Close on the heels of its licensee arrangements with Archies and Pantaloons for gifting products and apparel, respectively, media & entertainment giant Walt Disney, has entered into a merchandising tie-up with Sierra Enterprises (national trade channel partner of Nike in India) for its kids shoes.
Sierra is set to launch Walt Disney shoes sometime close to Diwali. This will also coincide with the scheduled launch of Disney’s entertainment Channel, and the accompanying media blitz should have a positive rub-off on the marketing initiatives for the shoes.
Disney could well be the first international kids brand to enter the country officially. There is a huge market for imported kids shoes currently from China, in the price range of Rs 500-1000, says brand consultant for Disney shoes BD Nathani.‘‘Our market research survey shows a vacuum in the kids category in the Rs 500-900 segment which is where the Chinese imported shoes are present. We find that there is a demand for these shoes and the guarantee and after-sales service we can provide will help us tap this market,’’ he says.
Other major players in the Rs 100-crore organised kids segment include Liberty, Action and Bata. Liberty, with its ‘Footfun’ kids shoes brand, is the leader in the category. Footfun, with annual sales of Rs 40 crore, enjoys a 40 per cent market share.
‘‘However, these brands do not offer us competition in the segment we will be targeting. Liberty is very strong in the semi-urban and rural markets too. For us the competition would come mainly from imported kids shoes like Barbie shoes for instance, which have just been launched by Bata,’’ says Mr Nathani.
Disney’s range will include booties, sandals, sports shoes and slip-ons for kids up to 10 years, priced between Rs 165-Rs 895. The first Disney characters to be introduced on the shoes/sandals will be Winnie the Pooh and Disney Princess.
‘‘Visibility will be a major factor and the company is planning a media blitz which will exploit its synergies with other Disney properties like Disney Channel, which is to be launched in mid-November and a Disney film Incredible which is due for release around the same time. Quizzes and a range of contests are being planned on the channel,” he adds.
Also on the anvil is a tie-up with PVR cinema for promotions during Incredible’s release and to tap its 20,000-member Kids Club through mailers. It also plans to tie up with schools for promotions. However, print advertising will be limited to kids magazines like Parenting.
‘‘Our distribution plan is simple: we will initially focus on the major metros followed by state capitals, through 700-800 multi-brand outlets. We would also look at channel partners like Shoppers’ Stop, Westside, Lifestyle and Loft, besides kids stores like Ginny & Jonny, Weekender Kids and Lilliput,” he says.
Regarding sourcing, 60 per cent will be sourced from Disney’s license holder in China and 40 per cent locally.
The Disney Consumer Products division is one of the largest licensors in the world. The division is divided into three segments: Disney Hardlines, Softlines (apparel, shoes & accessories) and toys.