Barbie’s Shanghai dream house boarded up

Barbie is hitting the road as
Mattel Inc. closes down its Shanghai flagship store dedicated to the iconic
brand after just two years.

The six-story store, complete with
spa, cafe, design studio, fashion stage and shelves and shelves of Barbies and
Barbie products, has closed, the world’s biggest toy maker said in a statement
explaining that it plans to use its experience in Shanghai to reach customers
across China.

“I have gone on a tour of
China!” a cartoon Barbie says on the store’s website, explaining the brand
is on a “Barbie Pink Bus Tour.”

Mattel is not the only foreign
retailer with an extravagant investment in this huge but challenging market to
change strategy.

The closing of Barbie’s citadel of
all things pink on Shanghai’s Huaihai Rd. shopping belt follows the closure
last month of all of electronics retailer Best Buy’s brand name stores in

 Best Buy is instead focusing on expanding outlets
with its locally acquired chain Jiangsu Five Star Appliance Co.

Mattel, based in El Segundo,
California, inaugurated the store on the 50th birthday of the Barbie brand,
bringing together 45 product lines, including trampolines, jewellery and

Though sales of Barbie and other
Mattel dolls have recently shown strong growth back home, the store never took
off as a popular destination for local girls.

Shanghai is a hub for China’s
fashion industry, but local parents are far more likely to splash out on extra
lessons than on expensive toys.