It Is Him wrote:I know a bunch of you guys are nodding your head in agreement about psudeo-Hayek economic theory, talking about inflation and hyper inflation. Unfortunately, most of what's being said isn't true. Between 2011 and 2012, inflation has been less than the standard 3% that we've come to expect. We're far from a hyper inflation scenario - in fact, the the US dollar deflated between 2008 and 2009 during our recession. (And no, the Federal reserve isn't printing more money than it should be) Most importantly, we're forgetting other variables in the equation here.
Actually the fact that that Quantatative Easing (QE) is being and has been repeatedly used is testimony to the fact that the world is entering a hyper-inflationary period and that money is being overprinted. Furthermore the fact that consumer costs are rising (right across the board, not just with petroleum based products) is also evidence of a devalued dollar and therefore inflation.
It Is Him wrote:First, the price of raw materials have increased. As it's been said before oil in the commodities market is not only expensive, it's also unpredictable - what with all the political turmoil in the middle east.
Actually last I checked, the US, like Australia, is fairly self sufficient when it comes to oil. The reasons for the price fluctuations are that the US and Australian Governments stupidly tied their oil prices into global markets and that scale of supply and demand, rather than domestic supply and demand and regulating oil prices to that domestic market.
It Is Him wrote:Second, the US dollar has grown weaker to the Chinese Yuan. Where do our toys get made? Exactly. That means the price of labor, land and other costs are increasing when converted back into the US Dollar.
Which is actually evidence of a devalued dollar and therefore inflation. The fact is that Western countries seldom manufacture anything these days and as a result, the physical economy (our productivity and infrastructure - ie our manufacturing potential) has shrunk, reducing the value of our currencies which has been further compounded by practices such as QE.
Furthermore the big increase is that Chinese labour costs have skyrocketed with wages going up at least 30% in the past few years and I suspect the trend will only continue.
It Is Him wrote:Third, the toys that are here are selling poorly. Hasbro admitted it recently during one of their investor conferences, though it was obvious to us when DOTM Deluxe Wave 7 was cancelled here in the US. As a result, Hasbro is trying to extract more profit from those of us that are still doing well enough to afford a luxury good. When raising prices, Hasbro know they're going to price some people out, but even though they're losing customers, their expecting to make more off that consumer base. If they don't, prices may go back down. Or the deluxe class could disappear, and become something new.
Hasbro's poor market-share there is due to the fact that it's run by idiots! The fact is that the toy market has changed, with kids going to video games earlier and the toy market being more predominantly adult collector driven.
Yet in both these cases, Hasbro only has itself to blame for its poor performance. On one hand, Hasbro is trying for a quick fix on movie lines and letting the likes of the Marketing Department of Walmart call the shots, who in most cases have no clue about the toy industry and how to create and grow trends rather than simply chase them.
As the old saying goes, you get out what you put in - which is bugger all when you're chasing rather than creating trends. So as a result, they wind up trying to base a toyline designed to have at least a 12 month shelf life around a fad which may only last 3-6 months which the line is playing catchup on anyway. Smell wonder that kids smell the staleness a mile off and go to video games. For anyone saying that Action figures can't compete in that environment, I have 1 word for you - Skylanders.
Secondly, Hasbro refuse to properly cater to adult collectors in the wash of this. The Avengers toyline is a classic example of this. You can't expect to shove the first few waves of the line with upteen dozen repaints of the same few figures and then wonder why you end upwith a raft of pegwarmers. That of course leads to the part of the equation which is the fault of retailers (TRU is one retailer guilty of this) using automatic reordering systems based around average sales which can see 1 or 2 lone figures staying on the pegs for 2 weeks after the rest of the case has sold on the first day, making the wave/line look like a poor performer. Retailers need to pull their fingers out of their backsides and put them on the pulse because in this climate, they can't afford to ignore system problems that have been there for years and which they couldn't be bothered addressing.
In short, Hasbro's problem isn't the market- it's how it handles the market and recognising that it needs to be in the driver's seat - not retailers.