Author Topic: 2009: Worst Distribution Year Ever?  (Read 8260 times)

Offline speedermike

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2009: Worst Distribution Year Ever?
« on: September 28, 2009, 11:45 PM »
I've been collecting since 1995 (and had a vinatge collection ) and I have to say, that for distribution, 2009 has been the worst year ever.  Over the years, the only figure that I never found on the pegs was Swimming Jar-Jar.  But this year, I missed the entire AOTC wave.  Not only that, but whole waves of Clone Wars are coming in and dissapearing in hours.  At this point, I honestly don't know what I've even missed, and I'm ususally really fanatic about this stuff.

On top of that, I can no longer make the amount of toy runs that I once did, because I now pick up my son from school.

I'm very happy with the product, but there's just too much and it goes by too fast.  Who knows, maybe Nov/Dec will be like Nov/Dec 2007, where I bought 4 waves in about 2 weeks...
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Offline CHEWIE

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Re: 2009...Worst Year Ever?
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2009, 12:15 AM »
Well, the quality of the Legacy line has been outstanding in my opinion this year.  But the problem is the distribution in my opinion - too much CW and Legends crap being shipped in ridiculous numbers.  We were talking about this at Yak recently that this seems to be the absolute worst distribution since 1999 when there was a glut of Wave 1 and 2 stuff everywhere from TPM.

Legacy seems to have done great though, and I can barely find B.A.D. stuff other than the ones that were major pegwarmers such as Yarna and the Organas.  However, the figures that Hasbro claims are the hot figures (CW and Legends) are the ones I see collecting dust.  Seems obvious that they say those are the hottest ones for one reason and one reason only - they're the higher PROFIT lines for them per figure.  It's all repacks in the Legends line and mostly minimal sculpting/articulation in the CW line.  To me when they say those are the hot lines, they're full of you know what.

BTW, www.hasbrotoyshop.com hasn't been bad about stocking some of the figures you are talking about not being able to find.  You might want to check there for things you've missed. 

Also, I know you said that CW stuff is selling out in your area fast, wish that were the case here in STL.  It's anything but that at the stores in these parts.

Offline JACKOFTRADZE

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Re: 2009...Worst Year Ever?
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2009, 12:23 AM »
Great thread. I could not agree more in terms of distribution, this year has/is truly terrible and very inconsistent. I put a large portion of the distribution/delay problems on TF2 and Joe movie toys. That alone took a lot of energy on Hasbro's part to produce and market, in the end SW has suffered in my estimate (and my experienced in the Toy industry). They use a lot of the same factories and they can produce only so much, and it has taken a toll. With Joe somewhat flopping, TF2 not selling like the first movie it makes it a bit aggravating to me that they are not making the stuff that actually sells fast enough. But a lot of the problems are the Clone Wars taking more precedence. CW had more consistency than Legacy.

Since late 2006 the line has progressively been getting worse in terms of distribution and timing. TAC in general ran fairly smoothly (sans wave 5), especially when compared to this years waves. 2008 was so lopsided and very slow off the bat, Hasbro is just falling further behind. The 08 summer glut was overkill and the end was dry as a bone which set the stage for this year. Distribution has been disastrous with a drought for months then too much at once like we are experiencing now. 2009 has 5 waves and oodles of exclusives in a little over 3 months. On top of all of that the case ratios are 1 of every new figure which is going to make it harder than ever before to find army builders and extras. All of these factors do not make collecting fun, it makes it very tedious.

The product is truly great, if it was not for that I am not sure what would keep us in. I have been ordering entire wave cases online since mid 2006 after I was sick of hunting so I have not had an issue getting everything I wanted. But even that has become harder as several retailers stopped selling and some have taken so long big box stores have gotten them in first. Without BBTS right now I would be screwed. I no longer have the time or desire to go on massive hunts. I was happy to pay for shipping on the Amazon Target Geo sets, that to me was worth the time and gas saved. The WM DF2 sets were the first time that I really had to "work" to find them and I still had to pay a small premium to get the 3 extra sets I wanted. As I read the stories of difficulties finding stuff, reading Hasbro's Legacy woes and seeing the stores empty pegs I more committed to ordering online than ever before.

My hats off to anyone who enjoys the hunt and does not order online. If I was 18 again I might enjoy it like I did in 1995 but being and old man & father at 32 I am not going to compete to spend my money with some other boob waiting in the morning when the doors open.

