Not all marketing moves are bringing the profit and development companies expect. Sometimes the company strategy could appear too outrageous for the new target. In March 2009 one of the world’s largest toy producers – Mattel Inc. (MAT) – opened the world’s first Barbie flagship store in Shanghai, China. The opening was dedicated to 50 years anniversary of the world’s most-loved doll. The store, designed by New York’s agency Slide Architecture, consisted of 6 levels covering 3,500 square meters (37,700 square foot) with the world’s largest collection of Barbie dolls and connected products, along with other services and activities such as women’s and girls’ floor (couture, cosmetics and accessorize, runway), Barbie design floor (where you could design your doll according to your taste) and Barbie café on the top floor. Barbie is the main hero in the store in every detail – especially in the main three-story spiral staircase enclosed by 800 Barbie dolls. Mattel wanted the fashionable link between Barbie’s past, present and future and Slide Architects led the fun feminine theme through all exterior, interior, fixtures, and furnishings of the store.
The façade reflected the motives from original Barbie packaging; it was made of two layers – molded, translucent polycarbonate interior panels and flat exterior glass panels printed with a whimsical lattice frit pattern, which were dynamically intensifying each other through reflection, shadows and distortion.
Despite the expectations of booming success in the new region, the outlet’s target sales went down by at least 30 percent since the opening. As a result – the Barbie house was closed in March 2011 after two years of survival trials. Mattel tried to put together too many things which made the Barbie image more sexy than cute. Even though China is one of the countries who produce the world-famous doll, it appeared that it’s pretty unknown in the region to attract a steady number of interested customers. After closing their brand store on the Huaihai Road in central Shanghai, Mattel announced the shutting down of nine brand-stores in China concentrating on the more profitable retail sales through malls and department stores.