I didn't know that about Hasbro and their warehouses. When I worked at Walmart I tried to learn as much about the retail chain as I could, so I know that the usual system is that manufacturers sell to warehouses and those warehouses sell to retailers, who sell to us.
So what was the reason that Hasbro did away with their warehouses? Was it just to reduce costs by eliminating a middle-man?
EDIT: I just thought of this, but wouldn't the 1999 POTF2 "Commtech" figures be another example of Hasbro splitting the line? I remember that line pegwarming pretty hard, because I was able to find about 20 of those Commtech Stormtroopers rotting on the pegs at $2 each back in 2001.