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Olympic gear revenue down this quarter

VANOC has high hopes for merchandising program

Revenues for Olympic gear slumped this past quarter but organizers said that was to be expected.

"I think it's the nature of the time of the year (combined) with the nature of when retailers are putting product on sale," said Dave Cobb, EVP, revenue, marketing and communications and deputy CEO for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games (VANOC).

Merchandising revenues were $2.2 million this quarter (February until the end of April) compared to $3 million for the previous quarter (November until the end of January).

Cobb said the decrease shouldn't be seen as any indication of the success of the program in the long run.

The decrease in merchandising revenue was documented in VANOC's recently released quarterly financial statements.

Those statements show projected revenues from the licensing and merchandising program are almost $54 million. To date more than $16 million has been generated.

"We have quite high hopes for that program," added Cobb. "If we do change that forecast that it will in fact be higher rather than lower so I wouldn't read anything into what our final results will be based on this quarter.

"... We're seeing a lot of activity in the marketplace now from retailers who are buying for the upcoming fall and Christmas season. The indications are: they're certainly going to be ordering more than enough merchandise for us to hit our overall target."

While the latest quarterly report shows a very positive financial picture for VANOC, with revenues ahead of expenditures, organizers cautioned that a lot of spending is still to come in the next eight months.

CFO John McLaughlin said 62 per cent of spending is still ahead of VANOC and these are "challenging financial times."

"It's what lies ahead, and not behind us, that's most important," said McLaughlin.

"So although we sit in a relatively good financial position right now, there are very challenging times ahead."

The grand opening of the new Whistler Olympic Boutique will take place Wednesday, July 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. The store is located in Town Plaza, opposite The Brewhouse. The 2010 Games mascots will be there, as well as some Canadian athletes.