Hasbro CEO Gives 6 Excuses For Poor Toy Sales

Fortune reports:

The force wasn’t with Hasbro Inc. during its latest Star Wars merchandising push.

I keep reading that pun more and more these days.

Back in February, Chief Executive Brian Goldner from Hasbro was quoted as saying:

“I don’t see it as Star Wars fatigue,” Mr. Goldner said. “I feel like there’s great vitality in Star Wars.”

He was also quoted as saying:

“I remain totally bullish on Star Wars,” Goldner told TheStreet Monday at Hasbro’s annual toy exhibition.

Pointed out Goldner on a conference call with analysts, “And really I don’t see it as at all as Star Wars fatigue, I think the entertainment has been quite good.”

Propshop-Star-Wars-Darth-Vader-Melted-Helmet-001

A visual metaphor for the fate of the toyline.

But now, Goldner would like to list for you, all the reasons that Star Wars toys haven’t been selling.

Chief Executive Officer Brian Goldner says the company made an error by releasing toys too far ahead of the franchise’s most recent movie, “The Last Jedi.” That contributed to disappointing sales of the products during the holidays — a season that was already hurt by the bankruptcy of Toys “R” Us Inc.

“The fact that we began to merchandise the film in September and the film came out in December was just too long a period of time to sustain retail interest,” Goldner, 54, said in an interview. It didn’t help that lots of other toys were hitting around the same time, he said, “with an array of entertainment initiatives coming to market.”

So the excuses so far are:

  1. Releasing toys too early
  2. Toys R Us bankruptcy
  3. Other toys hitting the market
  4. An array of entertainment initiatives coming to market

It’s a good thing Star Wars toys never had to compete with G.I. Joe, transformers, or He-Man.

The article continues:

But when “The Force Awakens” came out, there was pent-up demand for all things Star Wars. It was the first film in a new trilogy, and fans lined up at midnight to snag action figures and lightsabers.

That strategy backfired in 2017 for “The Last Jedi,” the eighth episode in the saga. Hardcore fans still came out in September, but the momentum quickly faded. Sales of Star Wars toys unexpectedly declined last year.

UNEXPECTEDLY!

Hasbro’s overall revenue fell 2 percent in the fourth quarter, and its shares have lost 7.8 percent of their value this year.

Hasbro isn’t the only company that had a tough holiday season. Mattel Inc. saw sales plummet 12 percent in the fourth quarter — with girls’ toys, other than Barbie, performing especially badly.

So we also have:

5. Not the first film in a trilogy

6. Other toylines did poorly too

Note how “the movie sucks” doesn’t make the list.  Either does, “normal people don’t respond to Bolshevik marketing.”

Hasbro has another chance to reignite Star Wars buzz in the coming weeks. Merchandise for “Solo: A Star Wars Story” will roll out in early April. The movie comes out the following month, on May 25.

Good luck with that.

But not to worry Hasbro, as the wise sage Rian Johnson tells us, “Myths are not made to sell action figures.”

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