Sanrio, the company which created the pink icon in 1974, has chosen Leader Brands as its franchiser in the Jewish state.
The chain's first store is expected to open by the end of June at the Givatayim Mall and will offer a variety of items for young girls and women, starring the famous Japanese cat.
Bejna Khutoryanskiy, who supervises the activity in Israel, said that "after years of anticipation for the Hello Kitty boutique chain in Israel, we are excited to open the first store at the Givatayim Mall and are certain that the Israeli audience, which knows and loves the brand, will enjoy a variety of products and items which have never been seen here before."
This isn't Sanrio's first attempt to conquer the Israeli market. In 2001, a franchiser named Kitland opened a Hello Kitty store at the Ramat Aviv Mall in Tel Aviv, but the cooperation with the Japanese company failed.
Leader says its experience with Japanese companies in industry and retail is richer that the previous franchiser's, and promises not to fail.
"We'll open eight to 10 stores this year," says the owner, Yossi Shoch. "We are about to finalize three additional locations in the Azrieli Malls chain, and we'll open a total of 18 stores within a short period of time.
"The first store will open in Givatayim due to the brand's purchasing power in the area and because we feel comfortable working with the Azrieli Group."
My Melody, Chococat coming too
The Givatayim store measures only 30 square meters (323 square feet) in size due to space consideration, but the standard store size will range between 50 and 80 square meters (538-861 square feet).
Some of Sanrio's other brands – like My Melody, Chococat and Keroppi – are also expected to be sold by the chain in Israel.
The Hello Kitty product basket will be presented in Israel under the "Small gift, big smile" slogan. The products include bags and purses, dolls, cups and bottles, beachwear, key rings, stationary and school equipment, jewelry, hair accessories, watches, items for the kitchen and home, laptop cases and a selection of washroom items.
"The stores will sell Sanrio's original products," explains Shoch. "The company has a line of some 3,000 products, which it sells in 70 countries across the world, as well as products created by manufacturers with a license to use the character. We'll offer a wide variety of products both for young girls and women.
"Hello Kitty's power does not stem from a one-time event like a movie. It’s a character which has been active for decades, and the public's awareness of it is growing, not just in Israel but worldwide. Hello Kitty has no competitors."
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