Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks View Post
They aren't abandoning collectors, collectors' passion drives the variety and creation of new molds, both are attractive to casual consumers just not in the ravenous needs of the hardcore collector. Hasbro always said that TVC was meant to get the hardcore collector base to re-engage with the brand, the idea that they'd simply abandon that altogether is very unlikely. The problem is that they permanently lost a lot of hardcore collectors after the prequels, the economic hits in manufacturing and materials prices wiped out more audience, and then Hasbro hedged their bets on collectors coming back by further splitting their buying audiences and lost.

Your point about product rotting in a warehouse is almost dead on, except Hasbro doesn't have warehouses anymore, they sold them off during the restructuring after the 2000 crash from TPM nearly killing the company, so in the 2012 case what happened is they put all this money into cutting new tools and then the big retailers didn't order much product from those tools. So it basically rotted in a theoretical warehouse in this case, same problem - money spent and not seeing return - but now not even any product to sell off to liquidators for return (although also no tax burdens from old unsold product sitting for over a year).

Certainly there's no malice on Hasbro's part, they are a business entity and trying their best to make business decisions that do well by the company and the brand. Some of it probably is management stumbles (buying into Lucasfilm's overhyping TPM 3D was a massive error), it happens, to err is human, and some of it is undoubtedly cost issues.

In '96, Hasbro ran 2 lines, POTF2 and SOTE - SOTE did pretty poorly and eventually liquidated out (there were a lot of left-over Xizors and Snoova figures).
In '98, Hasbro ran 2 lines, POTF2 and Expanded Universe - EU did ok at first then petered out to slow orders and eventually hit liquidation as well. Those were both separate SKUs meant to focus more on collector-interested product, and just like we're seeing today, both of those didn't fare well.
'03 saw a pair of Star Wars lines - Clone Wars and Clone Wars animated, both of which bombed hard and clearanced out, but didn't go to liquidation.
'04 saw a separate SKU for Hall of Fame, those I don't remember how they did but I do remember buying several on clearance. VOTC doesn't really count because that wasn't taking away from the mainline SKU, it was taking away from the deluxe SKU - supplanting it, really.
In '05, the OTC line spewed out a second SKU for Post-OTC, and that short-run didn't fare well with retailers who simply didn't want a limited product line taking up a whole second set of pegs, so that led to low orders, transitioning into ROTS' single mainline.
'06 saw 4 SKUs on pegs although only 3 were active, ROTS was wrapping up, TSC was going, and then TSC had 2 other basic lines - Ep 3 Greatest Hits and Ep 3 Heroes & Villains, both different SKUs from TSC - and this is where things get tricky. The idea behind those Ep 3 re-releases was to keep and capture casual consumers - kids who were still familiar with the movie but who weren't really into the depth and breadth of the brand. The idea is an extension of Hall of Fame but taken to the next level.
'07 is where Hasbro made a total philosophical shift, putting 2 active SKUs out in roughly even amounts, creating the Saga Legends SKU where they took tooling that they felt was fairly modern but not currently active and made it available to appeal to a casual consumer, shifting the mainline to a more hardcore colector-only focus. From day 1, our Q&A asked them whether this was bound to create a schism that would undermine the foundation of both lines - Hasbro said no, but then sales showed otherwise and pricing started going up as the brand, some would argue, started cannibalizing its own sales.
'08 saw 3 active SKUs that were meant to run in parallel but with new content support in the form of The Clone Wars tv show, so there was Legacy Collection, TCW, and Saga Legends SKUs all running at the same time as basics. TCW ran hot for a while, Saga Legends was like printing money for a while because it was existing quality molds that kids were looking to find but couldn't in the regular mainline, and the regular mainline was uneven due to distribution issues. That business model eventually led to the mainline driving away collectors in droves as they couldn't find new product and stores couldn't satisfactorily stock due to serious pegwarming problems. Eventually Hasbro tried to recapture the hardcore collectors via TVC but intentionally lowered volume and raised prices to match, yet even there they played an odd game of hedging the casual consumer interest in a hardcore line which led to a number of first-wave pegwarmers choking the line, and now here we are.

In looking that whole thing over, something which hadn't occurred to me before shows up, Hasbro's splitting the brand into "collectors vs casual" consumers did create a schism, splitting the market interests out of a single SKU seems to have raised costs on the casual lines instead of saved the hardcore collector line until now there's a higher waterline and everybody's paying through the nose. Did Saga Legends and TVC bring the Hasbro SW brand to its budgetary knees by cannibalizing sales away to Saga Legends and Movie Heroes? When you factor in all the outside economic issues, I think there may be some truth there, but only Hasbro has the numbers to be sure.
Y'know, I probably learn more from reading your posts than just about anything else on the internet. Thanks for the info!

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.