New retailers and categories join BLE’s Retail Mentoring Programme

A whole host of new retailers have joined Brand Licensing Europe’s Retail Mentoring Programme.

The mentees on this year’s course, which is now CPD accredited, represent numerous retail categories and departments, including buyers, marketers and designers from apparel, gift, toys and leisure.

Stand out additions to the programme include: online retailer Character.com, specialist toy buying group Toymaster; fashion and apparel retailers M&Co; one of the largest supermarket chains in the UK, Morrisons; and the UK’s largest cinema chain ODEON and UCI Cinemas Group.

Anna Knight, BLE brand director, said: “This year, we have worked hard to recruit retailers in new categories and in so doing have also seen growth in the number of designers, marketers and merchandisers joining the programme. It’s the most diverse line-up we’ve seen for a number of years.

“We would urge any retailers who are looking to learn more about licensing to sign-up before it’s we reach capacity – which seems imminent.”

Teams from The Entertainer, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Halfords, Matalan and Sainsbury’s Tu are also confirmed for the 2017 programme.

Head of licensing at Tesco, Rachel Wakley, said: “We are delighted to support the retail mentoring initiative. We have nominated a number of our colleagues to be a part of the programme, as it offers a unique insight into the world of licensing that is impossible to get anywhere else.

“As it is an on-going programme throughout the year, the scheme enables participants to experience many different aspects of our industry, as well as broaden their network and experience.”

For the first time, the retailers who complete the course will receive CPD accreditation which will help to enhance their individual career paths.

Ms Knight added: “It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to enhance these young professional’s careers and skill sets within licensing. They are after all the future of this industry.”

The Retail Mentoring Programme is still the only scheme of its kind in the UK. Run as part of BLE, which is organised by UBM and sponsored by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), the programme is designed to give buying and merchandising professionals a deeper understanding of the licensing industry. Graduates from the 2016 programme include representatives from Marks & Spencer, Halfords, Claire’s Accessories, ASDA, and Mothercare.

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