World Wrestling Entertainment is pushing a boutique merchandising strategy to retail nationally in 2008, following F.Y.E.â€™s success with the concept.
In the promotional boutiques, multiple lines of WWE items are displayed together, including DVDs, videogames, toys, apparel and posters. Installations will be built around March 25 releases Triple H: The King of Kings, The Greatest Superstars of Wrestlemania and No Way Out 2008.
Throughout this year, WWE will pitch mass merchants, electronics stores and grocers, as well as specialty outlets such as F.Y.E., to build the boutique sections within stores. They are not designed to be permanent installations, but rather promotional vehicles to help make events out of the release of WWEâ€™s latest DVDs, which are distributed through Genius Products.
WWE declined to name specific accounts that will participate, but sources indicated that Wal-Mart from March 25 through the first week in April will merchandise videogames, action figures and apparel in conjunction with the spring DVD and the leagueâ€™s Wrestlemania 24 pay-per-view event.
Along with shelving WWEâ€™s March 25 titles, Wal-Mart also will stock the 2008 version of THQ videogame Smackdown vs. Raw and a PlayStation 2 console/software bundle. There also will be Jakks Pacific action figures, Hybrid T-shirts and new Columbia Records CD WWE: The Music, Vol. 8.
WWE will offer a similar product mix to other retailers.
â€œThis really is one of the biggest consumer programs WWE has done,â€ said Joel Satin, the companyâ€™s VP of home entertainment. â€œWe are listening to what retailers want, and they want to find a competitive edge. They want to increase the market basket as much as they can, and what better way to do that than to pull all the product together for fans all in one place.â€
Between 2006 and 2007, WWE disc sales at F.Y.E. lifted by double-digits following the chainâ€™s decision to create a regular WWE boutique last year. Overall, for 2007, WWE titles claimed seven of the Top 10 sports titles, according to the company, including its bestseller Wrestlemania 23.
â€œF.Y.E. [executives] took it upon themselves to strategize [WWE] product around key periods, such as a holiday or new DVD,â€ said Satin. â€œNow, we are being more proactive to go after other big retailers with these shops.â€
He added, â€œI think this can be a big traffic builder into the stores. We have such a wide array of licensed product. But you need to pick a point [like a DVD release date] where you can make sure you have traffic coming through. This is no different from a theatrical movie coming out and building the licensed product around it.â€
WWEâ€™s drive for a greater presence in stores coincides with stronger competition recently from rival DVD line Ultimate Fighting Championship. In the past year, UFC has made inroads securing its own multi-product branded sections at Spencerâ€™s Gifts and F.Y.E.
Additionally, the store-within-a-store concept has been recently popping up outside of DVD sellers. Last year, Texas electronics outlet Bjornâ€™s opened a Sony Style hardware dedicated store within its floor space.
Credit: Video Business