Disney's Retail Business Booms


The International Licensing Expo is underway in New York City, providing a perfect backdrop for Disney to announce the impressive results from its consumer products division.

Retail sales of licensed Disney merchandise is expected to break records and top $30 billion in global retail sales, up from $27 billion last year, and up from $13 billion just five years before that.

The big source of that impressive growth -- The Disney Princess franchise, which brings together and revives the classic princess characters, and newer brands like blow-out hit High School Musical. And now Disney's expanding on the success of the Princess franchise with a new Fairies franchise, and continuing to grow Pixar brands like "Cars" and "Toy Story." These brands make Disney the world's top licensor, according to the International Licensing Industry Merchandiser's Association.

And while Disney's licensing might first bring to mind the likes of kid-friendly brands Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh, Disney's "tween" businesses are taking off. High School Musical and Hannah Montana brought in some $400 million in 2007 but this year are expected to bring in $2.7 billion this year. With more tween franchises in the works -- the Jonas Brothers' big TV movie, "Camp Rock," launches on June 20 -- this pipeline seems poised for even more growth.

Impressive that even during an economic downturn, this division-- the smallest of Disney's four divisions-- is powering ahead. DIS stock is up today on this news--at the time of this posting.

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