Timberlake, AOKI team up for bag remix

FUL, the travel bag and gear brand founded by Justin Timberlake and inspired by musicians, will be launching an original collaboration with DJ/producer Steve Aoki this summer.

The collection, called FUL-Aoki, will be available in select stores across the U.S., as well as some items available exclusively on the FUL website.

The new collection embodies Aoki’s individual, forward-looking fashion perspective and creativity, featuring a variety of pieces inspired by streetwear and travel necessities.

Prices range from $79.99 to $119.99 for backpacks and $39.99 for waist packs, and products will be available at high-end sneaker stores in North America in August.

In addition to the street collection, there will be a limited-edition backpack and carry-on set personally designed by Aoki, based on his travel and performance needs. The set has enough storage for three laptops, headphones, connectivity and leaves enough room for his Dim Mak Collection apparel. The set will retail for $400, sold exclusively online.

“This collab with FUL is an exciting venture for me since their products are inspired by musicians and they are innovators in the travel space,” says Aoki. “I spend almost all of my time traveling the world, so I understand the need for functionality but wanting to look fashion forward while doing so. My bag collection includes sleek designs that are versatile, with my signature Aoki logos, and three-color variations–silver, black and bronze–giving a futuristic feel.”

“We’re so excited about our FUL-Aoki product launch,” says Sam Hafiz, chief executive officer, FUL. “Steve has incredible vision, and travel is such a big part of his life. No one I know travels as extensively as he does, so his vision for the product and how it should function comes from a unique personal experience.”

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/apparel-accessories/timberlake-aoki-team-bag-remix

Toys ‘R’ Us returns as a new company

Toys ‘R’ Us has relaunched as a new company with new leadership and new future objectives.

The company has rebranded as Tru Kids and is doing business as Tru Kids Brands. Brands within the new company include Toys ‘R’ Us, Babies ‘R’ Us, Geoffrey and more than 20 established consumer toy and baby brands.

Richard Barry, former global chief merchandising officer at Toys ‘R’ Us, will lead Tru Kids Brands as president and chief executive officer. Matthew Finigan will serve as chief financial officer. James Young will be the new company’s executive vice president of global license management and general counsel. Jean-Daniel Gatignol will serve as senior vice president of global sourcing and brands. Yehuda Shmidman will work as vice chairman to advise on global strategy and execution. Shmidman is the chief executive officer of Wave Hill Partners and formerly served as chief executive officer of Sequential Brands Group.

According to a company statement, Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us generated sales of $3 billion in 2018 via global retail sites across 900 stores and e-commerce businesses in more than 30 countries across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

“Despite unprecedented efforts to capture the U.S. market share this past holiday season, there is still a significant gap and huge consumer demand for the trusted experience that Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us delivers,” says Richard Barry, president and chief executive officer, Tru Kids Brands. “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write the next chapter of Toys ‘R’ Us by launching a newly imagined omnichannel retail experience for our beloved brands here in the U.S. In addition, our strong global footprint is led by experienced and passionate operating teams that are 100 percent focused on growth.”

Tru Kids Brands, which will be headquartered in New Jersey, aims to work with partners around the globe to expand the Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us businesses in their respective markets, as well as actively seek opportunities to bring the brands to new and emerging territories.

Worldwide partners include Al Futtaim Sons Co. in UAE, Green Swan in Iberia, Keshet-Hypertoy in Israel, Lotte Shopping in South Korea, Marketing Services and Commercial Projects Operation Company in Saudi Arabial, Tablez & Toyz in India and Toys (Labuan) in partnership with Fung Retailing in Asia.

More than 70 stores will open in 2019 in Asia, India and Europe. Tru Kids Brands will also launch e-commerce platforms in several key markets.

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/industry-news/toys-r-us-returns-new-company


Charlotte Russe, H&M to shutter stores

Charlotte Russe Holdings and Hennes & Mauritz have announced plans to shutter stores amid lackluster 2018 Q4 reports.

Charlotte Russe Holdings and its subsidiaries have filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

The company plans to close 94 stores and will pursue a concern sale of the business and its assets.

Charlotte Russe is also reporting that it has received a debtor-in-possession commitment for the maximum amount of $50 million, pending court approval. Charlotte Russe and Peek stores and their online platforms are still operating business during the proceeding.

Elsewhere, Hennes & Mauritz, best known as H&M, is set to close approximately 160 stores, including 50 in Europe.

