Bloomingdale’s is just one of the retailers and brands trying to capitalize on the Barbie craze. It features a pop-up store selling unique Barbie-inspired clothing and accessories, as well as a life-size Barbie box where shoppers can pose.


NEW YORK CITY — In the middle of Manhattan, shoppers can step inside life-size Barbie boxes, pose on bright pink slides and browse earrings, dresses and candles inspired by the iconic plastic doll.

The pop-up store inside the Bloomingdale’s flagship is just one example of the retailer trying to cash in on the buzz ahead of Friday Post “Barbie” Warner Bros.

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Over 100 brands including Bloomingdale’s, Kohl’s, Crocs and gapenter into a license agreement or other agreement with the toy manufacturer Mattel Sell ​​Barbie-themed fashion, beauty, accessories and more. Many of these items cater to adults who want to pass on childhood memories by donning bright pink heels or laying on pool floats that look like they came. Step out of Barbie’s dream house.

Bloomingdale’s offers an exclusive Barbie-inspired collection of women’s clothing and accessories for its own label, Aqua. It also hopes to entice shoppers with Barbie-themed window displays, special events and free hairstyling on Lexington Avenue.

Retailers are hoping to beat the summer doldrums and inflation blues with a splash of bright pink. The fact that Barbie merchandise was brewed months in advance of the movie’s release shows how retailers will have to work harder and get creative to grab shoppers’ attention and convince them to pay full price.companies including parent of bloomingdales Macy’sbig box retailer Target and coach parents tapestry It warned of weakness in U.S. sales of discretionary and big-ticket items as consumers spent more on groceries and services such as dining out and travel.

Plus, millions of Americans have another expense to pay back this fall: Student loan payments are resuming after being suspended for more than three years because of the pandemic.

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Daianara Grullon Amalfitano, Aldo’s chief brand and product officer, says some hot and bright pink can help shoppers get out of a pragmatic, budget-conscious mindset.

“This collaboration with Barbie Aldo is one of those things where maybe the rational mind is thrown into the clouds and you think, ‘Ah, this makes me happy. That’s great. I have to have it,'” she said. explain.

About half of Aldo’s Barbie collection sold out in the first week. The company said it is working to replenish inventory of the limited-edition collection, which includes 19 pieces ranging from cross-body bags to heels.

About half of Aldo’s 317 stores in North America sell the line and its website. Aldo products are also available at select Macy’s stores and on the Macy’s website.

Aldo owns a collection of Barbie shoes and handbags. Some of those items, such as Barbie platform sandals, sold out within 24 hours, the company said.


Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s’ high-end department store, is selling the Barbie Movie x Aqua collection in nine stores and online, with a mix of items from other brands. Frank Berman, the department store’s chief marketing officer, said Barbie merchandise has so far sold “very well” and appeals to customers of all generations.

Berman said the retailer deliberately included items in the Barbie collection at different price points, from $24 pink candles to $8,350 rose gold heart stud earrings.

“We had some stuff that was a bit over the top, but it was curated so that everyone could share in it,” he said.

Many items in the Gap Barbie collection are sold out. These include oblong bright pink adult sunglasses and a pink capitalized T-shirt featuring Ken, both for $39.95.

Some of Gap’s popular Barbie merchandise is sold out, including rectangular pink sunglasses. Its pink denim jacket also does well in its stores and website.


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Brands have capitalized on trends such as a shift to looser denim, a return to dressier, more tailored occasion wear and a growing interest in innovative cosmetics and skincare, said Oliver Chen, a retail analyst at Cowen.

“Every brand likes novelty because novelty creates desire,” Chen said.

Susan Fournier, a professor and dean of marketing at Boston University’s Graduate School of Business, said the Barbie is “another flotation lifejacket” that retailers can grab. The brand has built-in recognition, nostalgia that resonates with generations, and free marketing that comes with the movie.

Unlike other movie-themed merchandise, Barbie is not just a logo that can be plastered on T-shirts and backpacks, but an aesthetic that spans home goods, cosmetics and clothing, and conveys the optimism many shoppers may crave, she said. mood.

“We live in a very chaotic world,” she said. “We’re in a post-COVID world with a lot of baggage. There’s a ton of anxiety. Then you get the Barbie doll, which is all pink. I think the desire for it is very deep.”

Part of the brand’s strength, she said, comes from its complex heritage. Barbie is all about perfection, with her tiny waist, beautiful home, and handsome boyfriend. Yet Barbie was also unmarried and became an astronaut before landing on the moon for the first time.

“There’s something culturally powerful about living in this paradoxical space,” Fournier said.

Inside the Bloomingdale’s pop-up store in New York City, shoppers can find an exclusive collection of Barbie clothing and accessories from private label Aqua. The range is available on the retailer’s website and in nine stores.


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Other retailers have taken a similar tack, with brand identities inspired by pop culture.

tapestryCoach, by Coach, works with beloved brands and celebrities, including Disney and the Peanuts comics. It has a collection of clothing and accessories inspired by the late New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who was known for his edgy and graffiti-inspired designs in the 1980s. The company recently teamed up with actress Kirsten Dunst on a new collection.

Coach chief executive Todd Kahn (Todd Kahn) said the company chooses meaningful partnerships carefully. He said he was excited to see other brands working with Barbie dolls, but Coach decided not to.

“People often use collaboration to achieve rapid growth,” he said. “We’re interested in long-term sustainability. That’s why we’re very picky about them when we partner. We leverage them to help reach new audiences. Then we measure their stickiness afterwards, which is super important.”

For example, Coach’s Basquiat merchandise attracts new, more active customers, about 10 percent more Gen Z and millennial shoppers than its mainline line, and attracts them to pay for some of Coach’s highest price points, he said.

Some brands appear to be popular with Barbies, but it remains to be seen whether those customers will stick around.

Berman, the longtime chief marketing officer at Bloomingdale’s, said when the chain collaborates, traffic to both the store and the website increases. That’s why the company’s flagship store features “The Carousel,” a dedicated pop-up space that also offers online shopping.

The retailer has combined fashion, well-known brands and memorable experiences many times before. It has a popup inspired by the hit Netflix series Bridgerton. Many years ago there was a “Moulin Rouge” themed pop-up with can-can dancers and the movie star Nicole Kidman in attendance.

Aldo’s Amalfitano declined to reveal recent sales figures or a forecast for this year. However, like other retailers, the footwear and accessories brand is feeling the squeeze on discretionary spending, she said.

She expects sales and shopper engagement to continue to improve even as Barbie merchandise sells out.

“This is an urgent issue,” she said.

— CNBC’s Caitlin Freda and Courtney Reagan contributed to this report.


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