Inside Licensing News and Notes, April 12, 2018

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Mattel Closes New York Office

Mattel is closing its New York office in a cost-cutting move that will affect 100 employees. Most will be relocated to other offices, including those in East Aurora, NY (Fisher-Price headquarters), Middleton, WI (American Girl headquarters) and London (Thomas & Friends offices), a Mattel spokesman said. Mattel last fall launched a cost-cutting effort designed to wring $650 million in savings over two years, a third of which was to be achieved this year. Mattel has struggled with sales in recent years and was the top unsecured creditor when Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy last September.

Contact:

Mattel,Joseph Euteneuer, Chief Financial Officer, 310-252-2000, joseph.euteneuer@mattel.com

 

Dave & Buster’s Readying Virtual Reality Platform with Film Franchise

Dave & Busters will launch its virtual reality (VR) platform this summer, pairing it with a “very well-known Hollywood film franchise,” CEO Steve King told analysts.

The restaurant/amusements chain has been testing VR-based systems for more than two years, having started in 2015 at a Milpitas, Cal. store with VRStudios’ wireless head-mounted display and “pistol” controller along with optical tracking technology. The new platform will “enable us rotate content and capitalize on emerging opportunities for several years,” King said.

The company’s net income  in Q4 ended March 31 Dave & Buster’s Q4 net income rose 29% to $35.6 million as revenue rose 12.9% to $304.9 million. Traffic “remained weak” despite the addition of some new licensed games, including those tied to “Tomb Raider” and Rampage, King said. Same-store revenue declined 5.9% due to both bad weather.

Dave & Buster’s plans to open 14-15 stores this year and sees room for 250 locations in the U.S., including some with its recently introduced 17,000 square foot format, which is about half the size of standard existing locations. The first small format store opened earlier this year in Rogers, AR.

Contact:

Dave & Buster’s, Steve King, CEO, 214-357-9588

 

Agencies:

IMG Licensing is representing Epic Games’ popular Fortnite title as the game moves into a broad licensing program for the first time. Merchandise, including hoodies and t-shirts, has been available through a Fortnite store on Amazon. The game, which features survivors of a global storm battling zombies, has more than 40 million players. It has been available for paid early access  since last July across Windows, Macintosh OS, iPhone, Sony Playstation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One and will be released as a full free-to-play game later this year. The game had more than three million concurrent users in late March… Brand Liaison is handling licensing for Sofie Dossi, a self-taught contortionist and hand balancer, whose popularity on YouTube rose after she won a competition in 2016 on “America’s Got Talent” by shooting an arrow with her feet while balanced on her hands. Dossi also last year performed in a series of halftime shows during NBA and college games, and has 1.4 million YouTube subscribers. Brand Liaison is seeking license Dossi into apparel, beauty and haircare products.

Contacts:

IMG Licensing, Randy Klein, VP Licensing, 424-653-1878, randy.klein@img.com

Brand Liaison, Steven Heller, Pres.,855-843-5424 x702, Steve@thebrandliaison.com

 

Lenox Corp. Readies Domino Magazine Branded Dinnerware

Lenox Corp. is taking a three-pronged distribution approach to its licensed dinnerware deal with interior design magazine Domino. The Domino by Lenox line will feature three distinct collections targeting separate retailers ( “Gradiance” for Anthropologie,  “Technic” for Bloomingdale’s, and Optique for other retailers.

The Domino license is part of a larger effort by Lenox to reach millennial consumers more familiar with the that brand than with Lenox’s own label, says Chief Marketing Officer Michele Barbone.  Meanwhile, with the Kate Spade under the new ownership of Tapestry (formerly Coach),Lenox, which has the license for dinner and kitchenware, expects to expand its assortment of gift-related products, says Barbone.  Lenox will seek to its line off premium-priced Kate Spade gift products. “It is a very stable business and I am looking forward to a fresh infusion of idea so we can continue to grow it,” says Carbone.

Contacts:

Lenox Corp., Michele Barbone, Chief Marketing Officer, 267-525-7800, michele_barbone@lenox.com