Trend Watching at the Show

Editor's Note

It is with great excitement, enthusiasm, and expectations that I welcome the opportunity to be a part of a new era and decade for License! Global, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary as the "Source for Licensing & Retail Intelligence."

I have followed licensing during that time, particularly as it related to the retail industry, serving as editorial director for Lebhar-Friedman's retail publications, including Retailing Today. I can remember not only attending the fledgling Licensing Show prior to its move to the Javits Center, but also the launch of License magazine in 1998.

While it's not a homecoming, it is a return of sorts to a business that I have had experienced, enjoyed, analyzed, and observed regularly over the years.

As licensing and retailing executives converge on New York City for the annual International Licensing Show, it couldn't be a better time and environment as licensing is perhaps enjoying one of its hottest and most exciting growth periods worldwide in recent memory. And as every exec walks the show floor and attends the education sessions at the Javits Center, there will be one example after another of this growth as well as the latest industry trends. Here's a list of key trends to watch for that will undoubtedly be reinforced during the Show.

Summer of Sequels. Beginning with the release of Sony's Spider-Man 3 last month and its huge box-office performance, this summer's long list of sequels and other titles makes it one of the best theatrical seasons in history ringing up, according to one source, more than $10 billion in revenues. Early indications are that this should lead to a blockbuster licensing product performance at retail as well, especially going into the DVD releases and holiday season.

Celebrity Deals. Whether it's the Kate Moss line recently launched in the UK's Topshop or the newly signed Amanda Bynes line that will launch in Steve and Barry's in August or numerous other deals, celebrity licensing is hotter than ever.

Retail Brands. The deal between UK-based pharmacy retailer Boots the Chemist and CVS and Target that brought its venerable brand No. 7 to the U.S. in 2004 was aggressively expanded last month to include five brands in 1,500 Target stores, more than 450 CVS stores in southern California and the Southwest, and Shoppers Drug Marts throughout Canada. This will have execs once again evaluating the opportunity to license their proprietary brands to other global retailers.

Green Products. Not only are more and more eco-friendly products being developed by retailers and licensors, but also other initiatives in packaging, energy usage, and recycling are being implemented.

Healthy Foods. The exclusive deal between Kroger and Disney to develop more nutritional snacks for children is clearly an indication that the healthy foods movement is not a fad, but a bona fide long-term merchandising opportunity.

In the last issue, Group Publisher Steven Ekstract discussed the business philosophy he learned from his father, stating, "showing up is half the battle." I am committed to that philosophy as I have been throughout my career. The other half is providing insight and perspective, as I have also done about retailing trends for the past two decades. So you can count on expanded daily e-news, more analysis, more insights, and a long list of enhancements in the coming months that will continue to reflect License! Global 's commitment to being a global leader.

Tony Lisanti Editor-in-Chief

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