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TOTAL LICENSING
By Charles M. Riotto,
President
International Licensing
Industry Merchandisers’
Association (LIMA)
www.licensing.org
For the licensing community, the diffi- perform well out of the gate. seamless manner.
cult economic times offer an opportu- It’s a time when licensing executives One apparel manufacturer acknowl-
nity to innovate, as well as a time for are adopting a variety of strategies to edges that business in many sectors is
taking care of the longtime business tough, but also notes that the online
basics – developing and creating the
Nobody in the licensing
channel has expanded to the point
right product at the right price point, that many electronic retailers have
and selling it at the right place at the
business can feel entirely
become significant outlets for his li-
right time.
comfortable about the censed goods. “Several are now easily
“We can’t control housing and the
retail landscape that
meeting order minimums, where a year
price of gasoline, “says one manufac-
confronts them going
ago that was rarely the case,” he said.
turer of low-price point licensed fan
into the holiday season
“Some have developed into six-figure
merchandise, “but we can control our accounts.”
product development, our shipping, Several licensees talked about the need
our replenishment and our ability to
bring their properties and products to
to remain nimble in a quick-changing
hit all the key dates concerning when
the forefront. A series of discussions at
entertainment and pop-culture mar-
our retail customers need the goods.”
the MAGIC apparel show in Las Vegas
ketplace. “Hot market” opportunities
Nobody in the licensing business can
in August found manufacturers and li-
have become a key growth driver in
feel entirely comfortable about the re-
censors reacting in a range of ways. In
the sports licensing business, whether
tail landscape that confronts them go-
some cases, these tactics amount to a
for championships (which can be pre-
ing into the holiday season. The num-
way of solidifying and perhaps expand-
pared for each year) or, more to the
ber of consolidations, bankruptcies and
ing existing opportunities. In others, it’s
point, when a new record is set, a
shaky financial reports that confronts
more a way of seeking out new distri-
new slogan bubbles up from the grass
licensing professionals highlights the
bution opportunities.
roots, or a player becomes unexpect-
necessity for manufacturers and licen-
Personalization is
edly popular. The same kind of mental-
sors to recognize and deal with spe-
making its way into the
ity needs to be applied to the teen and
cific situations. Names such as Goody’s, tween entertainment markets, where
Mervyn’s, Limited Too and Steve and
kids market more than
actors, music acts and performers of
Barry’s in the US and Woolworth in ever before, giving all types come into and out of favor at
the UK are among many that have
consumers the chance to
speed that’s frightening – particularly
made the headlines with their financial
apply their own
to those who must invest in inventory.
ills and/or consolidation moves.
creativity or just their
It’s also a time for innovation. Person-
The word “partnership” rolls off the alization is making its way into the kids
tongue rather effortlessly when times
own name to a piece of
market more than ever before, giving
are good, the consumer is in a spending licensed apparel, a book, consumers the chance to apply their
mood, and the confidence that a licens-
or some other product.
own creativity or just their own name
ing deal will turn into retail sales dollars to a piece of licensed apparel, a book,
is relatively high. But when things are a
One agent/manufacturer closely
or some other product.
little shakier, the notion of “partner-
aligned with music business, for ex-
“For the retailers, licensors and licens-
ship” often becomes somewhat shakier.
ample, created a self-contained cor-
ees, this is actually a chance to be far
Risk avoidance becomes many compa-
rugated shipping unit – “about the
more creative,” said one studio licens-
nies’ primary motivation, and everyone
size of a refrigerator,” according to a
ing executive. “For anyone willing to
in the product development and prod-
company executive -- pre-packed with
break out of the box, it may not pay
uct supply food chain is naturally going
a range of apparel and fan merchandise,
off immediately, but it will often pay off
to try to deflect as much risk as it can
that needs to be merely opened and
when things start to improve some-
onto somebody else’s shoulders. The
positioned on a retailer’s selling floor.
where down the road.”
retailer only wants to put sure things
It’s a way of instantly putting retailers
on the shelf, and with the sophistica-
who might not normally be in those
For more information
tion of sales tracking systems, is quick
merchandise categories – say, a book
please visit LIMA at
to pull items and properties that don’t
retailer or convenience store -- into
www.licensing.org
the business in a relatively quick and
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