Citing a weak holiday season, Gadzooks filed Chapter 11 and will close as many as 156 stores in the weeks ahead. The company has secured financing from Wells Fargo Retail Finance. To date, the chain has debts in excess of $42.5 million and assets of approximately $84.6 million. In July, the retailer stopped selling young men's apparel to focus on the female shopper ages 16 to 22.
Support for Catwoman
Warner Bros. Consumer Products tapped Briefly Stated, Inc., to create a line of women's, juniors', and 'tween loungewear and daywear inspired by the upcoming Catwoman film (due July 30, 2004). Shipping in June, the line includes cami-tops, boxer shorts, sleep Ts, dorm shirts, raglan tops, lounge pants, and tank tops. The daywear line includes cami-tops, boxers, boxer briefs, panties, and thongs. WBCP also teamed up with Henri Bendel on an exclusive collection of apparel, accessories, and other products based on Catwoman. The retailer also will theme its Fifth Avenue windows in conjunction with the film's release.
Tokyopop Inc. and Sony Pictures Consumer Products joined forces on a cine-manga version of Astro Boy. The Astro Boy cine-manga will capture all the onscreen action for readers this August with digital images taken directly from the animation. The show currently airs Saturday mornings on Kids' WB!.
PBS Kids Adds Two Licensees
PBS Kids Developmental Products extends its television presence with a licensing program that touches a variety of merchandise categories. On board as master toy licensee is Small World Toys with wooden toys, play and activity sets, puzzles, construction toys, building block sets, puppet theaters, musical instruments, play environments, dress-up accessories, and other items. Also supporting the program is Animal Adventure with a line of plush products including animals, puppets, and dress-up costumes and accessories. The products, due fall 2004, are not patterned after on-air characters but instead are inspired by the interstitials broadcast between all PBS Kids programs.
Brand Sense Marketing Nabs Two New Clients
Brand Sense Marketing, LLC, was selected as the exclusive licensing agency for Norton Motorsports, Inc., with a goal of extending the motorcycle and lifestyle brand into a variety of categories. The deal initially will focus on toys and games with licensees also being sought for die-cast, ride-on toys and vehicles, radio-controlled toys and vehicles, and video games. Brand Sense Marketing also was selected as the exclusive sponsorship sales and marketing agency for the CineVegas Film Festival. The six-year old festival is a showcase for independent, foreign, and mainstream films hosted by Las Vegas.
Hasbro Launches New Promotion
Hasbro kicked off its "Hit It Big with HitClips" promotion February 6 to mark the relaunch of the HitClips brand. As part of the promotion, 7- to 15-year-olds can call (866) HIT-2004 and perform their favorite songs for about 30 seconds. Judges will review all the recorded entries and choose 10 finalists who move on to the next round of judging. The second round of judging will take place March 1 through 12 online at http://www.HitItBig.Nick.com, where kids can listen to the finalists and vote for their three favorites. The winners will be announced in a HitClips commercial during Nickelodeon's 2004 Kids' Choice Awards April 3. The three 'tweens will win the chance to record their own single on a HitClips disc, appear in a HitClips TV commercial, and win a trip to attend the Kids' Choice Awards. In other news, Paramount Home Entertainment (PHE) plans to distribute G.I. Joe: Valor vs. Venom, a new full-length animated DVD/VHS movie featuring the iconic characters from Hasbro, Inc.'s G.I. Joe vs. Cobra saga. Produced by Reel FX Creative Studios, the movie is expected to be available in fall 2004. Hasbro's 2004 G.I. Joe vs. Cobra product line will be based on the G.I. Joe: Valor vs. Venom fantasy.
Boys to Sport MegaMan NT Warrior Apparel
ShoPro Entertainment will partner with Lollytogs Ltd. on a line of boys' apparel based on MegaMan NT Warrior. The animated TV series is based jointly on the Capcom game series and the Shogakukan "CoroCoro" comic book line. Kids' WB! recently extended its commitment to the series with a new season of 26 episodes on Saturday mornings beginning spring 2004.
Action Performance Revs Up Licensing Initiatives
Action Performance Companies Inc. was granted the exclusive rights from Hawk Sports Management to produce products depicting NASCAR driver Ricky Craven and his No. 32 Tide 2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo stock car through 2006. The merchandise will include die-cast race car replicas, apparel, and other merchandise for the collector and mass market.
In a multi-year licensing agreement with Marvel Enterprises, Inc., Electronic Arts will develop and distribute a new generation of fighting video games for all platforms pitting superheroes from the Marvel Universe against a new, original set of EA heroes. Additionally, EA granted Marvel the exclusive rights as worldwide licensing agent for all consumer products and media licensing for the new EA heroes. Marvel will publish new comic books introducing the EA characters.
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