NOSTALGIA HIGHLIGHTS LICENSING SHOW

NEW YORK -- Trends evoking nostalgic times and blockbuster-entertainment character properties like Spider-Man dominated the 22nd annual Licensing 2002 International trade show held here recently.Icons from the 1980s like Strawberry Shortcake, He-Man and the Care Bears -- all well-represented on the show floor -- bring familiarity and comfort to consumers, said Jeffrey Orridge, vice president, worldwide

NEW YORK -- Trends evoking nostalgic times and blockbuster-entertainment character properties like Spider-Man dominated the 22nd annual Licensing 2002 International trade show held here recently.

Icons from the 1980s like Strawberry Shortcake, He-Man and the Care Bears -- all well-represented on the show floor -- bring familiarity and comfort to consumers, said Jeffrey Orridge, vice president, worldwide licensing, boys/entertainment, Mattel, El Segundo, Calif. Mattel produces the He-Man and Masters of the Universe properties. Merchandise for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe will include footwear, posters and wall calendars. The Strawberry Shortcake property will roll out with toys, books and apparel, among other products, starting in spring 2003.

Entertainment character properties got a boost from the "Spider-Man" and "Star Wars" hit movies this year, said Charles Riotto, president of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association here, and the sponsor of the show. Entertainment properties accounted for $42 billion in U.S. retail sales last year and should continue to thrive this year with the release of popular film sequels like "Austin Powers" and "Harry Potter." "The movie-based segment of licensing got off to a flying start this spring with two blockbuster hits, and there is more to come in a year that looks to be the biggest and brightest yet for film properties," he said.

Another trend tapped at the show came from not-for-profit properties, including mugs, Dalmatian plush toys and other merchandise from the Fire Department of New York.