will be heavily stocked (40%) with FAO-branded merchandise, including luxury stuffed animals and toys by brands like Melissa & Doug.

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The majority of toys are sourced through ThreeSixty’s operations in China “that can produce the branded toys at lower costs, which will bring higher margins in its stores and online”, according to the New York Times.

FOA’s New York location overlooks Rockefeller Plaza and  “is meant to serve as a blueprint for how stores should operate”.

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Jun 14, 2021

Giving efficiency the full throttle at NASCAR

CDW
NASCAR
3 min
CDW is a leading provider of information technology solutions, optimized business workflow and data capture systems for the auto racing company.

The NASCAR organization has long been synonymous with speed, agility and innovation. And so by extension, partnerships at NASCAR hold a similar reputation. One such partner for the organization has been CDW – a leading multi-brand provider of information technology solutions to businesses, government, education and healthcare customers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. CDW provides a broad array of products and services ranging from hardware and software to integrated IT solutions such as security cloud hybrid infrastructure and digital experience. Customer need is the driving force at CDW, and the company helps clients by delivering integrated services solutions that maximize their technology investment. So how does CDW help their customers achieve their business goals? Troy Okerberg, Field Sales Manager - North Florida at CDW adds “We strive to provide our customers with full stack expertise, helping them design, orchestrate and manage technologies that drive their business outcomes.” 

NASCAR acquired International Speedway Corporation (ISC) in 2019, merging its operations into one, new company moving forward. The merger represents an important step forward for NASCAR as the sport creates a unified vision to embrace its long history of exciting, family-oriented racing experiences while developing strategic growth initiatives that will drive the passion of core fans and attract the next generation of race fans. CDW has been instrumental in bringing the two technology environments together to enable collaboration and efficiency as one organization. Starting with a comprehensive analysis of all of NASCAR’s vendors, CDW created a uniform data platform for the data center environment across the NASCAR-ISC organization. The IT partner has also successfully merged the two native infrastructure systems together, while analyzing, consulting and providing an opportunity to merge Microsoft software licenses as well. 

2020 turned into a tactical year for both organizations with the onset of the pandemic and CDW has had to react quickly to the changing scenario. Most of the initial change included building efficiencies around logistics, like equipment needing to be delivered into the hands of end users who switched to a virtual working environment almost overnight. CDW’s distribution team worked tirelessly to ensure that all customers could still access the products that they were purchasing and needed for their organizations throughout the COVID timeframe. Okerberg adds that today, CDW continues to optimize their offering by hyper-localizing resources as well as providing need-based support based on the size and complexity of their accounts. Although CDW still operates remotely, the company commits to adapting to the changing needs of their clients, NASCAR in particular. Apart from the challenges that COVID-19 brought to the organization, another task that CDW had been handed was to identify gaps and duplicates in vendor agreements that the two former single-entity organizations had in place and align them based on services offered. CDW further helps identify and provide the best solution from a consolidation standpoint of both hardware and software clients so that the new merged organization is equipped with the best of what the industry has to offer. 

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