Li & Fung President Says China’s Low Cost Era is Over
President and executive director of Li & Fung, Ltd., Bruce Rockowitz, told audience members at the Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit that he believed the low-cost era in China was likely over. Rockowitz said China was moving into “an era for higher prices,” citing greater commodities prices and labor costs.
Despite growing costs, Li & Fung will continue half of its production in China, switching to sourcing from China’s cheaper interior to its coastal area as infrastructure in the interior grows with high-speed railways.
Li & Fung said that China would continue to be its biggest sourcing country, followed by Vietnam. However, Rockowitz said the top 100 retailers only accounted for 10 percent of total domestic retail.
Sanrio Partners with MEGA for Construction Toys
Sanrio, Inc. and MEGA Brands, Inc. have entered into a North American licensing agreement to develop construction toys for young girls based on the Hello Kitty brand. Under the two-year agreement, MEGA Brands obtains the rights to develop construction toy sets based on the Hello Kitty brand, which will allow young girls to build, personalize, and collect their very own Hello Kitty world. The Mega Bloks-licensed product offerings will make their debut in the U.S., Canada and Mexico in the spring of 2011.
DreamWorks to Bring Troll Dolls to the Big Screen
DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. has signed an agreement with Denmark’s Dam Things to debut a movie based on the Good Luck Troll dolls. Sibling writers Adam Wilson and Melanie Wilson LaBracio (Evergone, The Impossible Adventures of Phineas Roone) will write the screenplay, and Dannie Festa of Festa Entertainment will serve as the executive producer. The Good Luck Troll dolls were created in 1959 when Danish fisherman and woodcutter Thomas Dam carved a doll based on a legendary Scandinavian troll as a Christmas present for his daughter. The dolls reached popularity in the 1960s and saw a resurgence of sales in the 1990s.
Dam Things is represented by Festa and Jay Handlin at Carlsmith Ball, LLP. Wilson and Wilson LaBracio are represented by Festa; Brad Rosenfeld at Preferred Artists; and Eric Suddleson of Felker Toczek Gellman Suddleson, LLP.
World Cup Spurs UK Toy Sales
According to The NPD Group, following tepid UK toy sales in April, May sales increased 12 percent while units rose 26 percent in comparison to May 2009. This is the first time since January that unit growth outpaced sales. Toys sold under £5 accounted for 73 percent of all units purchased in May, up 32 percent from the same month in 2009.
NPD reported that the No. 1 toy for May was Panini’s Official FIFA stickers. The stickers accounted for 29 percent of all units sold within the “all other” toys category for the month and averaged around 49 pence. Citing the “all other” category as a major source of growth, The NPD Group stated that value in this category was up 44 percent, while unit growth for the category rocketed, increasing 149 percent compared to last May. FIFA, Pro Sports, and Match Attax were the top three properties for the category.
Vivid Signs on for Moshi Monsters Toys
Mind Candy, the global developer and publisher of the free-to-play online game Moshi Monsters, has signed a master toy licensing deal with Vivid Imaginations. Vivid will launch Moshi Monster-branded toys across the UK, North America, Australia, and New Zealand starting next January. The initial toy line will include miniature collectibles and plush soft toys. Vivid will support the brand with TV advertising, online marketing, PR, and a fully integrated promotional plan for the Moshi Monsters fan base.
LIMA to Host Teen and Tween Webinar
On July 14, the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) will host a new webinar about Millennials, “Marketing to Teens & Tweens: Insights, Strategy, and Tactics.” The webinar will be hosted by Bill Carter, co-founder and partner of the marketing agency Fuse Youth Marketing.
The webinar, to be held 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. EDT, will aim to help licensors and licensees learn strategies and tactics for capturing tweens’ and teens’ attention, as well as building their trust and loyalty.
The webinar is free to current LIMA members and $99 for non-members. Registration will be accepted until 5 p.m. EDT on July 13. To register, click here.
Care Bears Products to Launch in Korea this Fall
American Greetings Properties is launching a licensing program for its Care Bears brand in Korea this fall. Working with Korean licensing agent Asiana Licensing Incorporated (ALI), the upcoming Care Bears merchandise will target kids, juniors, and babies.
Seh-A will develop stationery, pens, and notebooks for the brand, while Forever Times will create watches and hair accessories. American Greetings and Asiana will expand the program across major categories, including apparel. ALI will also feature the Care Bears at the Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival, held from July 21–25 at COEX in Seoul, Korea.
Lucasfilm Issues Cease and Desist to Maker of Pro Artic Laser
Lucasfilm has issued an immediate cease and desist to Wicked Lasers, the maker of Pro Artic Laser. The product resembles the lightsaber in the Star Wars film and is described by Wicked Lasers as “the most dangerous laser ever created” and that “extremely dangerous is an understatement.”
Lucasfilm’s General Counsel David Anderman stated that “the product is not licensed or approved by Lucasfilm in any way” and that the company strongly discourages consumers from buying it.