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Barbie hot pink universe; Global retailers cash in on 'plastic doll' craze

With many consumers spending less amid a cost of living squeeze, retailers are jumping at the opportunity to persuade shoppers to buy more expensive items and boost their revenues

barbie, Barbie movie poster

Photo: barbie-themovie.com

Bloomberg

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Shoppers are snapping up Barbie hoop earrings, perfume, jumpsuits, and dresses as retailers seek to cash in on Friday’s Barbie film release, reigniting the craze for the plastic doll and her hot pink, sequin-adorned universe.
 
With many consumers spending less amid a cost of living squeeze, retailers are jumping at the opportunity to persuade shoppers to buy more expensive items and boost their revenues.
 
The vast range of products and brand tie-ups, many aimed at adults, are a bet on the nostalgia trip that Barbie represents for many who played with the doll as children. Mattel, which owns the brand, aims for the film to renew the doll’s nostalgic appeal, while also embedding Barbie into the psyche of a new generation.
 
“I don’t think we’ve ever seen this many brand partnerships coming out of one film,” said Jo Ashdown, managing partner at Mando-Connect, a brand partnership agency that is part of WPP.
 
Zara’s Barbie collection launched on Monday does feature 17 children’s garments and accessories, including a hot-pink one-piece swimsuit, a backpack, and sneakers, but the offering for women is much broader, with 85 items. Apparel and footwear brands from H&M to Primark, Gap, Superga and Crocs, have launched Barbie collections.
 
A Zara Barbie eau de parfum, hoop earrings, and pink cropped hoodie were all out of stock by Wednesday on the brand’s UK site. Pair of Barbie Crocs, priced at $59.99 - $10 more than normal Crocs - was sold out on the Crocs website. Luggage brand Beis had a waiting list for all three sizes of suitcases in a Barbie pink, priced at a premium to its usual colour range.
 
Walmart pitched Barbie dolls in varying skin tones and hairstyles at $45 to collectors. The craze stretches beyond retailers with Hyatt Hotels and Hilton offering Barbie-themed hotel suites in cities including Bogota, Colombia and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Hollywood strike dims hope of Barbenheimer boost for stocks

As buzz prevails around Barbie and Oppenheimer, some on Wall Street are doubting whether the films will be enough to power gains in movie-theater stocks as a strike by Hollywood writers clouds the outlook for the industry. JPMorgan downgraded its suggestion on Cinemark Holdings this week.

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First Published: Jul 21 2023 | 10:54 PM IST

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