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Messages - JediJman

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I'm guessing you didn't read much of the previous page, which is understandable given the lengths of the posts.  The idea I proposed was to issue new cases of 6 figures with 2x per case, then offer a greatest hits case every year around the holidays sourcing figures from the last year that were highest in demand.  That list could be based on custom research, collector sites, etc.  They could even make a dedicated site for people to vote and include a notice about it on packaging to market the idea.  If you only did this once per year and decided on the assortment around end of May, that would give Hasbro nearly 6 months to produce a lineup of more desirable repacks.  I don't think anyone is suggesting "Hey, Darth Plagueis is really selling well!  Churn out another 3,000 and get them to me next week!"   ;)

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Well summarized, Jeff.  I can't disagree with any of that.  The point that sticks out to me is this...

And right now, with the low sales we're seeing (and you can take your pick for the reason - price, availability, figure selection, case pack, etc), Hasbro's not interested in taking the risk of putting more $ cost into a case and potentially not seeing a sales increase to recoup it because Star Wars is in the tank right now.

Somewhere amidst all the turmoil of the past two years (TPM flop, cancelled 3D releases, Disney/LFL changes), Hasbro made a decision to just ride out 2013/2014 with as little cost as possible.  Just put the line on life support and wait for the LFL/Disney stuff to settle and Episode 7 to get here. 

The origin of this discussion was in whether to place more blame on retailers or on Hasbro.  My long winded rants were in support of the belief that availability issues fall more in Hasbro's camp than retail's.  I firmly believe that case assortment has been and continues to be a core driver behind the decline in Star Wars space, sales, support, so am admittedly overly defensive when I hear someone say the assortment doesn't matter.


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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. 

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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.

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Anyway, quite the contrary on ignoring case assortments...  You point out 6" Wave 2, which I just mentioned recently on this very topic.  It's EVERYWHERE here, for sure, but Han isn't among it.  Maybe your area's suffering because of it being Target's HQ?  In our area, Greedo and Leia are out in scads, including Target, TRU, and K-Mart.  But Han's a tough find.  Last one I saw was overpriced at the book store, but it's gone now too as of last weekend.

I don't think anyone's arguing that Leia or Greedo would have been a better choice than Han.  The example I gave was Fett versus Han.  I have seen Han on pegs, but I've never seen Fett.  And given that Amazon had Fett at $40 and Han at $12, I'm making the assumption that Fett is more in demand.  All else equal, it would have made more sense to double up on Fett and/or include him as the "repack" in wave 3.  I am sure we will see Han warming pegs more once wave 3 gets out to most stores, but unless you think Fett would have sold less than Han its still an example of poor assortment choice.

I don't think K-Mart's that much "easier" to manage in that regard...  I don't work there though, or Target, but they have almost the same number of stores by your numbers, so I guess I don't consider that a factor.

That was just a joke based on the 37 store count.  If they truly just had 37 stores versus Target's 1800, I would think inventory management might be easier for them.   ;)  Like I explained earlier, that was just me being grumpy about not having any KMarts nearby.

On the 4" end of things, Hasbro's said a wave is costed out by itself...  6 new figures doubled-up in a case isn't likely to happen, short of a line launch or movie line... 

I think that's a cop out on Hasbro's part.  If they would normally sell 1,000 cases at an expense of $20 per case or sell 1,500 cases at an expense of $30 per case, they should be break even at worst, and you can't tell me the reissued stuff sells as fast as the new stuff would.  There are holistic benefits to what I proposed as well - greater market share, volume influence at retail, expanding/defending shelf space, etc.  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 have all kinds of reasons to buy them up.  But 4-6 new figures with 6-8 repacks means the repacks sit on shelf waiting for kids or sale prices, and that means slower reorder times and eventually less overall volume sales.  I get there's a cost element to what they're doing - I just believe that the added volume sales and increased sales velocity more than makes up for it. 

Even then, unlikely they haven't factored in repacks for subsequent waves...If you short any figure, you'll have griping.  If you overload any figure, griping.  Since the line's like steering a tanker, rather than a speedboat, in terms of turn-around time with adjustments, I think Hasbro's GENERALLY (again, I think that 6" Obi-Wan is a misstep, and some of the Clone repacks they've gone with) done well for a time when the line hasn't had much of any media support at all.

Which is why I suggested a Greatest Hits wave each year.  You want cheaper cases and need repacks for profit?  Evaluate which figures from the last 1-2 years are in greatest demand by end of May, then release a Greatest Hits wave for the holidays every year.  There's no new tooling time involved and they can make 1x of each figure to minimize peg warming.  And its the holidays, so they can capitalize on added gift volume.  Nevermind the fact that you're getting HTF figures out to people who missed them and at least giving the appearance that you care about something other than your profit per case metric.

