Planet Superheroes is on a mission to take over the country one store at a time!

Ready, steady, fly!

Planet Superheroes recently announced its store expansion footprint to go beyond the metros of India. With six new retail stores in the last quarter – they have expanded into towns like Jabalpur, Surat, Mangalore, and Vapi making the total count at 25 across India. With 10 more stores opening in the next quarter, Planet Superheroes is leading the way in terms of its omnichannel footprint across both physical and online channels.

Planet Superheroes was launched in 2014 to cater to the huge comic fan community of India which was hungry for a brand focused on providing officially licensed character merchandise. In a market that had been widely polluted with counterfeit products, Planet Superheroes took the leap of faith that Indian customers wanted value for money and preferred official merchandise with consistent quality over counterfeit products. They have now established themselves as a market leader in just under five years both in terms of retail footprint and in the breadth of characters and categories they sell. They have also established a pan India distribution in the toys category to cater to the Mom and Pop Stores of India that still rely on traditional distribution channels.

In terms of licensing partnerships, they work with almost every major licensor from Disney, Warner Brothers, EONE, Viacom, Spin Master and Hasbro bringing joy to its end customers across age categories from Pre-School to hardcore Action Figure Fans who have no age limit! They sell 50+ categories from Apparel, Toys, Collectibles, Electronics and Accessories to name a few. They have also been winners of the Comic-Con Gold Awards for two years in succession.

Licensing in India

The Annual Global Licensing Industry Survey 2018 estimated that the global licensing industry is worth $271.6 Bn. However, licensing in India is still at a nascent stage. But the entry of licensees like Planet Superheroes, coupled with advancements in technology and ever-expanding marketplaces have provided the much-needed tailwinds needed for the growth of this sector. There is still a lack of retail players as traditional retailers do not understand the power of curation. As one of the earliest licensed merchandise brands, Planet Superheroes started focusing on creating ‘character merchandise’ as a category in itself and became a forerunner in bringing this concept to end consumers. While brands like Hamleys, Reliance, Lifestyle etc. also sell character merchandise in silos under Apparel, Electronics, Toys, Planet Superheroes has taken a contrarian “curated category” approach on the lines of other global players in the world that have succeeded in this space.

Challenges

The most important challenge in retail is managing the expectations of the mall owners who often expect Planet Superheroes’ “trading density” (Revenue per square foot) to be on par with other premium fashion brands. This is a challenge because, despite the better than average conversion, the average price of these products are much lower compared to the bigger brands who command a much larger premium. However, after successfully executing its first 5 stores and proving the value addition, most mall operators now approach them to become a part of their upcoming mall launches because of the uniqueness and customer engagement value that they bring to the mall. They currently work with almost all the marquee mall developers from Phoenix Mills, Viviana, Nexus, Infiniti, VR Mall and Forum to name a few.

Way Forward

Planet Superheroes will continue to expand its retail footprint into territories that are underserved. Their next focus will be in the Eastern and Northern parts of India going as far as Guwahati in the North East of India. Planet Superheroes is a brand with a technology DNA – their technical ambitions surpass their current scale. While most retailers 5x their size have started thinking about these problems, Planet Superheroes has been quietly investing in leveraging automation, data-warehousing and intelligent algorithms to crack the complex world of omnichannel inventory management. They strongly believe that their robust tech infrastructure and process-driven expansion would be key differentiators as they scale from store number 25 to 100.

Special thanks to Jaineel Aga & Nikita Zankar from Team PlanetSuperHeroes.

 

 

‘Amazon is a fact of life, so find a way to work with it’

A panel of execs at Spring Fling talk retail challenges and brands breaking through.

Amazon is a fact of life and isn’t going to suddenly disappear overnight, so we all need to find a way to work with the e-commerce giant.

This was the message from a panel of experienced licensing industry executives, speaking as part of last week’s Spring Fling, organized by Licensing International.

Aysha Kidwai (consultant CMO, The Social Store); Rikesh Desai (licensing director, BBC Studios); Ian Downes (md, Start Licensing); Susan Bolsover (licensing and consumer products director, Penguin Ventures); and Rachel Wakley (general manager, UK & Ireland, Warner Bros. Consumer Products) – pictured from left to right with Kelvyn Gardner, UK md of Licensing International – were part of the traditional Question Time Panel which kicked off Spring Fling (held on Thursday May 23).

“Amazon is a fact of life,” commented Susan, “and they are not going to disappear overnight. They are absolutely driven by the customer experience and, until someone can come up with a different model, we all have to find a way to work with them.

“But they are also having to diversify what they do as a business – Amazon is no longer just a ‘retail service’.”

BBC Studios’ Rikesh said that, while Amazon was “super disruptive”, this is a good thing to have in any market as it starts to push boundaries and gets other retailers to notice.

The panel was also asked how smaller brands can break through and make an impact in the market.

“You can’t always work with the big players, so create events and opportunities that look at other areas,” offered Start Licensing’s Ian. “If you have good content, then someone will want it.

“Think about who the consumer is and who the retailer is; have the potential with your content to have something that others don’t have. But also don’t have licensing in isolation – it has to be a part of a wider mix of activities.”

Aysha was also a big advocate of thinking ‘outside the box’: “Don’t copy others. Think about your brand, why children like the show for example, and then deconstruct it and be smart about it. The product has to stand on its own.”

Ultimately, WBCP’s Rachel believes that, however the retail space plays out, our industry needs to be malleable and go where the consumer goes. “Our job is to be a service provider,” she said. “Wherever the consumer chooses to buy [the product] from is up to them.

“Also, think about why you’re talking to a particular retailer. What job is your brand doing to ensure the consumer’s shopping mission. Your brand isn’t an ego mission. Think about all of that and your conversation with retail becomes a lot easier.”

Source: https://www.licensingsource.net/amazon-is-a-fact-of-life-so-find-a-way-to-work-with-it/

Puma kicks of new Barbie collab

Puma and Barbie are teaming up again for a capsule collection to celebrate 60 years of the iconic doll.

The collaboration includes the launch of the special-edition Nova x Barbie sneaker for women.

Inspired by ‘90s gear, Barbie’s take on the Nova sneaker features retro logos, loud colors and chunky sculpted tooling with a stylish gradient midsole spray. The shoe, available in Puma white–orchid pink colorway, features a slim, feminine upper of mesh and leather overlays with Barbie graphics. The collection also offers apparel including a sporty Puma x Barbie XTG track jacket, a tee, leggings and short tights.

The collection is available on Puma.com, Puma stores and retailers worldwide.

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/apparel-accessories/puma-kicks-new-barbie-collab

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.

12.23 SPIDERMAN

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