2 more waves are scheduled for October so I am anticipating the remaining stuff to be in a glut mode of 4 waves in two weeks. I am 100% caught up sans 6 more Geo Assault packs but last week alone I got bombarded with so much at once I did not get to enjoy the newness. It's like getting good coffee before dinner only to have them serve you so fast you do not get to taste it or enjoy it.
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Offline Ghost of QG

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Re: 2009...Worst Year Ever?
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2009, 12:52 AM »
I'm gonna have to disagree. The entire 2009 line-up, minus the new comic packs, have been seen multiple times in my area. Might be a store issue, and not Hasbro's fault( they're already guilty of too much!!!) IMO I htink Hasbro's done a pretty good job. With that being said, case assortments have been extremely crappy!!!!

Offline JACKOFTRADZE

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Re: 2009...Worst Year Ever?
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2009, 01:05 AM »
I'm gonna have to disagree. The entire 2009 line-up, minus the new comic packs, have been seen multiple times in my area. Might be a store issue, and not Hasbro's fault( they're already guilty of too much!!!) IMO I htink Hasbro's done a pretty good job. With that being said, case assortments have been extremely crappy!!!!

I truly mean no offense by this but when you live in highly populated areas their are a lot more collectors and competition competing for the few figure pout there including the new crappy case ratios. It's all relative to where you live. While you may be finding stuff now there is also no denying the consistency of waves. Drought then gluts.

I have been with this line since 95, lived in NJ/Philly area, Ca and Chicago so I have a perspective from the East & West Coast and the Midwest, this year's distribution is truly the worst. I do not say that lightly as I defend Hasbro, I turned down a job there last summer, I love the company. If it was not for location I would be working on this stuff so I am not a hater. They are great guys but as I said I put more of the blame on their movie push.  Nevertheless I hope we as a community press the issue and step up to support the line. I like to see it go until 2018 when they have to renew the license.
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Offline Darth_Anton

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Re: 2009...Worst Year Ever?
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2009, 10:17 AM »
I dunno. The first saga line was pretty bad. There was actually a wave that I never seen hit here in LA, and I was looking.
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Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: 2009...Worst Year Ever?
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2009, 11:39 AM »
Around here I believe stores don't even bother stocking Legacy figures. They keep the pegs full of CW or Legends figures but I have never seen the last three waves. This is weird considering in the past I had no problem finding anything.  Even ebay has been pretty low on the last three waves of Legacy figures.
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Offline Greedo The Green Menace

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Re: 2009...Worst Year Ever?
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2009, 12:13 PM »
It's been hard this year, but I still find that the 2002 AOTC Saga line was the worst for distribution. At least here in Canada, so much product glut and barely anything new aside from the first couple of waves.

Offline Brian

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Re: 2009...Worst Year Ever?
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2009, 01:09 PM »
I think that 2009 has been one of the worst as far as distribution goes as well, at least for the Legacy line.  We also had a lot of problems locally with the 2002 Saga line that has already been mentioned in this thread.  Like it has been said, I think the 2009 product has been some of the best ever.  I've mentioned it before, but the Legacy figures coming out lately have really been top notch.  It used to be that there would be one or two really good figures in a given wave, a couple of "ok" ones, and usually at least one craptastic one.  Anymore, it is difficult to even find a bad figure in the Legacy line.

The distribution of the Legacy line has been another story.  I've seen (and can probably still find) lots of the first ANH wave (or wave 5 is it?) with Han/Luke Stormy, Cantina Aliens, etc.  I saw the ESB and AOTC waves once each I think, a few weeks after I received them from BBTS and/or HTS.  On the other hand, I've seen every Clone Wars figure released so far this year, and several times.  Heck, the pegs at both Target and WM right now are packed full of the most recent figures.  They seem to sell ok, but are starting to sit a little bit more now.  Actually, longer than I would have thought.  I can remember a time where any new figure, particularly a new clone or bounty hunter-type one, would be "blink and you miss them" - but I've seen figures like Cad Bane and Gree several times, and even sitting for days in some cases.

I've mentioned it in other threads, but the two to three lines at the same time really proves a problem.  They may be seperate numbers, seperate pegs, and labeled differently - but they all get jammed together.  Heck, since getting laid off early this year I've picked up a part time morning job at Target (stocking) and I know for a fact I'm the only one who stocks the lines on the proper pegs.  I check the next day (or after a day I haven't been in), and they are all mixed together again.  I think that proves a problem as well.  I can understand the animated style CW figures and all, they seem to be a great success, but it is too bad there isn't a better way to keep CW and TLC seperate (and drop Legends altogether).  I used to sort of enjoy the thrill of finding new figures on the pegs, but I've gotten to where I just order entire waves at BBTS as well (and have done that for over a year).  If I happen to find them at retail first, I can always cancel, but the prices are reasonably in line and I'd rather pay a little extra and have them than have to search weeks upon weeks for them.  Also, like others, I'm at a point in my life now at 32 where I just don't have time to search every store all the time for this stuff.  Exclusives are enough work to track down sometimes, I don't need to do it with the basic line too.

