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First Word--June 2005

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It was 1980 when the business of licensing got the spotlight it deserved. Now a $172.7 billion business based on 2003 worldwide retail sales of licensed merchandise (License! estimate), we salute the 25th anniversary of Licensing International Show with our cover: More than 60 companies, in addition to License!'s and LIMA's archived photos, submitted photos for our mosaic, created by Robert Silvers of PhotoMosaic; the background cityscape was photographed by Patrice Argant.

While you can take a walk through Licensing International Show's 25-year-history, I thought it apropos to provide a little retail history from some of the nation's top retailers:

  • In 1980, Wal-Mart's sales were $1.2 billion, compared with 2005 sales of $285.2 billion.
  • From 1964 to 1979, Federated Department Stores increased its number of stores by 400 percent, and annual sales quadrupled to $4.8 billion. In 2005, Federated acquired May Co. Combined, the retailer accounts for $30 billion in annual sales.
  • In 1979, Target Stores became Dayton-Hudson Corporation's top revenue producer. In 1982, revenue was $5 billion; today, Target Corporation's sales are $46.8 billion.
  • In 1978, the first Home Depot was opened in Atlanta, GA. Today, there are 1,800 stores, and sales are $73.1 billion.
  • In 1981, Kmart opened door number 2,000. In 2004, Kmart and Sears joined hands, making the duo a $55.8 billion retailer.
  • In 1980, sales at Kroger Company topped $10 billion. Today, sales are $56.4 billion.
  • In 1977, Ahold entered the U.S. market for the first time, acquiring the BI-LO supermarket chain in the Carolinas and Georgia. In 1981, it acquired its second U.S. supermarket, Giant Food Stores. Today, the supermarket's sales are $46.2 billion.
  • During the 1980s, Albertson's concentrated on building bigger stores with wider aisles; spacious parking lots; and specialty departments such as service delis, meat and fish counters, and salad bars, creating a one-stop shopping experience. Today, Albertson's sales top $40 billion.

Changes and growth for retail and for the licensing business certainly can be attributed to consumer tastes and preferences. The 1980s was a decade of conspicuous consumption... no other decade in recent history compares. To update you on the latest consumer spending habits, dollars available from each demographic and ethnic group, and size of each demographic and ethnic group, Managing Editor Lorri Freifeld compiled all of the data in one easy-to-use report. This issue—our biggest of the year—is filled with ongoing trends and new trends to watch; properties to watch in 2006 and beyond; an international market watch; upcoming movie and DVD releases; and exclusive stories from Disney Consumer Products, MGM, and National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Have a fantastic, concept-driven Licensing International Show...and happy reading!

JOYCEANN COONEY jcooney@advanstar.com

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