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Key buyers lend support to Licensing Awards judging

Judging for the Product categories took place at the Emirates on July 2.

Some 150 retail buyers made their way to Arsenal’s Emirates stadium yesterday (July 2) for the judging of the Product categories in this year’s Licensing Awards.

Over 4,000 products were on display at the North London venue including a record number of entries in the apparel category for this year.

Every major retailer was represented, with buyers from a variety of categories attending to cast their votes.

These included Forbidden Planet, M&Co, Toymaster, John Lewis, The Entertainer, Games Workshop, Moonpig, Sainsbury’s Argos, Tesco, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s Tu, River Island, George @Asda, WH Smith, Character.com, Next, Tesco F&F, House of Cards, Miniclub, FatFace, Paulton’s Park, Debenhams, TruffleShuffle, Halfords, Geek Universe, Geek is Chic, Matalan, Merlin Entertainment, Mothercare, Primark, Hamleys and JoJo Maman Bébé.

In addition, this was further bolstered by 35 delegates from the Brand Licensing Europe Retail Mentoring Programme, giving them an opportunity to view products in their own categories and beyond.

“This year’s product judging day was an absolute joy, as a true reflection of the diversity and innovation in the licensed product arena,” said Jakki Brown, joint md of Max Publishing, which owns and organises The Licensing Awards. “It was not only the sheer number of buyers who were fully engaged in the task at hand, but how collectively they spanned the entire retailing spectrum. From leading grocers to specialist multiples, department stores to online and fast-fashion high street chains.

“As well as many leading senior buyers, the judging panel also included newcomers, buying assistants and merchandisers with a strong engagement from those on the BLE Retail Mentoring Programme.

“Overall it was a tremendous day and a true exhibition of licensing.”

Kristian Chester, assistant buyer at Next and part of the RMP, commented: “It’s been great to see all the product and to get an idea of what other players are doing in the licensing space. Licensing is definitely an area that we are looking to grow.”

The finalists in the Product categories of The Licensing Awards will be announced by the end of July.

(Main image, left to right: Mark Court (The Entertainer), Kasha Tarasiuk (Tesco), Jay Binstead (Forbidden Planet), Caroline Bromilow (John Lewis), Pete Selby (WH Smith) and Laura Bennett (Miniclub).)

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