Also, the whole releasing 3/4 of the line in the last four months of the year is a big problem, maybe the main one even.  If these waves were spread out about every six weeks or so throughout the year, it would probably help a lot.  Instead we've had these three month dry spells, then a wave, then a couple more months, then two waves, then a month and then 4-6 waves in 3 months time.  Hopefully they can get away from that pattern in 2010, particularly if we keep seeing more and more exclusives in the last 1/3 of the year.  I remember towards the end of 2005 telling my wife that "Star Wars will be slowing down more each year from now on", but I now find myself buying/searching for more stuff than I did in the big ROTS year.  The number of exclusives is higher all the time (not to mention the prices), and the basic figure line has just as many releases (and a whole other line if you collect CW too, which I have been for the most part).  Add in distribution problems to an increasing number of releases, and it makes it problematic.


Offline McMetal

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Re: 2009...Worst Year Ever?
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2009, 01:20 PM »
Oh, let me count the ways to rant on this topic!

For me this is without question the worst year ever but I don't have the historical context that some of you do. This is the first year I really got SERIOUS about this hobby and Distribution of Product is easily my #1 problem.

It's just horrible, arbitrary, inconsistent, baffling, etc.

It all starts with Hasbro and their complete lack of information. I find it INCONCEIVABLE that a toy company wouldn't have comprehensive listings for all their toys on their website, each individually catalogued with pictures and details. If you woke up today and said "Hey, I want to buy everything from the Clone Wars line" there is absolutely no place to go for that information other than fan sites, which are almost always sloppy or incomplete.

EVERY TOY HASBRO HAS EVER MADE FOR SW SHOULD BE ARCHIVED ON THEIR WEBSITE - PERIOD.

Next - release dates. Why does Hasbro even bother publicizing these when they are so grossly inaccurate?!?! The Clone Wars Wave 10 had placards at SDCC saying "Available 7/31" and they STILL have yet to show up at retail!!! None of their toys ever show up even remotely close to when they are supposed to come out. I know a lot of this is store driven, but I continue to insist that if they can do it with DVD's, they can do it with toys. Pick a release date, ship it out and display it on that date.

Case assortments/repacks/etc - just crazy. You know, more than one person might actually like to buy a new SW figure when they are released! All I see now is new stuff flying off the shelves and old junk languishing there. How did it get so bad? Obviously they have begun trimming the new content back, resulting in a disproportionate amount of old swag impeding the flow.

They need a faster, tighter, more robust business model.

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"My hats off to anyone who enjoys the hunt and does not order online. If I was 18 again I might enjoy it like I did in 1995 but being and old man & father at 32 I am not going to compete to spend my money with some other boob waiting in the morning when the doors open."

This made me laugh. I am an old man and father at 38 and still love the thrill of the hunt. Since I am also a husband, online ordering is out of the question. The next big box that arrives at my house will spark an argument of epic proportions. (Wives appreciate SW toys about as much as they do the 3 Stooges)

I don't feel as if I have to compete with anyone here in VA. I've never run across anyone from my area in any of the other SW forums, and I have my Hunt Vector structured for maximum efficiency so it is no problem hitting 15-20 stores every week. And i've never seen any poor shlub waiting when the doors opened, except myself (once). I definitely feel lucky that it's mostly kid interest around these parts.

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Offline Nicklab

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Re: 2009...Worst Year Ever?
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2009, 02:18 PM »
What we're dealing with now in Hasbro's distribution stream is the aftermath of the economic crisis.  Hasbro stated explicitly at Comic Con that they were caught very much off guard by the economic downturn, especially as it pertains to the planning of the first few waves of the Legacy Collection.  Those waves were planned prior to the downturn really hitting, and the production numbers were high.  

What's happened since?  Sales among the collector base went down dramatically.  And pegwarming became commonplace.  Anyone remember the Yarna situation?  It didn't happen that long ago.  And on that particular issue, I think collectors need to accept some responsibility for that fiasco.  But Saga Legends continued to sell, as did Clone Wars.  Hence greater supplies of those two lines.

