American Girl has signed a multi-year partnership with Toys “R” Us that will make the New Jersey-based retailer the first-ever US chain to feature the Mattel subsidiary’s shop-in-shops. Toys “R” Us will also become the exclusive carrier of American Girl’s popular Truly Me dolls, outfits and accessories.
The deal, which marks the first time American Girl has distributed such a broad assortment of its doll products outside of its own retail channels, follows the launch of American Girl’s newest doll and content line, WellieWishers (pictured), for girls ages five to seven.
The WellieWishers product line will begin to hit shelves at TRU stores throughout the US on September 4. In late October, TRU will debut American Girl shop-in-shops in 97 locations across the country. Each shop-in-shop will feature an exclusive selection of the Truly Me line of 18-inch dolls, doll outfits and accessories, as well as WellieWishers products. Additional shop-in-shops will open in 2017.
The expansion adds to American Girl‘s 20 proprietary stores in the US and its online store and will increase consumer access. American Girl saw a 19% decline in gross sales to US$68.1 million in Q2, while parentco Mattel is continuing to feel the effects of losing the Disney Princess doll license, which was valued at more than US$450 million in annual sales.
American Girl also recently forged a deal with Amazon that will see the production of a live-action special, Melody, 1963: Love Has to Win, an American Girl Story, based on its newest BeForever character, and a Melody online shop on Amazon.com.