KFC Colonel Sanders Halloween costume released on monumental birthday

By RetailFOXBusiness

Halloween spending tops $9B

FBN's Cheryl Casone on Americans' big spending on Halloween.

Halloween just got “finger lickin’ good” with Kentucky Fried Chicken.

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The world-famous fast food joint is partnering with Spirit Halloween to bring a first-ever, officially licensed Colonel Harland Sanders costume to fans. In a special press release that commemorates the founding colonel’s birthday, Sept. 9, the brand said this release will be a limited-edition.

Today, Sanders would have turned 129-years-old.

The costume includes Sanders’ iconic white suit, black string tie, glasses, attachable facial hair and wig. It will be available in youth and adult sizes, which will cost $49.99 and $59.99 respectively.

"This costume is so official it will have friends and family asking for your secret recipe," said Andrea Zahumensky, KFC U.S. CMO in the statement.

Fried chicken admirers can get their hands on the exclusive getup at SpiritHalloween.com and in Spirit Halloween stores nationwide.

Signing up for for KFC's Colonel Club emails at KFC.com/Colonels-Club will provide shoppers a promotion code to use towards their Colonel costume purchase. Existing Colonel Club members can also take advantage of the limited-time discount.

Paula Rosenblum, Managing Partner and Co-Founder at market intelligence company Retail Systems Research, told FOX Business that the success of a Colonel Sanders costume cannot be predicted. “The reality is that you never know which costumes are going to hit and which ones will not,” he explained.

“The reality is that you never know which costumes are going to hit and which ones will not. There’s no reliable way to anticipate the success of a given costume being introduced. You can guess based on previous experience with similar concepts and its place in pop culture, but unfortunately, costume sales outcomes are incongruous to traditional sales projection markers.”

Paula Rosenblum, Managing Partner and Co-Founder at Retail Systems Research said about the unpredicatable nature of KFC's costume.

Adult- and kid-sized versions of KFC founder Colonel Sanders costumes are available at Spirit Halloween. (Spirit Halloween)

Although it’s an unorthodox move for KFC, the beloved chicken chain by Yum! Brands, Inc. operates more than 17,000 restaurants combined in the U.S. and abroad.

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
YUMYUM! BRANDS114.06+1.26+1.12%

It is estimated that, on average, more than 185 million people see a KFC commercial at least once a week—that’s more than half the U.S. population. The KFC system serves more than 12 million customers each day in more than 115 countries and territories around the world. KFC operates more than 17,000 restaurants in the United States and internationally.”

Kentucky Fried Chicken provided in an online statement to franchisers.

Spirit Halloween on the other hand, which was acquired by gag gift mall staple Spencer’s in 1999, is one Halloween specialty store to be reckoned with. Currently, it has over 1,300 locations in strip centers, malls and free-standing locations across the U.S. and Canada. Both Spirit Halloween and Spencer’s are owned by the middle-market focused private equity firm ACON Investments.

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2018 Halloween survey, the spooky holiday’s spending was estimated to have reached $9 billion—with festive celebrants spending an average of $86.79 to partake in events.

Conversely, Halloween spending for 2019 is projected to do well since the holiday will land on a Thursday this year. Spirit Halloween’s major competitor, Party City, was heard counting on this projection in their Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call.

“We made meaningful progress on strategic initiatives to strengthen the business and we're well positioned in 2019 as account that turns favorable with Halloween moving to a Thursday,” said Party City Director and Chief Executive Officer James Harrison, as transcribed by crowd-sourced financial market content service Seeking Alpha.

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
PRTYPARTY CITY HOLDCO INC5.69-0.05-0.87%

Rosenblum concurred that the day Halloween falls does play a role in costume sales. However, he noted that adults are the reason for the fluctuation.

“Thursday is a pretty good day. Wednesday is the worst, and Friday or Saturday are heavenly [because] there are simply more adult parties and more adult costumes sold,” he said.

To get an idea of whether today’s Halloween costume trends are in line with the KFC’s new initiative, here are Amazon’s top 10 best-selling costumes as of Sept. 9.

1. Disguise Men's Disney Pixar Toy Story and Beyond Woody Adult Costume Kit

Disney / Amazon

2. Rasta Imposta Lightweight Banana Costume

(Rasta Imposta / Amazon)

3. Rubie's 884253-M Costume Co Harry Potter Child's Hermione Granger Gryffindor Robe

(Rubie's / Amazon)

4. Aeromax Jr. Astronaut Suit with Embroidered Cap and NASA patches

(Aeromax Jr. / Amazon)

5. Disguise Women's Disney Pixar Toy Story and Beyond Jessie Costume

(Disney / Amazon)

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6. Rubie's DC Comics Deluxe Muscle Chest The Flash Child's Costume

(Rubie's / Amazon)

7. Rubie's Costume Co - Harry Potter Deluxe Robe Adult Costume

(Rubie's / Amazon)

8. InCharacter Bavarian Guy Adult Costume

InCharacter / Amazon

9. Rubie's Costume Star Wars Complete Yoda Costume

(Rubie's / Amazon)

10. Rubie's Men's Beetlejuice Deluxe Costume

(Rubie's / Amazon)

Out of Amazon’s top 50 best sellers, there are only two food-related costumes—neither of which have references to fast food chains.

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This article has been updated with an attribution correction that identified Aidan Griffin, Director of Digital Marketing at retail PR agency Ketner Group Communications as the source for Halloween costume sale predictabiliity. The statements were made by Ketner Group's client Paula Rosenblum of Retail Systems Research.

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