A pop-up store dedicated solely to Pokémon merchandise has opened in West London and it has its own bowler hat-wearing Pikachu merch.
London now has the only official Pokémon Center in Europe, but it won’t be here for long as the doors open at the Westfield shopping centre in Shepard’s Bush.
The store is partly to celebrate the launch of the new Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield games, which are based in the new Galar region – which itself is inspired by the UK. (A previous game was inspired by France, which is the only other time a Pokémon Center has come to Europe.)
As well as selling exclusive items that cannot be had anywhere else there’s also an upstairs area where you can get a demo of the new games. Although they only have set times and you will have to queue.
While you wait though, you’ll find that there are increased appearances of Psyduck, Vaporeon, Jolteon, Flareon, Combee, and other pokémon in Pokémon GO, so don’t forget your phone.
When is the Pokémon Center London store open?
The store opened on Friday, 18 October and will close forever on Friday, 15 November. That’s the day that Pokémon Sword and Shield comes out, so presumably the idea is that at that point everyone will be too busy playing to shop.
The Pokémon Center is located at Westfield London in Shepard’s Bush, whose opening hours are 10am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, and 12pm to 6pm on Sunday. So plenty of time to pop in after work if you want some Pokémon-flavoured merchandise or early Christmas presents.
That’s exactly what we did the evening before it opened, at a special preview event filled mostly with YouTubers and other fans desperate to spend their money. Curiously, there are very few items directly related to Shield and Sword, but there are plush versions of the starter pokémon Sobble, Grookey, and Scorbunny.
Arguably the most appealing merch is that relating to the special Pikachu mascot for the store, who wears a suit and a bowler hat and has a Psyduck umbrella. He’s super cute and the plush version, that goes for £20, is probably the hottest item at the store.
(To ensure full disclosure we did get given one for free, and a box of trading cards, but we also bought one ourselves, for a friend.)
Lots of the other items have London Pikachu on them though, ranging from socks to mugs to a canvas bag. There were a few other things related to Sword and Shield though, including three different hoodies themed on one each out of Sobble, Grookey, and Scorbunny.
The most expensive item though was a giant plush (non-London) Pikachu that one YouTuber bought for a whopping £240, although there didn’t seem to be many of those so it may be sold out by the time you get there.
That’s not a joke either, as apparently the French pop-up store sold out of all its merchandise within five days, and that was at a time when Pokémon fever wasn’t even as pronounced as it is now…
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