The Swedish fashion giant announced the move as part of a planned store optimization that includes rebuilds, reorganizations and adjustments in individual markets.

The company has plans to net 175 new stores around the world, with 355 new store openings that will include H&M and its other brands COS, & Other Stories, Monki, Weekday and Arket in key growth markets.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/retailer-news/charlotte-russe-hm-shutter-stores

23.12 Spider-Man 300X200

Spider-Man spins a web of merch

Marvel has entered a series of deals for merchandise inspired by its new animated film Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.


Funko is on board for a line of Pop! general release and exclusive renditions of Peter, Miles, Gwen, Noir, Green Goblin and The Prowler.

An additional Miles in his first attempt at costume makeup, hatless Noir and Spider-Ham are available exclusively at Walgreens. Hasbro has signed for a line of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse toys, including a new action figure series that consists of a six-inch Spider-Gwen, Miles, Peter and Prowler. A Miles figure is available as a foot-tall Titan Hero and a Shock Strike rendition. A Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy 2-pack is available exclusively at Target.

A 16-month 2019 calendar is now available that features images of Miles, Gwen, Peter, Noir and Spider-Ham. Hot Topic has released a range of t-shirts that feature the Miles Morales logo, among others.

Ramin Zahed’s Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse: The Art Of The Movie hardcover book offers a look at the making of the film. The film’s original soundtrack is available now at Target and includes tracks such as, “What’s Up Danger,” “Familia” and “Scared of the Dark.” Hasbro’s Prowler Attack 3-D Game, a Walmart exclusive, invites players to play as Miles, Gwen, Peter or Noir to capture Prowler.

Finally, Nike’s Jordan Brand has paired for the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG Origin Story, the shoes seen on Miles in the film.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is now playing in theaters!

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/movies/spider-man-spins-web-merch

11.27 PLAYSTATION 300x200

Nike & Paul George plug into Playstation

Sony’s PlayStation and Nike have paired to launch a new sneaker inspired by the original PS gaming system, under the label of basketball player Paul George.

The Nike PG 2.5 x PlayStation takes cues from the iconic console and celebrates George’s love for video games with PlayStation symbols on the counter and heel, as well as the classic four-color PlayStation logo on the left shoe, a variant of the PG2’s light up the tongue.

The Nike PG 2.5 x PlayStation debuted at the Nov.21 game against the Golden State Warriors and will be released on the “SNKRS” app and at major retail outlets on Dec.1.

source: http:// https://www.licenseglobal.com/electronics/nike-paul-george-plug-playstation

Amazon opens pop-up in Spain

Amazon has opened its first pop-up store in Madrid, Spain in one of the city’s principal shopping districts, according to Reuters.

The space is laid out in the style of a house with all displayed items on sale. Goods for sale range from electronics to video games and clothing.

The e-commerce giant plans to open similar stores in Italy, Germany and Britain, according to the company spokesperson. The move underscores the online powerhouse’s push to attract customers through physical retail.

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/retailer-news/amazon-opens-pop-spain

LIMA takes execs on modern retail tour

The Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) hosted Bricks & Clicks on Monday, Oct. 8, a tour that gave select Brand Licensing Europe attendees a chance to look at the modern retail landscape up close.

The Entertainer, UK

The Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) hosted Bricks & Clicks on Monday, Oct. 8, a tour that gave select Brand Licensing Europe attendees a chance to look at the modern retail landscape up close.

The first stop was at The Entertainer, located in the Westfield London shopping center in London. A beacon in an industry that has been shaken up by the closure of Toys “R” Us and other retailers this year, The Entertainer has continued to provide entertainment and play items for shoppers across the U.K. The company has plans to expand from 149 stores in the U.K. to 165 by the end of the year, and its growth is due in large part to the licensed toys that line its shelves. “The most success in physical retail is in experiential,” says Steven Ekstract, brand director, global licensing group, UBM.

The Entertainer offers wall-to-wall stock with prominent-branded displays and unique play areas. Featured sections include the Magic Mirror, a life-sized interactive animated AR experience, among others. In addition to a tour of the location, Mark Whittle, head, buying, The Entertainer, offered insight into the store’s success. He also added that while expansion in competitive markets is important, underserved countries, such as Azerbaijan, Malta, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Cypress, Pakistan, Egypt, Macedonia and Albania have presented unique opportunities.ADVERTISEMENT. CLICK FOR SOUND.