As for Legacy?  The supply has gotten much tighter.  But that's also because some of the demand has dried up.  There's a direct correlation.  And I think that has hit collectors who are in high collector density areas in a big way.  There's competition again.

As for the title of the thread?  I really think it needs to be "2009...Worst Distribution Year Ever?"  Because the product is among some of the best we've ever seen.  It's the distribution that's the issue.

As for what could be done better?  Honestly, I think the Saga Legends line needs to be folded into Legacy.  I understand it's place in the line.  But I think the concept could potentially be combined with Legacy the way the Greatest Hits line was, but in a less confusing manner.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2009, 02:24 PM by Nicklab »
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Offline Brian

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Re: 2009...Worst Year Ever?
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2009, 02:56 PM »
As for what could be done better?  Honestly, I think the Saga Legends line needs to be folded into Legacy.  I understand it's place in the line.  But I think the concept could potentially be combined with Legacy the way the Greatest Hits line was, but in a less confusing manner.

I agree wholeheartedly.  I'd like to see the Legends concept just folded into TLC as well, similar to what we're seeing with the recent "red card" waves with the Biker Scout and Evolutions Darth Maul.  They could very easily fold in that ROTS Pilot Obi-Wan (or any of the more recent upgrades), the Evolutions Anakins, etc. that populate the Legends line and just release them alongside a (hopefully) related wave (ROTS/AOTC/etc.).  It seems like characters like Plo Koon and SaeSee Tiin shouldn't have really rated "Legends" status anyways, since they were fairly significant pegwarmers, so stick more with the "big guns" main characters and army builders, and just include them with the regular TLC waves.  They've got a nice pool to choose from now with the various VOTC, Evolutions, and even just recent basic carded figures.

Offline JES

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Re: 2009...Worst Year Ever?
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2009, 03:02 PM »
It definite correlates to what Nick said regarding the economy. Hasbro has opted to play it safe and not get caught in another excess glut which would leave them selling (and/or giving) away product at discounted prices like what happened back in '99/'00

I mean we are finding TAC figures as is at discounters like TJ Maxx. So with the incredibly high unemployment rates in the US and people struggling just to pay the bills... Hasbro knows trivials such as toys are so low on most peoples totem poles.

Clone Wars does see a much larger and heavier distribution, but I think that's due in part to it being a very children driven line. Kids do love it. Now I do get a little confused with the Legends, but I guess you have take into account it's molds sitting around that no matter what they are making money on at this point as they have been used time and time again.

The AOTC wave hit retail here at WalMarts only. I have never seen one AOTC wave figure at a Target or TRU store, and even then only some WalMarts got the wave in. One particular store for some odd reason did receive a butt load so it was almost like that one store got everyones shipments. Those came and went quick.

Now I have seen the TPM wave once so far and that was a Target. No stragglers... no nothing from the wave anywhere since.

Could we see a huge slam in a month or so? I think so, but I don't really count it. WalMarts, and Targets have both cut down their ordering. Hell WalMarts have shrunk their toy depts down to nothing in some stores. I think a very smart business for now as I said above people need to buy the basics (food) and many have just enough to do that these days.

I'm still shocked we got the Turbo Tank this year after the way this year has turned out economically. I mean the AT-TE and Falcon sold well, but not as well as Hasbro would have liked. TRU has recently been buying old stock of these for next to nothing (I was floored when I heard what TRU was paying).

I don't think it's a bad year for toys as much as it's just a bad year.

Offline Rob

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Re: 2009...Worst Year Ever?
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2009, 03:06 PM »
This year was the first time I missed a figure on shelves since 1999 and Swimming Jar Jar.  FX-6... never saw him.  I only saw several things once or twice.  Wal-Mart Droid Factory came and went in a single weekend.

I don't know how soon it is, but I still haven't seen the latest Comic Pack wave with the Vong in it... I haven't sniffed the Episode I wave either.

What's happened since?  Sales among the collector base went down dramatically. 

$8.00 figures have a lot to do with that... I flat out stopped army building when they went to $7.00.  I stopped collecting carded as well.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2009, 03:09 PM by Rob »

Offline JES

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Re: 2009...Worst Year Ever?
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2009, 03:13 PM »
Yeah Rob definitely a few of short run figures this year. FX was really short end.

Also demand hasn't gone down enough which hurts some people in some areas. I mean they did a good amount of the first Ahsoka figure and yet she's still hot as can be, and hasn't shipped in a long time. She's due to come out on the new style card, but that hasn't happened as of yet... and who knows if it will.

Even some previous comic packs weren't (let alone the new Vong wave) easy fetches for some. The Luke/Emperor set is one.