Stand United

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Almost monthly, I'm called upon by a variety of organizations to deliver a licensing trends seminar. I love doing such, but invariably my message is always the same: Worldwide retail sales of licensed merchandise have remained flat year over year from 2002 to 2004. A closer look at the statistics from 1999 to 2004 reveals: Our industry's biggest leap was from 2001 to 2004...a $10 billion jump to reach $175 billion. But that essentially was playing catch-up because in 1999 and 2000, the number was already $175 billion. So, while traveling to Minneapolis to speak with the Twin Cities Licensing Group in January, I pondered future growth opportunities for the business of licensing: international, direct-to-retail, retail exclusives, new channels of distribution, wireless, etc. That's when I realized the answer to the question at right is truly the best growth strategy.

How do we accomplish such? Part of it will be networking, and the other part is truly strategizing. Imagine your Brand A with another's Brand A (co-branding). If you have a Brand C (a cemetery brand you weren't doing much with anyway), well, then speak with others in the business that may have the contacts at XYZ retailer for a direct-to-retail deal. (Yes, you may think retail contacts are a trade secret, but they aren't. Remember, one licensed property has a good experience at retail and the next licensed property may have an easier time getting on shelf.) Looking for best-in-class licensees, phone members of trade associations such as LIMA or simply contact us. This all may sound like a "help thy neighbor" call...and it is. In this retail climate, as retailers are placing more emphasis on their own brands, the licensing industry must stand united. Working together will allow us to grow this industry by $20 billion or more in the year 2010.

It's that time of year when we call upon the industry for its numbers. LICENSE's annual Leading Licensors list is scheduled for April. Have you delivered those numbers yet? If not, this will serve as last call. Contact Contributing Editor Dawn Wilensky at 732.863.1052 or via e-mail at onretail@optonline.net. Will you be on the list this year?

It's Toy Fair time, and the last February edition to be held at the Toy Buildings at 23rd Street. Even amid the search for a new home, manufacturers, licensors, and licensing agents have been busy striking deals and creating futuristic product. As kids are getting older younger, the industry has set its sights on new attention-grabbing technologies, plus keeping a steady eye on the infant/pre-preschool market. We have the latest, beginning, plus an exclusive look at the now-10-year-old Pokémon brand. Have a successful Toy Fair and MAGIC Marketplace!

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