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Room decor: Wall posters are so yesterday


Back-to-school shoppers are already flocking to stores, and one category that’s always in demand this time of year is room decor for kids and teens returning to elementary school, high school and college.

Disney Consumer Products has a flood of new items arriving in stores this month based on old favorites and hot new franchises for tweens from popular Disney Channel shows.

It’s biggest push this year is behind new products based on “High School Musical,” the surprise hit show from 2006 that was watched by a record 7.7 million people when it aired on the Disney Channel and returned as a hit on DVD. On Aug. 17, Disney will air “High School Musical 2”on the Disney Channel and will back it with a new line of licensed product.

The merchandise line runs the gamut from apparel to electronics and includes the first line of home decor based on the popular movie including sleep sets with the “High School Musical” logo. Product was launched last month at several retailers including Wal-Mart and Macy’s.

Disney vp of sales Ron Johnson said Wal-Mart is supporting the “High School Musical 2” launch in a big way with special in-store signage, a two-page ad in a special section of Peoplemagazine dedicated to “High School Musical 2” and a sweepstakes that awarded a grand prize of a $5,000 back-to-school shopping spree in Wal-Mart.

“Wal-Mart has put incredible support behind ‘High School Musical 2’ and really made it their tent-pole property for back-to-school shopping this year,” said Johnson.

Disney is also rolling out an extended line of products based on its TV show “Hannah Montana.” The line includes bedding that features emblems from the hit show on comforters, sheets and blankets. And for younger kids, Disney debuted a new line of “Little Einsteins” bedding as part of an exclusive with Target.

Marvel Entertainment and licensee Jay Franco are releasing a new line of bedding for fans of Spider-Man and Iron Man. The products include Spider-Man & Friends Toddler Bedding and an Iron Man comforter.

For high school and college students, there are new products in the CE sector that combine functionality and style. Mp3 accessory specialist iHome has a new line of stylish alarm clocks that also accent a room’s decor.

“iHome has an alarm clock designed specifically with the student in mind,”said vp of marketing Evan Stein.“With budgets almost as tight as today’s dorm room, students don’t need to feel the squeeze when it comes to waking up, as iHome’s back-to-school lineup allows them to wake up to their favorite iPod tunes.”

The lineup includes a triangular, space-saving iH4 alarm clock that comes in pink and black colors and a battery backup for $49.99; the iH8 dual alarm clock that features stereo speakers and can connect to an iPod for $99.99; and the iH27 portable travel alarm that comes with a carrying case and a programmable sleep timer for $79.99.

Another hot item in the CE decor area for students is digital photo frames. Students who want photos of family and friends on display in their rooms can do it affordably now that the price of an average 7-inch frame has dropped from $139 last year to $81 in 2007 (according to The NPD Group).

Mustek, one of the industry’s leading suppliers, recently dropped the price of its 7-inch frames to $99.“Mustek recognizes that digital photo frames are no longer high-tech novelties but an integral part of a home’s decor,” said David Ficken, national sales manager for Irvine, Calif.-based Mustek. Atico International currently has its digital frames in consumer electronics retailers and is planning a push into mass retail this fall with 7-inch frames priced as low as $79.

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