It also opened 59 “Totally Toys”-branded store-in-stores at the British home goods and fashion retailer Matalan. The Entertainer also gives supplier exclusives and a Addo Division that provides private label items and DTRs, which included Pinkfong’s Baby Shark plush toy based on the viral song.

The shop was located in an equally impressive shopping center that offered specially curated experiences and bold branding strategies amid modern design concepts. Following The Entertainer, the group moved on to the “Clicks” portion of the event, which involved a tour of the headquarters of Amazon U.K. 

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/lima/lima-takes-execs-modern-retail-tour

Being the game with Anuj Batra

Its not easy to get time with Mr. Anuj Batra. so when you receive a message that he’s free to have a quick chat, you take it. A veteran in the retail space, Mr Batra shares his experiences with IndiaLicensingPost.com.


If you prefer to listen instead of reading, scroll down to the end of the page and hit play.


  1. You have worn many different hats throughout your career,with a strong background in retail & infrastructure. What made you join Alcis sports?
  • I have been in the retail and distribution profession for nearly 30 years. I have had the privilege of launching some iconic brands in various different sectors like footwear, apparel, garments, accessories, wellness, education and so on. The Indian sports apparel market is still in the nascent stage and I have seen a great amount of opportunity where many international brands were doing very well,however, 90% of brands were not focusing on the target audience that exists in India. By that I mean, there are so many players in India who are only concentrating on the top end of the pyramid whereas the mid and the bottom end has any brands and that is where the entire customer base in India lies. So we wanted to give the best international quality product at Indian prices to the consumers. With that in my mind, I saw a great opportunity of joining Alcis, which was actually being promoted by one of the largest sports apparel manufacturers out of India. I have had the expertise for making it for some iconic international brands as well as many Indian brands into the sports and leisure segment. So, the expertise was there in terms of manufacturing and curating something very different in terms of quality and I have got the expertise in go-to-market strategies and channel development.


  1. Do you believe the business of sports licensing is coming/has come of age in India?
  • Definitely! The overall Indian consumer, while growing up, always had a fancy for icons that they could relate to. We have grown up hearing stories, watching movies and serials and that is how we have connected to these superheroes. We dream and fantasize to be like them in our day to day life. In India as well, we have been growing among these characters that are more than life-like and these superheroes are being projecting in such a way that we see ourselves in them and vice versa. It becomes an easier platform for people to relate to and this is the reason why most of the organizations relate themselves to a brand, icon, license or character as it becomes easy for them to establish their product within the domestic market.


  1. What are the key tick marks you must have in place before investing in a licensing program?fifa-licensed-merchandise
  • The first and foremost tick mark we should have is on the overall positioning of the brand. It has to synergize with the kind of license or character we are trying associate with for our product range. Another important factor is that the license program has to be along term factor. When a brand is investing huge amount of money to obtain a license, they need to ensure that the top and bottom line of the pyramid are covered. Create a range and build up a brand around the character. The ultimate goal would be to see whether we are able to make money out of it and do justice to the brand we are trying to associate ourselves with. There has to be a two-way synergy where the brand is able to grow along with the character.


  1. What are your expectations from the licensor/brand owner?
  • I would say that the brand ethos should not be compromised with, whether the licensee they have signed up with is able to work out a long term strategy or build the brand around their product. It is very important to report true sales figures. Being forthright and ethical is very crucial for a license and a brand to go hand in hand for a long term vision. Getting royalty payments on time is very important as well for a licensor.


  1. How do you gauge customer appetite for a brand?
  • India is blessed to have so many consumers. The sheer size of the population itself is enough for us to get sizable numbers for any licensed program or a brand to successfully launch a property in India and become successful.


  1. Give us an example of a great licensed brand fit with your product?
  • Essentially, Alcis is all about sports apparels and we make a very diverse and unique range of sports products. We have a separate range for running, training, yoga, work-out, cricket and football. There is a huge amount of possibility for us to relate with any of the icons within this entire spectrum of categories that we are manufacturing for and to be able to bring around a brand which can fit into our brand activities. And this is why we had signed up with the iconic Shikhar Dhawan as our brand ambassador who was truly echoing the brand promise that we were trying to portray and position ourselves with. In the women’s category, we have Lauren Gottlieb who is considered to be one of the iconic figures for a lot of young women who aspire to be like her.


