American Girl Place New York – New Location and Modern Revamp!

American Girl is going to move and revamp their store in New York. It will be moved to the Rockefeller Center and they will redesign the entire store, making it more modern.

“American Girl is considered a pioneer of experiential retail thanks to its iconic stores that were among the first to combine shopping with eating, playing, and all sorts of other -ings. Now, nearly two decades after it opened its first location, the brand is developing the “store of the future.”

In fall 2017, American Girl’s New York flagship will move from Fifth Avenue to Rockefeller Center and debut a totally revamped store concept.

The New York flagship opened in Midtown in 2003, five years after the Mattel brand’s first store opened in Chicago; very little has changed since 1998. “Our lease is coming due and this is a wonderful time for us to reinvent the American Girl retail experience,” Wade Opland, American Girl’s senior vice president of global retail, explains of the move. “We’re taking this opportunity to go to a new location and design new customer experiences.”

A rendering of the AG Signature Studio, where shoppers can customize clothes and accessories for their dolls and themselves.
A rendering of the AG Signature Studio, where shoppers can customize clothes and accessories. 

The focus of these experiences will be “customization and personalization,” from the AG Signature Studio where you can design clothes and accessories for both your doll and yourself, to private rooms for “over-the-top personalized parties,” to a salon that will offer services to girls, not just their dolls, for the first time.

A media studio is also being introduced, and will be particularly of the moment. Opland says there are plans to hold stop-motion workshops (American Girl Stop-Motion, or AGSM, is hugely popular on YouTube), as well as cooking and yoga classes “for health and wellness” (while the wellness industry has exploded in recent years, American Girl’s The Care and Keeping of You, which came out in 1998, may well be a proto-wellness text).

And, of course, no self-described forward-looking store would be complete without touchscreen kiosks that will help you navigate the space, book salon appointments and cafe reservations, and sync up with a special American Girl app.

One of the American Girl store's two main entrances.
One of the planned Rockefeller Center store’s two main entrances. 

Though the brand has long been prescient about making shopping experiential, it’s even more important in 2016. “As we look at girls today and millennial moms,” says Opland, “they’re seeking brands that deliver positive, meaningful experiences, not just products.” As he puts it, they’re asking themselves, “How does it tie back to me?”

This announcement comes at a time when American Girl is seeking to regain its footing. Last year sales fell 7 percent, with a 14 percent dip in the fourth quarter. In the first quarter of 2016, sales were down 11 percent.

The new location at 75 Rockefeller Plaza will be roughly the same size as the Fifth Avenue location at 40,000 square feet, though it will be laid out on two floors instead of three, with high ceilings and a more modern aesthetic conceived by architecture firm FRCH Design Worldwide and digital agency MJD Interactive. “This store will be the reinvention,” Opland emphasizes. “It really is our store of the future, and from this one, we will evolve our other stores over time.”

The historical dolls of the BeForever line on display in the rendering of the new flagship .
The historical dolls of the BeForever line on display in the rendering of the new flagship. 

Put another way, American Girl views the new flagship as an incubator where it can test ideas and then roll them out to the brand’s 19 other locations across the country, as well as shop-in-shops in Canada and Mexico: “We are going to take elements of what we’re building here, learn on them, make sure they’re wildly successful with girls, and then take pieces to other stores as we continue to evolve our retail portfolio to make sure we’re relevant in all the other cities.”

The new store fits in with a bigger brand refresh customers will notice in the coming year. ‘We’re evolving as a total brand,’ says Opland, ‘and this will be one expression of that.'”

LINK to article.

I am extremely surprised. I never would have thought this was coming. A new, bigger, modern design? Cooking and yoga classes? I am kind of in shock.

The 3rd picture in the article looks more like a grocery store, but I love the entrance and the signature studio. I am a little skeptical, but I can not wait to see the in-store reports from the NY place.

