License Magazine has issued its 2004 annual report (which actually covers sales in 2003 and before).  It estimates that in 2003, sales of licensed products were flat over-all, but down in the character and entertainment categories, the two areas of greatest interest for pop culture retailers. 


License estimated sales of character goods at $39.3 billion in 2003, down 2.3% from 2002, and sales of entertainment-based goods at $19.7 billion, down 4.6% from 2002. 


Among the reasons cited for the decline in those two categories were the loss of shelf space at retail due to mergers and store closures, and other effects of the related war in the toy category. 


License also listed the top licensors, ranked by worldwide retail sales of licensed goods, and half of them license products sold by pop culture stores.  Tops on the list was Disney, with an estimated $15 billion in sales of licensed goods per year, and second was Warner Bros., with $6 billion in retail sale.  Sanrio (Hello Kitty) and 4Kids (Yu Gi Oh, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) were 5th and 6th, respectively; Nickelodeon is in 10th.