  1. You are the official licensee partner for FIFA World Cup 2018. What are some of the initiatives you are undertaking to excite fans in the run up to the event?
  • We were licensees for the Under-17 FIFA World Cup that happened in India and we took some beautiful fifa-merchandise-2initiatives of promoting the 10 million program. We also took the initiative of setting up stalls at various stadiums, discussed with other sponsors of FIFA World Cup in India like Bank of Baroda, Coca Cola, Hyundai, Hero, etc to get a sense of getting consumer feedback in terms of people trying our various products, appreciating the quality and technological advances that we are offering in our product range. For the FIFA World Cup 2018, our products will be available at Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, Central, and Sports Station along with some multi-brand outlets across the country. We have also opened up 7 exclusive stores for Alcis where the FIFA range will be merchandised. Before the World Cup begins, we will start additional 3 stores mainly in Goa which predominantly has a strong football fan base along with Hyderabad and Bangalore. We are also going to take initiatives at Lulu Mall in Kochi which again is a city of football fans. We are trying to tie up with sponsors across other countries to promote our products and range and get ourselves associated with football academies. We are offering 555 different SKU’s in the entire FIFA range which includes both men and women. For the first time, we are launching merchandise for women/girls and kids. We have also tied up exclusively with Flipkart to launch this entire range nationwide for the online channel.


  1. Any key learnings you would like to share regarding your journey as a licensee of some of the biggest and well known brands in the market?
  • I would say we need to be reciprocal whether it is a brand or a licensee. There should not be different licenses given in a particular market for different categories but within the same range. At the same time, it is very important for the licensee to be able to honor the commitment and to be able to give justice to the brand. Before signing up the license program, it is very important to work on a business plan and share it.


  1. You have launched on your campaign “Be The Game” featuring Shikhar Dhawan – pls tell us a little more about the background and its objective.
  • Each one of us, irrespective of age, still love sports like football and cricket. We also try and discover our younger years where we participated in school or college sports teams. Some of us still continue this hobby in spite of our office schedules in order to stay fit. So it is all about being the game where we are trying to help people to talk about how we can live in our present age and still be active like a sportsman. The entire Alcis range are technologically advanced products which help people to perform better in what they are trying to do. We are shortly building up that story and you should hear about our big plans very soon.


  1. What advice would you give to young professionals starting out in the licensing business?fifa-merchandise-3
  • Being a jury member for WSE (World Startup Expo, Bangalore) and Narsee Monjee, I can surely advise that licensing and sports management is a great opportunity in India. Licensing is going to become more prominent in India with its spectrum not restricting to only FMCG or apparels and it will be a great career to be in. It definitely has a great amount of scope and one should encourage their kids to be able to take up this program and also take this as a full-time career.


  1. Tell us more about why you did you see it fit to push into the retail sales. Is it primarily for the touch-and-feel experience vis-à-vis shopping on an online portal?
  • Our entire positioning goes around the factor that the product needs to be seen and how will the consumer be aware without the touch and feel about gauging the quality and seeing the technology in front of them. So it is very important for us to create a great amount of physical presence. So far, the entire range of our sports apparel is available through more than 264 large format retail outlets and across 700 retail points which are the multi-brand retail outlets being serviced through our chain of distributors. We are also having presence in 7 of our exclusive stores and in the process of opening another 15 stores this year. The one-to-one interaction with our products is very important for us to promote our products. For example, they need to know how it feels to wear our lightweight product of 76gms or the Wonder Tee product which is made out of recycled polyester. Our market strategy is going to be a crucial factor as we plan to have our presence in more than 2000 retail outlets across India this year. We have also tied up with Walmart to sell across various retail points which would have been difficult for us to reach through our present distribution network.


  1. What is your take on piracy? In more mature markets in the West, they do have laws to tackle such issues but in India we lack such stringent laws. How do you view piracy and what steps do you think the licensors and licensees should take to secure their future in the market?:
  • With the IPL tournament happening, one might have seen the players wearing a very discerning product range. Our parent brand, Paragon Sports Apparels, is very fortunate to manufacture it for various different brands for the last 11 years of IPL mainly Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bengaluru. During the matches, you may have noticed thousands of fans wearing similar looking products most of them which are not manufactured under licensed programs of the IPL franchises. The government has to take some steps in order to strengthen the trademark and reinvent laws to take a quick action on piracy. The licensor and licensee need to join hands in order to curb this issue and try to raise the issue at various forums and with the government. The online channel players or retailers should not be allowed to sell dubious products which are not licensed. Once we have stringent laws across this spectrum, this problem can be taken care of. Also, as a customer, one should pledge not to buy a dubious product.



To read more such interviews check our Interviews section and for expert opinions check the Open Mic section.

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