Batman accessories flying at retail

Batman has been cleaning up at accessories counters as well as at the box office.

A full range of Batman accessories hit the department stores when the film opened in late June, and early response has exceeded manufacturers’ expectations.

D.C. Comics, where the “Batman” comic strip originated, licensed the name and logo to a number of accessories firms, some for department store distribution and other lines are geared toward the mass market. D.C. Comics is a division of Warner Communications, Inc., whose Warner Brothers, Inc., division made the film.

Macy’s Northeast was one of the first to carry the Batman watches and sunglasses. Joan Kaner, vice president and fashion director, said, “The Batman watches and sunglasses have been tremendous sellouts for us. I think the movie will stay in the theater for a while, and the products should continue to sell after that.”

Jerry Friedman, vice president of Status Eyes, the firm based in Long Island City, N.Y., holds the license for the sunglasses, which wholesale for $5.50, projected $3 million in sales the first year.

There is one basic style in the sunglass line. “We wanted them to be wearable for people of any age,” Friedman said. In addition to department and specialty stores, he said some movie theaters are selling the sunglasses.

Kosta Kartsotis, a principal at Fossil Time, Inc., the company putting out the watches for department stores, said, “We shipped the watches the first week in June, and got reorders five days later.” The watches wholesale for $22.

He said the 11 watch styles are simple and classic, with either Batman logos or action scenes on the faces, and leather straps.

“We wanted adults to buy them as collector’s items. This is not a new phenomenon, but a nostalgic return to an old comic book character with a history,” explained Kartsotis.

At the mass market level, Quintel Consort, a Chicago firm, holds the license for Batman watches. Ken Genender, president, projected $5 million to $7 million in first-year sales. The watches wholesale from $3 to $15, and are sold at chain stores and comic book shops.

Rosecraft, a costume jewelry firm here, has projected sales of $2 million to $3 million for its licensed Batman earrings and pins, according to Arlene Peller, vice president of sales. They wholesale for $2 and $3.

Other lines include nylon wallets and purses accesories by R.G.A. Accessories, here, and stretch belts and suspenders by Pyramid Belt Co., Inc., here, which will begin wholesaling next week.

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