- Title: GERMANY: Celebrations start to mark Barbie's 50th birthday
- Date: 5th February 2009
- Summary: CLOSE OF PINK SHOE
- Reuters ID: LVA1ZXET8SEELS7K7W6X661AD9K2
- Location: Germany
- Country: Germany
- Duration: 00:00:05
- Topics: Entertainment,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Story Text: She's been on the shelves of toy shops around the globe for nearly half a century. The most famous plastic doll of all, "Barbie" is turning 50. Since she first went on sale in 1959 the fashion icon, produced by manufacturer Mattel, has stolen the hearts of girls throughout the world with her trendy outfits and good looks.
Fifty years on, new Barbies are still being developed with many on display on Wednesday (February 4) at an International Toy Fair in the German city of Nuremberg.
Barbie executives say the doll has been so successful over the years because it represents every girls' dream.
"Through Barbie, girls can imagine, no matter where in the world they are, they can literally do anything that they imagine. The brand, the toy, the doll, sparks creativity," Richard Dickson, Senior Vice President of Barbie told Reuters TV.
However in reality it's not quite so rosy, with Mattel having less and less reasons to celebrate. For decades the ever-changing doll with her legendary small waist was Mattel's number one mark. But now Barbie has become a slow seller. The doll's popularity is falling and consumers' fears amid the global financial crisis has led to Mattel's profits falling sharply.
Mattel Inc posted a quarterly profit far below Wall Street estimates on Monday (February 2). Sales of Barbie fell 21 percent in the quarter - all of this as celebrations to mark the 50th birthday begin.
But International Mattel's President, Bryan Stockton assures that the company is taking the current economic situation into consideration in its newest creations.
"Barbie has always been mindful of value and creativity so one of the things that we are planning to do with Barbie is to make sure that we have some new fresh ideas that are facing the realities of the economic turmoil and trying times everybody is going through. So I think you'll see Barbie reflects some of the concerns of people and some of the lifestyle changes that people are going through because Barbie has always been a reflection of the culture and the environment," Stockton said.
Barbie will celebrate her official birthday on March 9, while celebrations will be ongoing throughout the year.
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