What Happens in Vegas... Goes Global!

The latest on-site inspection last month of the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Convention Center was particularly rewarding and gratifying and was the most promising indication that Licensing International Expo in Las Vegas (June 2

April 6, 2018

3 Min Read

The latest on-site inspection last month of the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Convention Center was particularly rewarding and gratifying and was the most promising indication that Licensing International Expo in Las Vegas (June 2–4) will be the best ever. Every brand licensing and retail executive will finally realize that the LIMA board of directors' decision to relocate to Las Vegas was undeniably the right one. i1_646.jpg

Our recent site tour of Mandalay Bay exhibit space featured a walk-through of Project, the contemporary and directional sportswear show, held in conjunction with MAGIC, which also is part of the Licensing Expo's parent company, Advanstar Communications.

As soon as our group arrived at the entrance to Project, we all realized that despite the economic slowdown, there was a huge buzz and a lot of business being conducted. The aisles of Project were overflowing with eager buyers, hot models and the latest and hippest, contemporary looks. And the exhibit space, registration area and surrounding conference rooms were all well-designed, decorated and homogenous, versus the scattered, sterile environment of Javits.

The fact is that like the thousands of apparel buyers last month at Project, savvy brand licensing and retail executives also realize the future is all about new ideas, and the proven place to find them is walking the aisles of Licensing International Expo.

Furthermore, with many new booth designs and enhancements, the show floor will be even more dramatic and exciting than Project and last year's final dance at Javits Center in New York.

As President Barack Obama and the new administration continue to spearhead fresh ideas and global change, as licensors unveil new properties and ideas for growth and as retailers turn to new strategies for the future, there's never been a better time to find unique and innovative opportunities.

One thing is certain and evidenced at Project, MAGIC and Toy Fair, it's not the time to hide and be cynical.

Many retailers, like companies in other industries, are fighting for survival, adapting new strategies and planning for the future. And brand licensing is a key component of these efforts.

  • Target, which has historically maximized the merchandising opportunities of licensed products, will be focusing on food, health and HBC to drive traffic in stores.

  • Macy's will continue to exploit its local/community strategy called My Macy's in order to tailor its merchandise mix to suit different markets' needs.

  • Hot Topic, which had huge success merchandising Twilight in fourth quarter 2008, will continue to promote trendy licensed products to its core customers.

  • Gamestop, riding the wave of interactive/gaming popularity, will look to licensing to extend its merchandise offerings to its fan base.

  • Gap and Old Navy reportedly will also embrace licensing as both retailers try to engage customers and boost sales.

These are just a few examples—or bona fide business opportunities—awaiting licensing executives at this year's Licensing International Expo.

It's a world of change, and as President Obama urged during his primary acceptance speech about changing America and dealing with "cynicism and doubt and fear and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of the American people in three simple words—yes, we can."

For licensing and retail executives, it's time to rewrite the famous Las Vegas slogan to "When it comes to licensing, what happens in Vegas ... goes global!

Georgiann DeCenzoExecutive vice president Advanstar Global Licensing Group

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