Last updated: 03:00 PM ET, Tue June 09 2015

Hello Kitty Retail Stores Coming to Universal Parks & Resorts

Hotel & Resort | Patrick Clarke | June 09, 2015

Hello Kitty Retail Stores Coming to Universal Parks & Resorts

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

It's been nearly four decades since beloved pop culture icon Hello Kitty made her U.S. debut. But finally, she's coming to North American theme parks. 

The fictional Japanese bobtail cat will make her retail debut at Universal Orlando in 2015.

Universal Parks & Resorts has announced plans to team up with Hello Kitty creator Sanrio to develop retail shops at Florida's Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood in California.

The interactive store concept will be unveiled at Universal Orlando Resort later this year, while plans for similar shops at Universal Studios Hollywood are expected to come to fruition sometime in the future. A date for either opening has not been announced. 

The stores will sell merchandise including home goods, apparel, accessories and collectibles. 

While a majority of the products will be dedicated to Hello Kitty, the stores will also contain items related to other popular Sanrio-developed characters, including Chocolat, My Melody and Badtz-Maru. 

"Our partnership with Universal brings Sanrio's experiential entertainment presence to a new level," said Sanrio president and COO Janet Hsu in a statement. "We look forward to this introduction into Universal theme parks to offer new connection points to Sanrio fans of all ages."

Expectations for the brand's partnership with Universal Parks & Resorts are likely to be high in the wake of recently successful Hello Kitty projects including a fan convention and a record-breaking exhibition at Los Angeles' Japanese American National Museum.

Currently, a live entertainment show known as Hello Kitty's Supercute Friendship Festival is touring select North American cities and is likely to help generate buzz for the coming attractions at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood. 

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