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The licensing sector wants a more professional retail industry

According to the roundtable that took place during the Licensing Forum

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Retailers need a licensing manager in order to take advantage of all the business opportunities presented by this industry. This was one of the conclusions of the roundtable on the growing power of retail, held within the framework of the Licensing Forum, which took place on September 12 at Ifema. The session examined the weight and influence of retailers in the licensing business, and exposed some ideas about how to address the relationship between retailers and other industry players.

The roundtable began with an overview of the toy retail business in Europe, by Fernando Pérez, director of the NPD Group in Spain. Pérez noted the strong presence of the online channel, especially in the UK, where it accounts for 31.1% of sales, and in Germany, where it reaches 22.99%. By comparison, this figure is less than 3% in Spain.

Pérez also noted that throughout Europe retailers tend to focus on a few brands with a shrinking life cycle. All this because the citizens are consuming less, going for deals and offers, buying toys only during special occasions, and stressing the seasonality of the business and the commitment to brands and products with good value for money.

Pau Pascual, director of Copyright Promotions Licensing Group Iberia, explained that the relationship between agents and retailers is difficult. First because licensors and agents "had not taken into consideration the retail industry as they do now” until one or two years ago, when they began to introduce their properties to retailers. And second because "retailers lack professionalism - there are no criteria for making decisions about buying some licenses and not others".

Jose María Cendra, VP at Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products, agreed with many of the comments made by Pascual, and added that retailers opt for strong properties, due to uncertainties. Cendra explained that he would also like more commitment on the retailer’s part. However, he also noted that he expects an improvement in sales during the upcoming holiday season.

From FNAC, José Manuel Cuesta, coordinator of the Spanish center region, recalled the importance of licensing for the sales of a business, music, with declining revenues, and pointed to the possibilities that this industry offers to retailers, citing the M&M's London store. "There is a lot of imagination in the licensing business," he added.

Isidre Garriga, director of large distributors at Panini Iberia, explained that many retailers just want recognized brands and regretted that they sometimes do not bet on the classical and educational offer of some companies such as his. He also explained that retailers needed to count with a licensing manager working as "a single contact for all departments."

This event focused on licensing was organized by the trade magazine Licencias Actualidad with the support of LIMA, and was attended by over 150 professionals representing 87 companies .

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