[I apologize if this is a bit late. I can only post on the weekends, and last weekend I was immersed in C2E2 in Chicago.]
On Thursday, March 17, Diamond hosted their “Dialogue with Diamond” panel as part of the Diamond Retailer Summit. Roger Fletcher, Diamond VP-Sales & Marketing, and Bill Schanes, VP-Purchasing, fielded questions and feedback from retailers.
Before taking questions from retailers, some data from 2010 was presented.
Roughly 70% (1700 of 2400) stores participate in the new early shipping program. Stores agree to receive comics a day early, on Tuesday, and not sell them until Wednesday, New Comic Book Day. To judge compliance, Diamond charges a fee for the program which funds a “secret shopper” program.
Of 1300 visits since implementation in January, only 22 violations were discovered. In addition to testing retailers on selling comics before the Wednesday release date, the shoppers also notate various other criteria, such as customer service and store appearance.
- 1800 stores are participating
- There will be a mobile app as well as Facebook and Twitter access
- 2.7 Million copies of FCBD comics have been ordered. (1500 comics per store!)
- 1.8 million visits since 1996
- 20,000 visitors per month
- Retailers were reminded to update their store profiles.
- CSL has social media tags, as well as Diamond icons to designate those stores which are kid and librarian friendly.
The following is data from 2010, and only refers to what Diamond Comics ships to stores.
- -3.59% Comic Books
- +0.8% Graphic Novels
- -23.6% Toys
- -20.3% Magazines (attributed to some publishers no longer publishing)
- +8.2% Prose Books
- +40.8% Games (Magic, Hero Clix, board games)
- +38.4% Apparel (Did you know Diamond has exclusive t-shirt designs?)
- +51% Novelties
- +6.6% Diamond publications
- -18.6% Collectible cards (Attributed to some exclusive contracts)
- -4% Supplies
- -30.5% Video (downturn attributed to piracy, downloads, and fewer companies producing titles. Also, Diamond’s margins cannot match those offered, at retail prices, of WalMart)
- -19.2% Posters and prints (Hard to merchandise)
- -3.9% Overall
- -2.6% Customers
For the first two months of 2011, Diamond reports:
- -4% Comics
- +9% Graphic Novels
- +79% Toys
- +17% Games
- -7% Books
- +20% Apparel
Diamond also reviewed selections from Diamond Select Toys, which includes Marvel Select, Ghostbusters, and Universal Monster licenses.
Retailer questions and discussion were rather civil compared to those of years past.