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Pop Rocks Retail

From Kiss to the Beatles, rock-themed T-shirts and other merchandise are hot properties.

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From Kiss to the Beatles, rock-themed T-shirts and other merchandise related to pop music are hot properties at traditional stores, vintage boutiques and online shops despite the tough economy.

The players range from the Kiss Korners at Wal-Mart stores rolled out nationwide on Oct. 6 to Restoration Hardware’s new limited edition Beatles merchandise, including five album Ts portraying front covers of “Rubber Soul,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Hey Jude,” “Abbey Road” and “Let It Be.” (Customers who ordered the $59, pigment-dyed, cotton jersey, Resto Ts at the home retailer’s Web site started receiving deliveries Oct. 19. Beatles editions of Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly will follow in November.) At Wal-Mart’s Kiss Korners, there are Mr. Potato Head Kiss collectibles, Kiss T-shirts, makeup, wigs and the group’s first album in 11 years, “Sonic Boom.”

Sales of rock-themed items have been rising at Wal-Mart, spokesman John Simley said. At Target, spokeswoman Jana O’Leary said, “Music T-shirts are performing very well, often exceeding our sales expectations each week.” Led Zeppelin, Run-DMC and Metallica tops are bestsellers at Target, and shirts with images of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley are staging a comeback.

Music marketing and entertainment firm Bravado introduced Michael Jackson “This Is It” fashion goods this month, such as varsity jackets, hoodies, totes, premium sunglasses and baby clothes for sale at Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Target, among others, said Tom Bennett, Bravado’s chief executive officer. (The “This Is It” movie opens worldwide today.)

Also on tap, in November, are collectibles for about 10 artists, such as Green Day, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Jackson and the Stones. These goods, marketed by Bravado — rereleases of classic albums on red vinyl, paired with complementary album Ts — will be sold exclusively at one retailer in each of several countries, including Hot Topic in the U.S.

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