Mattel-owned American girl on Saturday unveiled a new 40,000-square-foot New York City flagship at 75 Rockefeller Plaza, according to a press release.
The space features interactive experiences like party options in the café, a content hub showing the company's videos and a Girl-and-Doll Salon, where girls can book appointments with their dolls for hairstyling, ear piercing and manicures.
The new store also features a design studio, where customers can customize their dolls and outfits, and select girl-sized products for themselves.
Flagship American Girl stores in cities like Chicago and New York City are more than merchandise on shelves — they include cafes (reservations advised, dolls invited), a hospital (for doll repair) and other experiences designed to charm doll owners (and extract yet more money from parents and grandparents).
The flagship redesign aims to capitalize on the brand’s success in those stores. "Fourteen years ago, New Yorkers welcomed American Girl with open arms. Today, and 17 million visitors later, we're thrilled to greet a new generation of American Girl fans at our beautiful new flagship location at Rockefeller Plaza — one of the city's most iconic destinations," Katy Dickson, president of American Girl, said in a statement.
The focus on girls is overarching at this new store, but the company this year has made strides to broaden its offerings to engage boys as well. Earlier this year, American Doll launched its first boy doll, Logan. While the brand was willing to acknowledge some demand from boys for their dolls, in February it kept the focus squarely tilted toward girls and girl empowerment, suggesting that its marketing may lag behind its merchandising when it comes to breaking down gender lines.
American Girl, amid surging toy sales that are nevertheless slipping at parent company Mattel, moved into other retail ventures at the holidays for the first time last year with Kohl’s and Toys R Us. The move is quite a departure from its experiential flagship shops and its focus otherwise on catalog and online sales. Kohl’s is again selling American Girl dolls and accessories this year, as is Toys R Us despite its recent bankruptcy filing.