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BOCOG to Expand Its Retail Network
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The network of Olympic franchise outlets is to nearly triple throughout China this year as BOCOG recruits more distributors to sell Olympic licensed products.


The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) expects to increase its franchise network to 2,000 by the end of this year, up from the current 700 outlets, Tang Yonghong, chief of the Games' licensing and marketing division, said in Beijing yesterday.


BOCOG has also cut the price of Olympic licensed products by 6 to 8 percent from earlier this year.


The mascot Fuwa and other products, like everything else related to the Beijing Olympics, are becoming increasingly sought-after by both business and the public.


Sales of Beijing Olympics licensed products have already surpassed half of the total goal volume, according to Tang. Sales in the two years before the Olympics normally account for about 20 percent of the total, Tang said, citing the experience of both the Athens and Sydney Games.


Tang did not give details for the Beijing Olympics' expected total sales volume, but he said it could be huge.


"The current sales will be only a tiny part of the total sales volume," said Tang.


When the Games are held in 2008 there will be nearly 10,000 Olympic retail outlets, Tang said.


To further expand its network, BOCOG will allow retailers to recruit more regional distributors to sell the products from this year.


BOCOG has asked local retailers to decrease prices to make products more accessible to consumers. The organizer began price cuts in February. Both the organizer and the distributors have decreased their profit margins to benefit consumers, Tang said.


In the first two years, BOCOG controlled the number of retailers to build a positive image and to better manage the sales network. From this year, the organizer will quicken its pace to expand the number of chain stores.


BOCOG will develop distributors under the current 63 regional retailers. For now, distributors will have to meet certain requirements to get licenses. They must be registered with local industry and commerce authorities and have retail experience before they can apply.


Individual dealers are currently not allowed to sell the products, but they will be able to from the end of this year.


BOCOG also plans to sell $7million worth of franchise licenses to product sellers by the end of the Games. It has already distributed half of them.


The Xinhua News Agency said earlier that BOCOG's sales target is $700 million. The China Securities Journal reported unnamed analysts had forecast sales of franchised goods would hit $1 billion.


(China Daily April 11, 2007)


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