I think we've also seen that retailers who don't contain their ordering, or who go the polar opposite direction and basically ignore the Star Wars section all together, are miserable to deal with for the most part.  Hasbro's certainly not perfect, but they shoulder 99% of the blame in the collector community.  I think that's anger that should be sent more to the retailers not supporting the line at all, or not being conservative enough to manage the flow of product at all.

Sophisticated retailers don't have some guy with a clipboard deciding when to reorder each line of SW figures.  These are automated systems that for the most part do a pretty good job of determining volume needs vs. inventory on hand.  In my opinion, the crappy assortment offerings (I'm looking at you TPM wave, Malgus wave, earlier waves etc.) drove slower turns and backed up retailer inventory.  An obvious direct result of that is slower reorders and reduced shelf space.  I'm not sure what you're asking retailers to do when you say they're not "supporting the line" or "being conservative to manage the flow of product,"  so maybe I'm missing why you're so willing to shift the blame to them. 

If a guy smacks you in face every time you walk down his street, I don't blame you for walking down the other side of the street.  Hasbro's not 100% of the issue, but they're definitely the biggest contributor by far in my mind.


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The Sequel Trilogy / Re: Star Wars Episode VII
« on: March 19, 2014, 02:04 PM »

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I bought a full case of the Droids/Snags assortment.  That was just two different sets (3x of each). 

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What is that, the dollar store adjusted for inflation?

Basically, yeah.

68

I frequently drive by 3 of the 872 ToysRUs stores in my area, but getting to a KMart requires mapquest and a packed lunch.

And a Glock.

Amen brother.

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The Sequel Trilogy / Re: Star Wars Episode VII
« on: March 18, 2014, 04:10 PM »
30 years, eh?  Nice knowing you Han.   :(

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Unfortunately I think the vintage 3-pack ship has sailed.   :(

71
There are only 37 k-marts left?

We have 3 or 4 here.  Yikes.

That was something of a jab at their store closings.  There are still about 1200 stores open in the US as of this time last year.  Target has about 1800 stores domestically and Walmart has over 4,000 for comparison.  I'm personally a little bitter about KMart finds because I used to live just a mile from one and now they're impossible for me to get to.  I frequently drive by 3 of the 872 ToysRUs stores in my area, but getting to a KMart requires mapquest and a packed lunch.

72
Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Re: Official Television Thread
« on: March 18, 2014, 10:30 AM »
Evidently the Kree are going to come into play in Guardians of the Galaxy.  Two Kree characters are confirmed for that film.  But one that we saw in the trailer, played by Djimon Hounsou, wasn't blue.  Strange.

I always wondered that too.  Apparently...The original Kree had blue-colored skin, but a second racial group with pink skin resembling that of human Caucasians emerged over the millennia. Presently, the blue-skinned "purebred" Kree are a small, but powerful, minority. Pink Kree are much more durable than their blue racial brethren.

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Kmart distribution is easier to manage now that they're down to 37 stores. You're lucky to still have one around.  I definitely think retail plays a role in lack of availability,  but I think you're ignoring some really terrible assortment choices from Hasbro that aren't helping matters.  Look at the 6" line.  The first wave sold fairly evenly with 4 different figs.  W2 doubles up on Han and no one can find Fett. W3 doubles up on Kenobi when everyone wants at least one Stormtrooper.  Complain about retail all you want - if it was your store and you were sitting around with extra Ben and Han figures, you'd be gun shy about ordering the next wave of figures too.  There are some obvious misses in these selections (double up on Fett, use a repainted Sandtrooper for your 4th "extra" figure, double up on Stormtrooper, etc) that would help retail sell through faster and regain their confidence in the line.  On the 4" side I will never understand why they don't release all new figure cases (2x of 6 for example), then manage in a greatest hits case one a year with the figures that were most popular.

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Looks like it wasn't that bad of a selection if its going for 6 times the retail cost on Ebay. I do wish they had made the matched colors cantina aliens set though.

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The Bullpen / Re: Captain America: Winter Soldier: The Toys!
« on: March 18, 2014, 07:28 AM »
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not sure there is a foul here.

This is funny when in the context of talking about a guy named Falcon.

LOL!  That's punny.

Brian - no worries.  I was being playful more than anything and after the last day of posts they might as well call the movie "Captain America and the Falcon"

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