Friday, April 18, 2014

Running Out of Dresses

It's not just about a billion-plus in theatrical grosses.

... Toys, dolls, and clothes have always been a big part of strategy at Disney, the world’s largest licensing company. Even so, it’s hit an unexpected merchandise jackpot with Elsa, the Snow Queen of Arendelle, and her ice gown. “It took everyone by surprise worldwide,” says Stephen Berman, chief executive officer at Jakks Pacific (JAKK), a manufacturer that sells to chains such as Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) and Target (TGT). “This is a new Disney princess franchise. It happens maybe once or twice in a business career.” In January, stores sold out of Jakks’s version—price, $20—and some retailers are ponying up to airlift reinforcements from Chinese factories.

Buyers stocked only about as many of the ice gowns as they did Rapunzel outfits from Disney’s 2010 Tangled. But since its Nov. 22 opening, Frozen has become the top-grossing animated film of all time, with worldwide theater receipts of $1.1 billion When shipments do come in, Disney stores limit customers to two dresses to curb black market sales.

Tasia Filippatos, a Disney spokesperson, declined to comment on the size of the Frozen merchandise market. ...

The market is BIG, but retailers initially got faked out.

Early on, Elsa dress sales were slow and stores thought they’d over-ordered. “There was big uh-oh moment at the beginning,” O’Loughlin said.

Then kids fell in love with the movie princess, who has a kingdom trapped in ice and a sister, Anna, who searches for her across the tundra.

As sales began to climb and orders poured in after the Christmas holiday, Jakks had trouble restocking because of Chinese New Year, which shut down manufacturing in that country for a month until mid-February. Much of the “Frozen” merchandise is made in China. ...

So Diz Co. has played catch up with the merchandise thingie ... and shy about saying how lucrative it is. However, we know one thing for certain sure. If all those people inside the Hat Building hadn't made the movie, then the dresses wouldn't be flying off the shelves.


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