It's something Hasbro's consistently said throughout the Q&A... If you think it's a cop-out that's your prerogative, but I disagree. Accounting on a wave-by-wave basis is done because Hasbro has to be conservative... Rather pay for a wave now, than hopefully pay for it later... Which would be much later because, as I said, decisions in toy manufacturing are like steering a tanker, not a speedboat.
They can say it all they want, its a cop out, or at the least very bad portfolio management. Like Dave, I work for a manufacturer of a variety of products and those come with a variety of different margins. Beyond basic portfolio management, it's just simple math that If you put out product that turns faster and sells more volume, you can afford higher input costs. Putting out mostly repacks that take a long time to sell probably does drive them to minimize their cost per case, but that's failure of their own design.
You'll plan out this "Greatest Hits" wave, but by the time it's ready for release who knows what's going on, right? The line's popularity at retail or what they're willing to order, etc.
That could be said of any case. Do you think a single greatest hits wave with the 12 most sought for figures from the last year or two will sell LESS volume than a constant flow of cheaper-to-produce, less popular remakes that were just made available in previous waves? That Malgus wave is a prime example of what happens when you only offer a few new figures per case. As a retailer, crap like that would surely scare me away from reorders, and that's why I'm not willing to fault them much for not having what I want to buy.
What if that wave sees no support? They're not fans of high risk choices I've noticed... Especially where the 4" line's concerned.
How is a greatest hits wave more risky than releasing less desired reissues throughout the year? A 12x1 wave based on input from fans, call centers, etc. couldn't do any worse than the repacks they're currently putting into new cases. I also suggested a holiday timing, when any figure is more likely to sell for kids and gifts. I would think retailers would eat this up, especially if Hasbro was willing to discount the case price a little. If you want retailer support, do something to earn it.
If you issue 6 new figures x2 then I can gobble up two of each as one buyer, I can split the assortment with a friend, or I can sell off a complete set on the secondary market.
I don't disagree with that as a COLLECTOR, but Hasbro's hardly one to place its bets on the collector market either. To them, toys are still for kids. Not the guy willing to buy the whole case. They say we're the minority. Feel free to not believe that either, I just know that's their stance, and that they want the mom/dad or kid $, and the casual consumer $.
I don't have the data to prove or disprove this, but my belief here is that Hasbro is fooling themselves. They don't really use the free research from sites like this, so I don't really trust their research elsewhere. Regardless, I think kids also prefer new figures to repacks, so this doesn't explain why repack assortments would fare any better than all new assortments.
You can guess, but the first wrong guess and you've got collectors once again up your ass online saying you're the devil because you guessed wrong, plus you've got the same issues you always had.
I thought Hasbro didn't care what collectors think? If that's true, then they're no worse off. Frankly, I think collector's would welcome any kind of plan other than packs of 12 with 4 new and 8 old figures. People are a lot more accepting when they see that you're trying to make things better versus staying the course on something that isn't working. I'd also argue that you don't have the same issues you always had because as soon as that next case comes in, its all new. Their problem is having pegwarmers, then a follow-up case that resupplies the figures already not selling.
Does that model work NOW though, in 2014? The line's limped along for some years. It's far more costly now than 2007 as well. That worked 2 years removed from a movie and with a big cartoon blitz on the horizon, in a 30th anniversary year of the original film. THAT was a great year to collect. The greatest year, hands down, to me. It was fantastic, and it kind of worked in a fashion like you're talking about Justin, but I just don't see that working now. Collectors are at an all time low, and if we are, then you know kids really are out of it.
Not seeing any rationale here why all new figures cases wouldn't work. Yes, they could muck up production levels and have too much supply, but they have that same risk with what they produce today, right? With the system I suggested, you could keep production levels near the lower end, then resupply with the most wanted figures in the GH case. That should
help them control production vs. demand better than what they're using today. Am I missing something? I just don't see how it could be any worse off...
My point is that K-Mart also doesn't have a man with a clipboard... But they're able to keep a conservative order rate going, and sell through. They have a comparable number of stores, yet are considered the most incompetent retailer in America. But they're ahead of Target on this. Because Target's re-ordering has been a disaster of late.
I am curious to know what you think KMart is doing differently from Target and Walmart in terms of reorder. The way you portray it, KMart either closely monitors distribution levels or has programmed in set limits on the number of cases they receive to avoid massive pegwarming. In truth, I bet their reorder systems are actually very similar in principle. The difference is that Target and Walmart sell much more volume than KMart. If you sell 12 figures per week, the system is going to tell you to order a case per week, so higher volume retailers stand a better chance of getting "backed up" when product isn't selling. If you sell 2 figures per week and only reorder a case every 6 weeks, its far easier to manage that inventory and prevent stockpiles. Kmart may appear more efficient, but it's not clear to me that they're more effective. Target might be better off selling 36 figures per month and having 12 leftover versus Kmart selling 11 of 12.
I will say that I think Target's DPCI system throws an added wrench into their inventory. When cases started flowing into TJMaxx/Marshalls, I saw lots of these being returned at Target, often with the other store's price tag still on the package.
I find that system incredibly useful for managing my own returns, but it definitely contributes to their distribution problems as well.