Despite getting a ton of press when it first opened back in March, it looks like the Barbie Megastore on Huai Hai Road just hasn’t been as popular as Mattel had hoped. The six-floor retailing monolith has been unable to make any of its “astronomical” sales targets.
According to Bloomberg, the store replaced its general manager, Laura Lai, with Mattel “retail specialist” Dann Murphy earlier this month, before revising its sales targets for the third time in its short life span. Overall, the sales target has dropped between 65% to 70% of original expectations.
“Every retail store operates at a loss when it opens, but they’ve been open long enough that it should be working by now,” said Paul French, founder of Shanghai-based market research company Access Asia. “They overestimated their brand recognition in China. I just think the concept is wrong.”
“The restaurant hasn’t carved out its own separate identity,” said Murphy in a Nov. 16 interview in Shanghai. “Sometimes customers don’t even know the restaurant is there. So they get to the sixth floor and are like, ‘Where am I?’”
Speaking of the restaurant, we reviewed it a few months after it opened and found it to be generally satisfactory American fare.
Having not been fans of the color pink or Ms. Barbara growing up (we spent most of our time begging for LEGOS), we don’t really know what to say about how the Barbie megastore can up its appeal in a country of dark haired, dark eyed younglings. Heck, and based on that twisting gut feeling we got when our little sister first wistfully told us how she would love to have been born a blond, we don’t really even know if we want it to.