Sugar Inc, the leading online women’s media company, today announced the launch of its first social online game, called PopSugar’s Retail Therapy. The game debuts with a host of popular brands, including Banana Republic, Barneys New York, Diane von Furstenberg, Gap, Juicy Couture, Topshop, and Tory Burch. PopSugar’s Retail Therapy allows players to merchandise and design their own fashion boutiques and dress their characters in the hottest styles and brands. Retail Therapy is available on Facebook and can be played for free at Retail Therapy.

Beginning with a small and empty boutique, players are challenged to stock their stores with clothing from PopSugar’s Retail Therapy brand partners and design their store layout. The virtual clothes are replicas of real items that players can buy. By carrying the best fashions, players earn virtual money to customize their stores with stylized furnishings or grow their stores into giant department stores. In addition to running their own boutique, players can shop at their friends’ stores or stores hosted by brand-name retailers. Players can also download their personalized characters and outfits to social networking sites in order to share their style with their network of friends.

“Our goal is to constantly add innovative offerings that entertain and delight our large audience of women. We wanted to create an addicting game that would appeal to one of their greatest areas of passion — fashion. PopSugar’s Retail Therapy allows women to mix and match dream outfits from their favorite retailers and feel the experience of running their own high-end fashion boutique,” said Brian Sugar, founder and CEO of Sugar Inc. “What is especially unique about PopSugar’s Retail Therapy is that we have integrated real brands and products into the game environment. All the products featured in the game are available for purchase. Within the game, players can link directly to retailers’ websites if they want to buy the products in real life. This level of brand integration simply does not exist in any other game.”

Sponsors can be involved in the game in a number of ways. Retailers can host in-game virtual stores or provide clothing from their current fashion lines for players’ characters to wear, order, and stock in their own boutiques. They can also sponsor in-store events, gift clothing to players, and introduce limited-availability items that will be coveted by players of the game.

To start, Banana Republic, Barneys New York, Diane von Furstenberg, Gap, Juicy Couture, Topshop, and Tory Burch have all provided virtual merchandise for the game. Diane von Furstenberg and Topshop also have in-game virtual stores that players can shop at.

“One of the most compelling aspects of Retail Therapy is that it gives players the opportunity to actively engage with our brand and clothing in a sophisticated and entertaining virtual environment,” said Heather Kaminetsky, director of Internet marketing at Barneys New York.

To provide its readers with a comprehensive experience across all its properties, PopSugar will integrate aspects of Retail Therapy into its editorial content, which includes 16 sites focused on three primary channels: Celebrity and Culture; Fashion, Beauty, and Shopping; and Home and Family. For example, PopSugar will give fashion trend alerts based on celebrity photos, FabSugar editors will host a Retail Therapy “look of the week” contest for players’ characters with the best outfit and write posts about the newest clothing and accessories in the game, GeekSugar will provide weekly game tips, and CasaSugar will have “get the look” posts inspired by new in-game furniture assets.