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A Preliminary Discussion With Hasbro

Posted by Paul | August 24, 2012 at 10:06 AM ET

We know that you are dying to know what Hasbro has to show us this year at Celebration VI. JTA wants to know too. We do want to help alleviate the anticipation a little bit for you however this year. Click through for quick recap of a discussion we had with Derryl DePriest.

Hasbro does have some new stuff to present to us at Celebration VI. However, the bulk of the new product won't be shown until Toy Fair 2013. Yes, this is disappointing, but Hasbro promises great things for 2013 and we hoestly can't wait to see what hints they drop at the presentation today. Hasbro knows that we live for the sole purpose of finding what's coming next from the Star Wars brand (that's tongue-in-cheek folks), so it's probably likely that they may have a surprise or two to share with us today.

We got right to the distribution issues immediately with Hasbro and asked what the latest story is and if solutions were on the horizon. Hasbro conceded that The Phantom Menace push bottled-necked everything. The expectations didn't come close to meeting the demand and the overproduction of The Phantom Menace wave of The Vintage Collection is solely responsible for us not finding any figures in 2012. But good change is in the air.... more on that in a moment.

There is some alarming news to share first however. Unbelievably, Hasbro has a warehouse full of The Vintage Collection cases. So why aren't these in stores, right?! Hasbro has proactively tried to reach out to chains like Walmart and get these cases into stores, but all Walmart sees is that they have "plenty" of stock all thanks be to the TPM wave. (It's frustrated Hasbro and of course "us" to no end.) Hasbro is still looking for ways to get these out. They have to arrive somewhere someday, so whether discount chains like TJ Maxx, ROSS or Five Below get them, or by some other means, they will eventually get out there. That's a little comforting, no? Imagine all of the figures you never got for 50% off or less?

So what is that "good change" we mentioned? Hasbro has admitted to learning from their recent mistake of overproducing and overshipping "line launch" or "hard street date" product. Starting with the 2013 line, whatever product is included in the opening new line look launch will be scaled back significantly. (It won't be rare - please don't get the wrong idea - but it won't be anything like the 2012 product launch.) They are also looking into ways to make better case assortments - a major point of chagrin/bone of contention for all collectors. Plus, Droid Factory, by sheer necessity, requires "x" amount of figures to build the proper droid, so we bet that we will be seeing a lot of new figures on the pegs with significantly less carry-forwards.

Hasbro also inferred that the buying collector base has dropped to an all-time low again based on sales of The Vintage Collection. We immediately interjected a rebuttle question that how can Hasbro gauge anything accurately when there is no product to find on the shelves. We even told them that there are thousands of readers on various Star Wars fan sites like ours that want to give you hundreds of their dollars to buy the figures but can't find them. Hasbro agreed and diverted back to the point that the new approach to 2013 should begin to start healing the wounds. So let's see what happens?

Hasbro also offered us additional information to the frequently asked question "Why don't you pull the peg-warmers off of the shelves so new product could come into the stores." Their answer is two-fold. First, they didn't have the manpower to do this with all of the other properties also suffering similar problems and two, the problems got bad too big and too quickly for them to proactively seek solutions. (There is very little you can do when the opening act fails miserably.) The bottlenecking was like never before and it would have been like putting a bandaid on a severed artery.

No matter your anger and no matter your discontent with Hasbro, we read their expressions and affect on their faces in person. We have no doubts that they are devastated with the fate of The Vintage Collection and consider it a victim of something they couldn't control (expecially based on the directives of Lucasfilm, Ltd.). Before you huff and roll your eyes at our assessment, all we can say is that if your were here, you would be able to see how deflated Hasbro is about this. We can only encourage them to keep making chnages that will potentially save the line. Finding the proper balance of all of the pieces has been incredibly challenging. Between strict directives at Lucasfilm, Ltd and the reduced spaced at retail, it seems the line was doomed to end up the way it did.

So, in a nutshell, it seems that there are some changes in place to make 2013 a nicer collector world to live in and be happy. We may see less space and less product on the shelves in 2013, but it should be coming in consistently. We will be asking more questions later today. Please leave your comments below.


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