I am also very confused that they are doing this because (1) they just let off dozens of personal shoppers, (2) they have closed their outlet store in Oshkosh, and (3) have released barely any new products recently. I thought they were doing poorly. I do not really see the sense in starting these new ideas in their biggest store. It will cost way more money then trying it out at a smaller store.

I really hope this works for AG and their business picks up. It’s hard to imagine my life without American Girl.

What do you guys think? Do you love the new design? Share your thoughts in the comments. :)

– American Girl Doll Artist


19 comments on “American Girl Place New York – New Location and Modern Revamp!

  1. I really don’t like this. I think slowly American Girl is trying to go too much over the top and soon the dolls will only be half of American Girl’s brand. Maybe some day American Girl won’t even be considered a doll store, just a girl’s store. I like the way the stores are right now. Also their quality has been slowly declining. And they are going to be Wellie Wisher dolls?! I wish they would stop changing everything. Slow down, AG!

  2. Whoa, that looks really cool! I can’t wait to see how it turns out! I do wish I could see the old store in person before they move it, though. :(

    They’ve actually already done a yoga class at the D.C. store, and I think they do (or did) cooking classes at some point fairly recently too.

  3. Um… I really don’t care for it. I’m glad American Girl is getting a more “modern” look, but it’s a little too modern for me. The colors are kinda dark, and I’m really going to miss all of the pink. I don’t mean this in any rude or offensive way, but I’m beginning to think that AG is changing so much that the products and stores will soon be made just for teens. :( I agree with AGLane, I thought the stores were cute they way there are now.

  4. Hmmmmmm…. AG what are you doing? All we want is new historical things, please!!! The only thing I saw that would be cool is the photobooth in the historical section. Otherwise, meh

  5. A lot of people are saying that AG is going too fast. I agree, but not entirely. This design isn’t a very usual concept for a toy company. But AG, while it encourages girls, it also wants to make money. Imagine yourself as a young girl: Wouldn’t you be enthralled by a store that has dolls, food, a salon, and lots of digital interaction? So would millennial moms, I’m assuming. I think dolls will always be AG’s core, but they have to move outward too. They need to brand themselves as a girls company, instead of just toys. I think we should all accept the change.
    That being said, I think AG should keep dolls the heart of the company. I don’t want to lose them either, they really are an amazing part of my life. Sorry for the long comment!

  6. Hmmmm, does anyone else think that this is starting to look a bit too much like Barbie? I thought that AG dolls were supposed to be aimed at more imaginative play, through stories and historical moments, not fashion design, and getting your hair and nails done. *wrinkles up nose*

    ginnie /

  7. I think that the customization of clothes for dolls is a lot of fun, having recently tried out doing that in the Chicago store, and so I would like an expansion of that. I am concerned about the quality of AG dolls slightly deteriorating – for example the wigs’ receding hairline as the wigs seem to get slightly smaller. Also the addition of new historical clothes and the general quality of some of the clothes is not as good as it used to be. I love AG but I do hope they concentrate on keeping up the quality and the naturalness of the dolls. The other thing is that the store assistants, who are always very helpful, nevertheless have been trained to say that wobbly legs on new dolls are the norm and even what customers want.

  8. Wow! That was unexpected! It looks like fun, though. I agree that they should have tried the new design out in a smaller store. I can’t wait to see what happens, and I hope they don’t run out of business!
    <3 , IrishAG

  9. It looks like the new location will look pretty cool! I’ll have to pay a visit when the new location opens next year! Me and my little sister are making plans for a girls’ day out for our birthdays next year and we just might make it a trip to AG since it’s close by.

  10. By the way did you notice that the AG website has 2 PWP this month? It’s the old My AG Purple Peacock Pajamas and a Summer Hoodie Set! The hoodie set is pretty cute but it doesn’t come with shoes. :( It does come with a pretty bracelet though.

  11. Disappointed that the Orlando store is just a small room at a mall and is not in the tourist area. This should be the place to really embrace the theme park concept.