The Simpsons store: a new retail phenomenon?

The SimpsonsThe Simpsons is about to expand offscreen into a retail store network, with two flagships confirmed as the first global outlets for the popular animated US TV series.

Beijing and Shanghai will be home to the world’s first The Simpsons stores because the 27-year-old show is familiar to Chinese audiences and Simpsons products have already been a success, reportsChina Daily. A network of 100 retail stores is planned to follow.

Opening in the fashion district of Sanlitun in March, the Beijing store will be the first bricks-and-mortarSimpsons store in the world. The second store will be launched in Shanghai in June, according to 20th Century Fox Consumer Products president Jeffrey Godsick. Its location has yet to be announced, but it is expected to be in a high-traffic mall similar to the one in Beijing.

Fox launched Simpsons products in China in collaboration with fashion brands nearly three years ago. It started to team up with Chinese retailers 18 months ago before deciding to open the stores last year to tap growing interest.

Godsick says the products released in China sold out quickly, and there were routinely a three-hour queue for people to enter the fashion brand store in Shanghai that launched Simpsons products.

Already, Walt Disney has led the way by opening its first flagship store in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area in May last year. The world’s largest Disney store, it offers more than 2000 categories of products.

“China’s movie and television industry will bring a lot of investment opportunities for derivative product sales,” Professor Zeng Hongshan of Zhongnan University of Economics & Law has told theChina Economic Herald.

Derivative products of Star Wars have created about $30 billion worth of business, and in 2013 and 2014 alone generated about $4.6 billion for Disney, China National Radio has reported.

Meanwhile, the Simpsons stores will cover about 250 sqm and offer about 200 products including T-shirts, hats, jackets, pants, cellphone cases, lifestyle accessories, stationery, shoes, sneakers and socks.

Between 25 and 50 per cent of the products will be sold exclusively through Simpsons stores, says Godsick.

“We will continue to design individual consumer products for each of our movies and TV shows in China, and ultimately grow our brand as a company,” he says.

In October 2014, a Simpsons World app was launched in China, allowing fans to watch all 500-plus episodes of the series for free.

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