Holiday shoppers are seeing spots, thanks to a Dalmatian invasion led by Walt Disney Co. The entertainment giant has licensed images from its remake of "101 Dalmatians" to 130 vendors, which are churning out tons of shirts, beach towels, skates and toys for a willing public. Reports Target spokeswoman Susan Ickes: "Anything with Dalmatians is hot."
The spotted pups aren't expected to outsell the cubs of Disney's "The Lion King," the 1994 film that grossed an estimated $1 billion in merchandise sales. One reason: Competing vendors have unleashed hordes of unlicensed Dalmatian merchandise. Marty Brockstein of the Licensing Letter explained Disney's dilemma: "You can't trademark black spots."