The official Pokemon Center website which serves the United States announced this week that it would be closing permanently on January 31st 2008. There was only one actual Pokemon Center in the USA and it was located at Rockefeller Center in New York City. This store closed down in February 2005 and was replaced by the Nintendo World store. The Nintendo World Store opened in the same location and continues to sell Pokemon merchandise.
The closing of the Official Pokemon Center Online store was a huge surprise for many American Pokemon fans as it was one of the only places to get official merchandise. To many Pokemon fans outside of the USA, the closing isn't much of a surprise considering the site would only ship to American customers. Many people have speculated that the policy of shipping only to the USA was it's downfall.
Pokemon USA has announced that they will now focus on selling Pokemon merchandise through 'major retailers'. Target, WalMart, and Toysrus are currently selling Pokemon merchandise, but it is unknown if they will expand their selection.
Below is an excerpt from the Pokemon Center FAQ:
Q: Why is PokemonCenter.com closing?
A: PokemonUSA, Inc. has decided to sell Pokemon merchandise exclusively through its retail partners.
Q: Where can I purchase Pokemon merchandise?
A: Pokemon merchandise can still be purchased online or at stores of major retailers.
Q: How much longer can I place orders?
A: Orders can be placed through January 31st, 2008 at 11:59PM EST. They will be shipped and processed following our standard shipping policies. If any item ordered is unavailable we will cancel that item from your order and credit your card.
Q: Can I still return an item that I purchased?
A: Product that meets our usual return standards can be returned if postmarked by February 21st, 2008. This includes all orders placed from now through January 31st. Please see our Returns Policy for further information.
Q: What happens to my store credit?
A: In some instances, you may have received a store credit as a courtesy. You may still use any open store credit through January 31st.
Q: What if I have a question regarding my order?
A: Please see Contact Us for details.