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Emami wants more of Disney

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One year after tying up with to produce and market Disney’s school and fashion bags in India, the Emami Group is moving to grab a bigger share of the pie with more licences.

Emami has the exclusive rights to distribute school bags in India of Disney characters like ‘Hannah Montana’, ‘Princess’ and ‘Jungle Book’. Mohan Goenka, director, Emami, says, “We are looking at licences for different products and more characters for school bags.”

While Emami procures the bags from China, it has the exclusive distribution rights in India for schoolbags of specific Walt Disney characters. Disney gets a fixed royalty for the total number of products sold through Emami.

The Emami Group owns two very strong and reputed Kolkata retail brands - Frank Ross and Starmark. Frank Ross was established in 1906 and is the leading pharmacy chain in Kolkata with over 20 outlets. Starmark is one of the leading book and music retailers in the city with four large-format stores – all located in premium malls.

Gautam Jatia, director, Emami Frank Ross, says, “We are currently distributing Disney’s back packs and fashion bags in India. We are negotiating for more categories. As Disney introduces new shows and franchisees, our portfolio of products to be distributed for them is also likely to increase.” For Emami’s retail venture, Disney is its strongest property, Jatia says.

“The tie-up is only a year old. Our target is to sell 100,000 school bags this year and as we expand our distributor network and add more characters and categories, we would soon be able to increase sales to 500,000 Disney school bags a year,” Jatia says.

The branded merchandise market in India is estimated at around Rs 1,050 crore. Of this, character merchandise accounts for Rs 1,000 crore with film merchandise accounting for the balance Rs 50 crore.

For school bags in India, it is hard to estimate how large the market is because it is mostly unorganised with several dominant local manufacturers. Data from market research firms suggest that around 700,000 students in the top five metros come from families with enough purchasing power to interest retailers and companies.

For Emami, however, getting into character merchandise distribution is in sync with its intention to look at multiple sources of revenue, to combat seasonality. The company is also bullish on its retail businesses and feels that getting into merchandise distribution is also a part of the strategy.

Unlike film merchandise, which has a shelf life of 10-12 weeks – allowing merchandisers to move in and move out before the knock-offs had even arrived – character merchandising is a greater challenge, especially if the official merchandise is expensive, thereby encouraging the demand for cheaper knock-offs.

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