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Issue Date: Vol. 49, No.9, September 2009, Posted On: 9/18/2009


Gacha International Returns To U.S. Market With New Strategy


Hank Schlesinger
swag@earthlink.net
Gacha International, Tomy Yujin, Tomy Europe, Tomy, bulk vending, vending, vending machine, vending business, vending route, gumball machine, retail trends, coin-op, coin-operated, coin-op news, vending news, Alan Nowers, Actionmatic, Consolidated Vending Programs, Arnie Knable, novelties

LONDON -- Gacha International is planning to re-enter the U.S. bulk vending market, VT has learned. The company, formerly known as Tomy-Yujin Corp., a division of Tokyo-based toy giant Tomy Co. Ltd., shut down its vending business in North America earlier this year and recently overhaul of its European corporate structure, which included establishing Gacha International.

Gacha International has appointed Alan Nowers commercial manager, a post that will oversee the firm’s operations in the U.S., Canada and Latin America. It has also named Consolidated Vending Programs, based in Crystal Beach, FL, and headed by bulk vending veteran Arnie Knable, as a nonexclusive distributor of Gacha vending machines and spare parts in the U.S. As a result, new equipment will be available, as well as factory-authorized parts for existing machines. As many as 15,000 Gacha machines may have been sold in the U.S. by the former Tomy-Yujin.

“Arnie brings with him a wealth of experience and we are delighted to have him on board,” Nowers said. “We recognize that there is a substantial number of operators in the U.S. market that need support with current and future Gacha machines."

In April, Gacha International named Actionmatic Ltd (Chatham, ON) exclusive Canadian distributor of Gacha vending products. That agreement gives Actionmatic rights to distribute Gacha merchandise and bulk vending machines throughout Canada.

Gacha International's entry into the U.S. market was not entirely unexpected. The brightly colored Gacha capsule machines and Tomy's high-profile licenses have been gaining considerable market share despite the barrier imposed by the $1 price point for the vendible products.

“Gacha International is committed to working in all territories, and as the biggest consumer market in the world, it is only natural we would want to have a presence in the U.S.,” Nowers told VT. “We've undergone some internal restructuring, and by assigning North America to our UK-based office, we are now well positioned to take advantage of cost efficiencies within the organization. Our hope is that this will enable us to deliver a wide portfolio of products at a competitive price."

A new business model for the U.S. will seek to build on the company’s experience acquired over the past decade in North America and other markets, Nowers explained. This will include a streamlined and dedicated infrastructure rather than a large distributor network. “The U.S. market offers a unique set of challenges, but we now have an efficient business model, and I am sure that with the right application we can be successful in the U.S.,” the new commercial manager said.

Merchandise tied to high-profile licenses will continue play a major role in the firm’s vending business. Nowers reports that Gacha International recently inked a global licensing deal with Zurich-based International Federation of Association Football to develop product based on the 2010 World Cup. He added that the company will be making announcements about other licensing deals in the near future.

Internationally recognized licenses are somewhat new in bulk vending. In the past, bulk licensees lacked global reach and often believed that consumer tastes in pop culture differed dramatically among American European and Asian vending patrons. Over the past decade, however, Gacha International forerunner Tomy-Yujin learned that select licensed merchandise not only possessed international appeal, but also was able to outsell many other products. Gacha International is looking to repeat that success.

"Tomy’s founding philosophy was to excite the world’s markets with outstanding products, and we take the utmost pride in delivering premium quality,” Nowers said. “The challenge is to find products that also offer value for money, and if we can do this, we can make the Gacha machine a repeat destination.”

The Gacha vending system consists of four heads topped with an attractive display case. Each head can hold approximately 175 capsules, 2" in diameter. The display shows consumers exactly what they are buying, helping to increase sales. Multiple units can be joined together by plates to create an impressive vending bank.

Gacha International is online at gachainternational.com. In the U.S., Consolidated Vending Programs can be reached at (800) 783-1844. In Canada, call Actionmatic at (800) 265-8363. Nowers can be contacted at (949) 706-7410 or alan.nowers@tomy.co.uk.


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