What a doll! Barbie, ageless at 50, celebrates with megamall store

  • Updated: September 23, 2009 - 1:19 AM

The New Bathing Suit Barbie Doll

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Barbie, the iconic doll who turned 50 this year with nary a wrinkle of evidence, is setting up shop at the Mall of America in a temporary store that will be open from October through March.

Besides clothes, playsets and dolls, the Barbie Shop will include an exhibit of more than 60 Barbies through the years.

The store will be on the opposite side of the Bloomington mall from the American Girl store that opened last year. The move is less a competitive swipe at that successful dollmaker than an act of sisterly love: Toy maker Mattel Inc. owns both companies.

Mattel spokeswoman Michelle Chidoni is not worried about Barbie stealing sales from American Girl, noting "Barbie is the ultimate fashion doll. Her DNA is in fashion."

Mattel seems intent on reinventing Barbie for yet another generation of young girls. She has 130,000 friends on Facebook, 5,000 Twitter followers and a new dance -- "The Barbie" -- coming out on video.

Barbie, found in every toy and discount store around the country, doesn't normally sell her wares in her own branded stores. A flagship store opened in Shanghai in March, but this will be the only store in the United States (although Mattel has done temporary pop-up stores within other stores).

If sales are strong, might it become permanent? "That's always a possibility," said Chidoni.

KAREN LUNDEGAARD

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