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Experiential, Social & Retail: Updates

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Dr. Seuss Enterprises and its licensed partners are celebrating the graduation season with Oh, the Places You’ll Go!—for graduates young and old, rich and poor, silly and smart—with the book from Random House, a gift line from Hallmark, a Walgreens program with Vandor, and tumblers from Tervis.

Funko adopts the home field of Minor League Baseball team, the Everett AquaSox, a Seattle Mariners Class A affiliate. For the next six years, Funko will be the naming rights partner for the home team, which includes signage on the field and around the stadium, as well as branding on ballpark staff uniforms. Additionally, all Friday home games will be designated “Funko Fridays,” and will include promotions and giveaways for AquaSox ticket holders.

Discovery is in a global collaboration with McDonald’s for a brand extension of Discovery’s #Mindblown in the Happy Meal program that will debut Discovery #Mindblown STEM robot toys. The partnership also includes an integration into McDonald’s McPlay and Happy Studio apps.

Instagram tests a new “Checkout” feature that allows users to buy fashion and beauty products without leaving the app—including tracking deliveries and saving payment information for future orders. Roughly 20 brands are participating in the beta trial for a “selling fee” including Adidas, Dior, H&M, Kylie Cosmetics, Michael Kors, Nike, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, Uniqlo, Warby Parker, and Zara. Instagram first launched ecommerce capabilities in 2016 (purchases were completed outside the app); roughly 130 million users interact with “shoppable posts,” per the social media company.

Nine West Holdings reemerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings with a new name: Premier Brands Group, reflecting the sale of the Nine West and Bandolino footwear and handbag businesses. The new company will have over $100 million of go-forward liquidity to support its operations and future growth initiatives for the remaining One Jeanswear Group, The Jewelry Group, Kasper Group and Anne Klein businesses—including new brand licenses and partnerships.

DSW changes its name to Designer Brands and will start selling more of its own styles manufactured by the Camuto Group, which the shoe retailer acquired in 2018. Despite strong holiday sales, DSW lost almost $46 million thanks to expensive promotions to clear out its merchandise. The company is doubling down on three key strategies to help bounce back: in-store nail salons, a more exclusive loyalty program, and kids’ shoe sections.

FAO Schwarz is set to open its largest worldwide flagship in Beijing this year. The store at the China World Center mall in the Chinese capital’s central business district will offer 2,600 sq. meters (28,000 sq. ft.) of retail space, or 40% larger than its existing flagship outlet at Rockefeller Center in New York City. The toy seller is planning an additional Shanghai store as well as 30 smaller specialty shops over the next 5 years.

Lego is also planning a massive expansion in China, the company’s most promising market, according to CEO Niels Christiansen. The toyco had 50 stores in China in 2018 and plans to open another 80 this year in 18 cities, with the main focus on third and fourth tier cities. Overall, the company’s stores would be in place in 30 cities. Lego currently operates two “flagship” stores (owned and operated by Lego) in Shanghai, just opened its first flagship outlet in Beijing.


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