Pokémon Center online store opening Aug. 6 in US, soft launch today

The Pokémon Co. International will launch a web-based Pokémon Center store for U.S. customers Aug. 6, according to a note the company sent to Polygon recently.

Pokémon Centers serve an important purpose in the Pokémon universe — they're the places where players can heal, manage and trade their Pokémon — but they also exist in real life as retail establishments that sell Pokémon merchandise. The Pokémon Co. opened the first such store in Tokyo in April 1998, and approximately 10 Pokémon Center stores currently exist in the U.S. and Japan.

With the launch of the online store, U.S. Pokémon fans won't have to visit one of those brick-and-mortar establishments to buy official Pokémon gear. The online Pokémon Center is set to go live in a soft launch later today at PokemonCenter.com prior to the full launch on Aug. 6. According to a sample of merchandise sent to Polygon (photo above), the site will be selling items such as Pikachu-branded mugs, spiral notebooks and iPhone cases, and a Special Delivery Pikachu plush.

Update: The original Pokémon Center in Tokyo was closed but reopened in a new location, and two stores exist in the city today. We've edited the article to clarify this.

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