Feld Entertainment: 'Masters of merchandising'

Monday, May 3, 2010; 21

One of the keys to Feld Entertainment's success is its hugely profitable concession stands. And there is no number that is more sacred -- and secret -- than the concession "per capita," or the amount each customer spends at Feld concessions.

"They are the masters of merchandising," said Las Vegas entertainment consultant Tom Crangle.

The company hires, trains, outfits and transports its army of concession salespeople, who travel with the Feld shows knowing how to market the latest $20 plastic sword, $20 Spiderman t-shirt or the perennial favorite light spinner, also at $20 a pop.

Feld buys those toys for a fraction of what the concession stands charge.

When it comes to food, Feld's formula is simple. Leave the hot dogs, tacos and messy stuff to the arena. Feld concentrates on four simple, high-margin food items: popcorn, snow cones, lemonade and cotton candy.

"Our consumer products business is the highest per-square-foot retail business in the world for the time we have to sell and the space we have to sell in," Kenneth Feld said.

-- Thomas Heath

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