Mars is launching M&M’s branded merchandise in the UK and part of Europe aimed at teenagers, young adults and families.
The merchandise, including sportswear, leisurewear, toys, gifts, mugs and cereal bowls, will be sold in department stores. Space has already been set aside in Benetton’s Milan store and goods could also be sold on the Internet.
M&M’s merchandising in the US, featuring the brand’s “spokescandy” chocolate bean characters on goods from telephones to clothing, is said to be worth $100m (&£62m). The sweet itself is worth $2bn (&£1.2bn) globally.
M&M’s superstore in Las Vegas draws 300,000 visitors a month, but there are no plans yet for a similar store in Europe.
Mars has brought in licensing agents Copyright Promotions Licensing Group (CPLG) to sign up retailers and manufacturers.
CPLG head of brand management Ian Downes says: “We’re looking to reflect some of the fun characteristics of M&M’s brand.
“Products will be sold in specific departments such as children’s sections, but we also want to develop in-store focus areas.”