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Pokemon Store Opens in Big Apple

16 Nov, 2001 By: John Gaudiosi

Pokemon continues to defy critics that called the Japanese phenomenon that has ruled the world a fad. The first U.S. Pokemon retail store, Pokemon Center, opened in New York’s Rockefeller Center on Friday.

"The 13,000 square-foot destination encompasses two levels on the corner of Rockefeller Center and 48th St. and incorporates art deco design elements that reflect the landmark architecture of the site," explains David Hillenbrand, general manager for Pokemon USA Inc. "It is the only physical space in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to ongoing enjoyment of the world of Pokemon, providing an experience for adults and children of all ages."

There are currently more than 800 licensees for Pokemon products, excluding Asia, producing thousands of individual licensed products. Nintendo’s rode the wave with Pokemon video games, which have dominated the sales charts with more than 85 million sold to date worldwide, including more than 33 million video games sold to date in the U.S.

Pokemon now broadcasts in over 65 countries in 30 different languages, and Kids' WB (Warner Bros.) in the U.S. is entering its fourth season with Pokemon as the No. 1 broadcast children's program. There have also been three Pokemon feature films, distributed in the U.S. by Warner Bros.

The retail store features hourly sound and light shows, animatronic Pokemon characters, video game kiosks with 42-inch plasma TV screens to play the latest Pokemon video games and four distribution stations for customers to swap Game Boy cartridges for new characters.

Store merchandise includes 40% exclusive Pokemon product, including Pikachu guitars, plush toys, and the Pokemon Mini, a compact, handheld, cartridge-based game system that works with a variety of Pokemon games.

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