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What Consumers Will be Looking for in a Post-COVID World

By Alicia Rosa Brand Central Insights Consumers are starting to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. This new vaccinated world will be a testing ground to see if the pandemic-driven trends and habits will stay. At Brand Central Insights we’ve been able to look at the trends from the last year at a bird’s-eye view to see what’s going to stick around for the long haul and what will join the graveyard of TikTok fads. As we get closer to a post-COVID world, consumers will be looking to reclaim the time spent inside and celebrate extravagantly, but won’t want to lose the conveniences, communities, or creative hobbies they discovered in quarantine. E-Commerce & DTC Online shopping and e-commerce habits will likely continue post-COVID, despite the excitement… . . . read more

Beijing Lashes Out at Western Fashion Brands

WAR OF WORDS OVER HUMAN RIGHTS SPILLS OVER INTO LICENSING, AS CHINA HITS BACK AGAINST H&M, ADIDAS, NIKE, AND MORE Stung by accusations of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, Beijing is lashing out at Western fashion brands that have criticized the Chinese government. Already, Chinese state TV has called for a boycott of the Swedish retailer H&M, following sanctions by Western governments on Chinese officials accused of taking part in human rights abuses against the Uyghur people of Xinjiang. Some Chinese celebrities, like singer-actors Wang Yibo and Eason Chan (pictured), have begun cutting ties with Western companies. Chan, for example, has faced a backlash from fans in China after stepping down as a celebrity ambassador for Adidas. Wang similarly stepped down as brand ambassador for Nike, saying he… . . . read more

Toys R Us Is Back in Business … Again

Big news for those in the toy and toy licensing industry, as brand management company WHP Global announced Monday it has acquired the controlling interest in Tru Kids, the parent company of Toys R Us, Babies R Us and the Geoffrey the Giraffe brand. Toys R Us has struggled to survive in a world beset by a rapid shift to e-commerce, and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017. The company was purchased by Ares Management, but was unable to emerge from bankruptcy on its own after an unsuccessful Christmas season that same year, and was pushed into liquidation. Parent company Tru Kids continued to push the brand forward with an attempt to open pop-up stores in shopping malls, and selling more toys online, first via a site powered by Target, and… . . . read more

LEGO Caps Breakout Year With 13% Growth

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief The LEGO Group has been on a tear throughout fiscal 2020, launching new and innovative products, signing key licensing deals, and continuing its run as one of the world’s top kids’ entertainment companies. That success has also translated into growing revenue, as the European tosco reported a 13% increase in revenue to $7 billion, at a time when some other toy companies have struggled. Both Hasbro and Jakks Pacific reported decreases in revenue this year, which were blamed largely on supply chain issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, top rival Mattel also reported an extremely strong year for revenue, and the toy industry as a whole saw increased revenues of from January through December 2020. LEGO says its consumer sales grew by… . . . read more

Twin Studies Predict Strong Recovery For Licensing and Retail

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief Two key reports released over the past two weeks illustrate the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the licensing and retail industries … but they also paint an encouraging picture for the economic recovery of both sectors as vaccination programs roll out in America and around the world.  License Global released its report—COVID-19: What Happens Next—on the impact of COVID-19 on the licensing industry, with survey respondents showing the industry as a whole suffered declining revenues and layoffs. The good news, says the License Global report, “Industry professionals on average expect business to stabilize and return to broadly pre-COVID-19 levels by December 2021. Most notably, 45 percent of respondents anticipate a rise in annual revenue, while 28 percent anticipate an increase in headcount and… . . . read more

Fanatics & Lids Reach Long-Term Deal With BNED

The sports merchandise company Fanatics has added to its long list of critical deals in 2020 with a long-term merchandising partnership with Barnes & Noble Education Inc. (BNED), the campus store division of the Barnes & Noble parent company. Fanatics will offer BNED campus stores an expanded product selection and a direct-to-consumer platform. Fanatics’ partly-owned Lids will also provide BNED trend and sales performance data on licensees, product styles and design treatments from more than 1,200 Lids stores. As well, Fanatics and Lids will jointly make a $15 million strategic equity investment in BNED and receive 2.3 million shares of BNED in exchange, representing a share price of $6.50 per share. BNED expects to use these proceeds for its strategic growth initiatives. BNED is a college retailer that was spun off from bookseller… . . . read more

Retail Sales of Licensed Merchandise through Specialty Stores, by Property Type, U.S. & Canada


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