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.

 

 

Line Friends cozies up to GUND for plush deal

Spin Master subsidiary GUND has revealed a new collection of plush for the Line Friends character brand.

The collaboration will lead to a plush line featuring Line Friends characters as part of a 15-item collection. Line Friends’ four signature characters, Brown, Choco, Cony and Sally, will each get an item in the line.

“GUND is an iconic brand, known for creating quality, premium plush for over a century,” says Lauren Duchene, vice president, marketing, GUND. “Our trusted legacy combined with the hugely successful Line Friends brand creates the ultimate collaboration to bring these unforgettable characters into the arms of the ever-growing Millennial fan base.”

The announcement follows the recent grand opening of a Line Friends store in Los Angeles, Calif.

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/toys/line-friends-cozies-gund-plush-deal

Spin Master is New DC Comics Licensee for Action Figures and More

Just before the holiday break, at a time when companies normally try to bury bad news, Spin Master announced that had signed a deal with Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) to be the DC global licensee for boys’ action figures, remote control and robotic figures, games, puzzles and water toys. The three-year deal is effective in Spring 2020.

Rights in most (if not all) of those categories have long been held by Mattel. Spin Master, Mattel and WBCP officials weren’t available for comment. Mattel has had licensing agreements with WBCP across a range of properties since 2002.

The agreement will give Spin Master access to the range of DC characters, including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Joker, Justice League and The Flash. It’s expected that Mattel will continue to hold rights for girls’ toys with the DC Super Hero Girls license and preschool.

Gerrick Johnson, toy industry analyst for BMO Capital Markets, issued a comment Monday noting that for Mattel, “Initially, this loss will not look good to the press or stock market, but the license is not important to [its] turnaround. We believe the segments lost represent less than $50 million in annual run rate sales, and an impact of under $0.05 per share. The core business is often augmented by movie tie-ins. However, over the past several years, movie tie-ins have not shown growth and have been mostly underperforming expectations….

“While [Mattel] has not commented,” he continues, “we suspect the company sees better growth opportunities and return in investment in its own brands. [Spin Master] did not comment of the cost of the license, but if Warner had demanded high royalty rates and minimum guarantees, it could have made sense for the company to walk away. Mattel can potentially re-bid for the license in three years when the company is on firmer footing, as we expect it to do with Disney Princess when that license is up for renewal.” Also up for renewal in 2020 are Hasbro’s pacts for Marvel and Star Wars.

For Spin Master, the pact is the most recent in a series of licensing deals it has signed this year, including one announced this fall with Feld Entertainment (Monster Jam).

Spin Master President Ben Gadbois said in a press release that the DC license marks a “major milestone” for the company and is part of its strategy to invest in “successful licenses” that “further grow and diversify our business.”