It's funny that I'd post in the Dear Hasbro section about the weird lack of new figures, and then today I bump into someone that has an answer for everything that I can think to ask.
Some of you have had similar conversations with similar "individuals" while out there hunting, so you'll probably guess where this info came from. I said that I wouldn't run off and say, "_____ just told me this!" but I was told to spread the word, so...
...about new figures and why we are and aren't seeing them in certain stores.
For the most part, The Saga Collection figures are just now really starting to hit. What we've found at stores like Target and Wal*Mart over the past month or so, has been a bit of an early trickle of what's to come. Toys R Us is just now putting them out (as most of you know), and the sale price is their way of kicking the line off. They've held off 'til now, because of the amount of ROTS stuff that they still have, which is still selling really well for them. They've been in no big hurry to get the new stuff out -- they wanted to wait until after Toy Fair, etc. -- but now they're going for it, and I'm told that TRU is going to be "the place" to find new Star Wars toys.
Why TRU over say Target or Wal*Mart? Well, Target does not back stock any kind of real quantity of figures. They like to put what they have out -- nice and neat -- and then maybe stock a half case or whatever in the back to keep things tidy on the floor. The real point is, they do not have a place to store a bunch of back stock cases like TRU, so each store will only order a case or two at a time. Wal*Mart has in the past ordered big numbers of figures, stocked what they can, and then back stocked the rest. They're trying to get away from the old messy way that they've done things -- a bit of Target envy -- so they're cutting back on the quantities that they'll have on hand. Just like Target, Wal*Mart will only order a case or two at a time.
Another thing about Wal*Mart... there's some kind of huge nationwide inventory scr**-up going down. They accidentally changed the new TSC figures product codes (and I'm not to savvy about this, but W*M people might know how this works) to be the same as their old ROTS product codes, so huge amounts of the new merchandise is sitting in a distribution warehouse, because the old stuff was marked as being over and done with... and so now the computers are just ignoring the new merchandise. (Does that make sense?) Point being, until Wal*Mart fixes the problem, you're not going to see very much on their pegs.
So, what's the upshot? TRU will always have more stock than the other places. The current sale price will probably not stick beyond this run, but you never know. (They will probably have other "deals" as time goes on.) Also, TRU is not likely to clearance the ROTS stuff. They've done extremely well with the line and are still doing very well with it. I was also told, that the current restructuring is working out very well for them, with some stores showing decent (20%+) profit increases. (New stores will probably open now to replace the old withered ones that died off.)
Well... there you have it. For the record, I did mention that a lot of people have been finding and buying TSC figures at Wal*Mart. I was told that what's gotten out has been a bit of a fluke, and that there's a lot more waiting to come, but the amount that we see in both Target and Wal*Mart will end up (or continue) to be pretty controlled and minimal.
Also, since I was standing there holding a few Marvel Legends figures, I held them up and said, "So, is Hasbro ready for this?" I was told that they're being primed, that all sorts of things are being worked out -- and that they're excited about the whole thing. Come the first of the year, they'll be ready to roll.