The Right Start Completes Purchase of FAO Schwarz

Calabasas, California, UNITED STATES


CALABASAS, Calif., Jan. 8, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- The Right Start, Inc. (Nasdaq:RTST) today announced that it had completed its previously announced purchase of certain assets of FAO Schwarz including its flagship Fifth Avenue Store, 22 other stores around the country, internet and catalog operations and rights to the FAO Schwarz name. As part of the transaction, The Right Start agreed to issue its preferred stock convertible into 5 million shares of its common stock and an $18 million four-year note, and to assume certain liabilities.

Jerry R. Welch, Chief Executive Officer of The Right Start, said, "For 140 years, FAO Schwarz has brought fun and joy to generations of kids and their parents. It is one of the best known brands in retailing, an American icon and a New York institution."

"By bringing together FAO with The Right Start and Zany Brainy, we have established a real specialty retailing powerhouse," continued Mr. Welch. "All three companies attract a similar upscale customer base, excel at providing quality customer service and lead their respective industry niches in innovation."

In addition to the acquisition, the Company announced that it was changing its corporate name from The Right Start, Inc. to FAO, Inc. Under the FAO, Inc. corporate name, the Company will continue to operate stores in separate operating divisions under the trade names of The Right Start, Zany Brainy and FAO Schwarz.

Further, in a separate announcement, the company stated that Mr. Fred Kayne has been appointed Chairman of the Board. Mr. Kayne, 62, is the Chairman of Big Dog Holdings, Inc. and the Chief Executive Officer of Fortune Fashions Industries LLC. He is a major shareholder of the Company and has been a member of the Company's Board of Directors since 1995. Jerry R. Welch, who has also held the title of Chairman of the Board, will continue in his capacity as President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Welch states, "Fred and I have worked closely in the strategic development of The Right Start and this change just formalizes the working relationship that we have enjoyed over the past several years."

About Right Start

The Right Start, Inc. is a leading national specialty retailer of high-quality developmental, educational and care products, toys, games, books and multimedia products for infants and children through age 12. The Right Start brand originated in 1985 through the creation of the award-winning Right Start Catalog(tm). The Right Start now operates over 260 retail stores nationwide with offices in New York, New York, Calabasas, California and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements with respect to the anticipated benefits of combining the companies' brands and retail store base that may be impacted by factors including, but not limited to, the need for shareholder approval of the conversion of the preferred shares issued, competition from other retailers and potential product liability claims, potential operational or integration challenges, changes in consumer spending, dependence on independent manufacturers and suppliers and their credit terms and other risks included in The Right Start's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including its Form 8-K filed September 20, 2001.



        

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