First Word-January 2005

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Vendor numbers...hard to attain? Correct? Is your company's name on a retailer's "matrix"? Your company's name and vendor number on a retailer's "checking it twice list" is better than gold. When I first heard of the proposed merger of Kmart and Sears, my thoughts turned to the possibilities that may exist for companies that currently sell Sears but not Kmart and vice versa. Will the merger fuel cross-pollination for this duo, one that slightly existed for Mervyn's with Target some time ago?

These questions and more are broached in our Cover Story, "Retail Deal of the Year." Actually, this is an historical milestone for the world of retailing: How will a mass merchant and traditional department store break bread? What you'll learn, is neither retailer is talking. One major reason for the hush is the merger is not complete. But the licensing industry is talking. Not since the Federated/Macy's merger has there been such a buzz.

New Year's always bring new opportunities and change. With this issue, I must extend kudos to License! Art Director Robin Pelkki for once again reinventing the art wheel. You will notice an eye-pleasing change to the design of the magazine beginning with the Table of Contents and ending with Last Word. In addition, we've changed some content, including Retail Rap, which now will focus on a channel of distribution or a specific retail channel from the perspective of financial and industry analysts. Further, Last Word now will reflect real consumers on the street, in cities across the U.S. (and maybe around the world), outside retail stores or at tourist locations. Last Word will continue to be orchestrated by Senior Associate Editor Regina Molaro, with the diligent assistance of Art Director Robin Pelkki (who actually got the year started talking with kids in Arkansas).

This year, we also will launch an internationally focused column, as well as continue to provide as much statistical data as we can get our hands on.

Speaking of data, it's that time of year when Contributing Editor Dawn Wilensky begins her research for our Leading Licensors list and feature, which always appears in our April issue. If you haven't already, I'm certain you will be hearing from Dawn soon: How did your company fare in 2004, and will your company move up on our list? For more information on details needed for our list, as well as deadlines, or to be considered for the list, you can contact Dawn directly at (732) 863-1052 or via e-mail at onretail@optonline.net. As always, you can contact me, too.

Last, but certainly not least, LIMA announced plans to raise $1 million over a period of five years for its new charity of choice, The Children's Brain Tumor Foundation. Beyond LIMA's existing fundraising efforts such as the annual Awards Gala, LIMA and Charity Committee Co-Chairs Leigh Anne Brodsky and Cheryl Stobeneau will be calling upon our industry to support the foundation both monetarily and voluntarily.

JOYCEANN COONEY

jcooney@advanstar.com

P.S.: Join me at MAGIC in Las Vegas, Tuesday, February 15, at 2 p.m. for a "Licensing at Retail" seminar, and at Toy Fair, Monday, February 21, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. for a "Licensing by the Numbers" seminar.

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