Interesting listen. This year I know this. IF I am at a Target at opening and it is the day they receive a shipment you can score new figures. Same thing with Walmart. IF your there on the night they get the new stuff, and IF you are willing to open the cases or get permission to do so you can get the new stuff. Finally, IF you know your secondary market of retailers, and if you either have some luck or can figure out their stocking days, you can score new product. Finally, you can order online and get your items after they hit retail (If you order from EE it seems). Bottom line, Hasbro should have 1)expected to sell less this year and built that into their business plan. IF I had not done that on the unit I led at a fortune 500 company, my Exec. VP would have had my head. Second, is the same issue that has been going on for years in a non-movie year. They need to ensure that more product is out. Now we are heading into the dry summer months and the Tatooine wave and Endor wave will probably be some of the tougher waves to find. Hasbro needs to take the blunt of their poor profits because they did not anticipate demand for their product, and yes Jesse, your right, they invested into lame new lines that their research should have told them would never have sold. The choppers and transformers should have came out with the movie last year, IF you wanted to gamble and see what they would have done. You use the momentum of a movie to bring out new stuff and build a following. Unfortunetly, I think both lines are rather lame, and are poor product choices.
What I would really like to see and be a fly on the wall, are the meetings between senior executives on what their strategy for the line is. So far, it sounds like they are planning on the line dying off a slow death. That's not good in the long term for the line. Just because they have a license doesn't mean we will always see product every year. Next year, yes due to the 30th anniversary. By 2010 though, I could see Hasbro issuing specific VOTC type figures or series of special figures each year, or every other year. I really believe that Hasbro will mis-manage the line such that it will eventually die off. Sad really.