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Sears Obtains the Right to Market Disney Characters

November 19, 1987|KEITH BRADSHER | Times Staff Writer

Walt Disney Co. and Sears, Roebuck & Co. announced a 10-year joint marketing and licensing agreement Wednesday as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Goofy, Pluto, Cinderella and one of Snow White's dwarfs gamboled in the aisles and across the stage of the Chicago auditorium where the deal was announced.

Chicago-based Sears, the nation's largest retailer, obtained for use in consumer products the exclusive rights to characters from future Disney movies and limited rights to characters from already-released Disney full-length feature movies. Sears is considering putting the characters on everything from towels and sporting goods to toys and apparel, spokeswoman Susan Duchak said.

As another part of the agreement, Disney, headquartered in Burbank, gained Sears as the sponsor for "Great Moments at the Movies," the centerpiece attraction of a new theme park under construction at Walt Disney World resort outside Orlando, Fla. Sears also will sponsor and sell its products through a "Hollywood Showcase Store" at the theme park, named Disney-MGM Studios, which is scheduled to open in spring, 1989.

The deal is a good one for Disney because licensing its characters produces fat revenues at little cost, said Robert J. Brown, an associate vice president of Pemberton, Houston, Willoughby, Bell, Gouinlock, a brokerage in Vancouver, British Columbia. "In terms of operating profits, the profits are obscene," he said. "The revenues are going to have a disproportionate effect on the bottom line."

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