As part of Hasbro's tri-weekly Q&A session, Rebelscum passed on 3 of your burning questions and now we've got the answers for you. Rebelscum: The Jabba's Rancor Target Exclusive pack has been available for some time via Target.com but has yet to find its way to stores. During the Toy Fair presentation your slide show said it was "In Stores Now", yet it is not. Any word on the hold up of this guy or when we should expect to see him (ie release date) in Target stores?Hasbro:
This has been a source of frustration for us, as well as Target. When this item slipped its original date from last Fall into Spring, Target agreed to take it but did not have an open spot for it on either the planogram or an end-cap. They are still finding a place for it on-shelf and when we get that date we'll keep people posted.Dan's Note: We have in fact just today gotten reports of the Rancor hitting Target stores across the U.S. Happy hunting!Rebelscum: In order to improve sales on the TLC line, have you looked into non-movie themed waves? That could make it easier to anchor waves with more popular characters instead of having to focus on one film per wave.
In order to keep figures flying off the pegs, would it be possible to stagger waves throughout the year (one wave every two months) instead of very little in the early months of the year followed by a glut of product in the fall? It would be easier for collectors to catch up and for kids to save up for new figures but still allow bigger items in the holiday season for gift-giving.Hasbro:
As for non-movie-themed waves, we are looking at going that way but not until after 2010. The reality is that after the first couple of waves each year, we carry-forward the "Greatest Hits" anyway, so the result after a couple months is the same. The challenge with managing The Legacy Collection waves is how many of the purely collector-targeted figures we produce, and how many we release. Too many released too deeply for the size of the collector market at any one time could lead to back-up.
One solution, which we don't plan on implementing, is going to only versions of the more popular characters....this would ensure sell-through but would eliminate a lot of the newer and more niche characters. Finding the balance is the key.
As for regular schedule, well that's the real trick, isn't it? Ideally waves would arrive every 6-8 weeks apart, like clockwork. Unfortunately, a combination of different delays has caused periodic bottlenecks to occur. We are ahead of it for the rest of 2009 and 2010.
Of note - there will always be a bit of a dry spell in the months before the line look changeover.Rebelscum: In a recent Q&A you confirmed the upcoming TFU wave is going to be canceled due to the slagging Legacy line. The reason you gave is that Hasbro wants to scale back on the main action figure line and focus more on the animated series. My question is will this be a temporary phase until things are a little more sound (economically at least) or are you really planning on scaling back and eventually phasing out the main figure line? How will this effect unmade characters, core and background alike, and future Star Wars developments like the live action show? Does the future of Hasbro Star Wars really lay in The Clone Wars and repacks?Hasbro:
Actually, none of the reasons you relayed are the reasons we gave to as to why we were moving the TFU wave from mainline basic figures to the exclusives line (note that the figures will be coming out, just not as basic figures).
What we did say, and we are happy to clarify, is that the number of active collectors seems to have softened, which presents a problem for a basic figure line like The Legacy Collection where new sculpts of more obscure, fan-requested or as-yet-unmade characters remains part of the "heart" of the line. Because of the high volume expectations for the basic figure line, it needs to be very tightly planned or we will miss our targets and retailer expectations will not be met. We are very committed to the main Legacy figure line and do not foresee this fading out as long as there is a strong collector following.
Slowing demand results in two problems - when we are left with extra figures at retail above what we have planned and forecast, and also in lowered volume expectations for the line, which throws the financials for that line (including the amount of tooling that can be assigned) into trouble. It's something we will be keeping a close eye on, since we are fans ourselves and want to see the line continue to be able to explore some of the more interesting and niche characters that add so much color the Star Wars world.
We will still continue to pursue new and interesting exclusives whenever possible, which is another way of delivery new and interesting figures. The challenges on Legacy do not have anything to do with The Clone Wars - that line was planned to be very robust alongside Legacy.
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