The Leomil group has decided to diversify into clothing to offer a “total look” around its licensed children’s characters to go wherever possible with its new point-of-sale merchandising system, which is expected to be implemented in at least 1,500 shops this Spring. The group has set up a new dedicated subsidiary, Leomil Fashion, with 8 employees at a new office in Lille for Southern Europe and a with 5 employees for the rest of Europe at its main office in Holland.

Capitalizing on the sourcing capabilities of Leomil’s office in Hong Kong, the new division became operative this month with the first deliveries under licenses that Leomil has signed for both shoes and apparel, such as Puca and Yugako, or for apparel only, such as Power Ranger. The items are mostly children’s T-shirts, light trousers and pajamas.

Another new line of children’s footwear and clothing was launched by Leomil at the GDS fair in Düsseldorf last month under the name of Schnappi, a little crocodile, based on a children’s song, that has become a huge success in all the Germanic countries and in Holland. Leomil has a global license for Schnappi, which claims an audience of about 30 million viewers on TV and on the internet.

According to Leomil, the development of broader lines and merchandising concepts is a great tool being made available to specialty retailers to fight against discounters like Aldi. Leomil’s big French-based competitor, TSS, which licenses famous characters from the comics of Disney and Warner Brothers for children’s footwear, has been selling its own line of children’s clothing, called Kid’s Mania, for 5-6 seasons now. Sales of the line have targeted mainly at to large and small specialty retailers in Italy and Spain.

On the other hand, TSS set up an Italian sales and product development subsidiary in Milan, with a department for the design of shoes and apparel, particularly for the Italian and Spanish markets. Complementing its central design department near Paris, it works also for some outside clients such as Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, the Spanish fashion designer. The new subsidiary is run by Jessica Rouboud, who was already handling the company’s sales in Italy. TSS is also considering setting up its own sales subsidiary in Holland.

A new footwear collection has been successfully launched by TSS for Europe and the Middle East to coincide with the screening of a new Batman movie produced by Warner Bros., starting in the 2nd half of June. TSS is also doing well in France and the UK with a new children’s footwear line inspired by “Le Manège Enchanté” (Magic Roundabout), a movie of Pathé Cinema. TSS has global licensing rights for this movie, and it’s considering selling the line also in the USA through its partner there, S. Goldberg.