Computer City is throwing its support behind girls software with the launch of a new store section.
Announced last month, the computer superstore chain has developed Just For Girls as a new home to products aimed at girls age four to 13. All 84 Computer City outlets in the U.S. now feature the section.
‘Computer City is really taking the lead, especially in the computer superstore arena, which is probably the most confusing and noisiest [environment] from a software standpoint,’ says Kiyoshi Hamai, national sales director at software publisher Purple Moon. The Mountain View, California-based company has been talking with retailers since May to present findings in favor of an area for girls software.
‘It became apparent [to us] early on, when we were doing our packaging research, that there was a lot of confusion in the consumer mind because software that was appropriate for girls was still a new thing,’ says Hamai. In fact, Purple Moon just entered the girls software business this year. Products for girls began to attract the attention of retailers and publishers alike late last year when initial titles, such as Mattel Media’s Barbie Fashion Designer, had strong sales.
The time was right for a bold move, says Anne Wise, senior buyer for software at Fort Worth, Texas-based Computer City, because a critical mass of products is available. And a dedicated space is necessary to make parents and girls aware that titles exist.
Just For Girls stocks about 25 products such as Mattel Media’s Barbie titles, The Learning Company’s American Girls line, Purple Moon’s Secret Paths in the Forest and Rockett’s New School, Creative Wonders’ Madeline and Baby-sitters Club series and PrintPaks’ Super Jewelry Kit. Titles are sorted by vendor name and recommended age. Wise says the section will grow to make room for new girls products.
Purple, yellow and pink signage sets the section apart. Computer City is promoting Just For Girls in direct-mail and newspaper flyers. Publishers will also host in-store product demonstrations.
Wise is confident that the investment in the section will boost business in the long run. Although she would not disclose figures, Wise says sales of girls software have already increased. ‘We’re really happy with the initial results.’
Judy MacDonald, co-founder of PrintPaks, believes Computer City will see positive results because parents recognize that their girls have different entertainment needs than their boys and will seek out products once they know where to find them.
Purple Moon is crossing its fingers that other retailers will follow Computer City’s lead in creating permanent girls sections. According to the software publisher, Best Buy, Electronics Boutique, Media Play and Future Shop have committed to making endcap displays for the holiday season.
Purple Moon forecasts that, by year-end, the girls software business could achieve sales of US$60 million.