WalMart uses miniatures to make more retailer friends

Apparently mega-chain retailer WalMart is moving deeper into collectible miniatures territory, a trend that’s making some game store retailers nervous. As a guest retailer reports at ICV2, WalMart is selling the Star Wars Miniatures Game at well below MSRP (and though the story claims WalMart did not carry the first two sets of the game, both are listed on WalMart’s website at similarly discounted prices). Does this actually surprise anyone? Of course the biggest selling products of the gaming industry will attract the attention of the biggest retailers. Independant retailers shouldn’t get too bent out of shape over WalMart wanting a piece of the collectible minis pie, and the discounted price lets the company elbow its way in for the largest piece possible. If this was indeed a recent change for WalMart, independant retailers should have seen it coming. (Amusingly, WalMart claims to have the hardcover version of the miniatures. WalMart: undoubtedly gaming specialists.)


  1. Thats a mighty dangerous company to get into bed with… Wal-Mart is notorious for dictating prices to their suppliers and they can ensure that you will not profit (due to the price demand) but they will.

    The RIAA is already stuck in this situation. Wal-Mart is now saying that they will not sell an album unless it is priced below $10. Wal-Mart accounts for 1 out of every 5 albums sold in the US. Telling Wal-Mart they can go take a flying leap is not an option when so much of your revenue relies on one store chain so they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

  2. It’s true. Boostrs for 10 and the big ‘board game’ box for 20. On the plus side, my Unfriendly Local Wal-Marts were compleyely sold out of the boosters so unless I camp out and wait for em, I’ll still buy them from my FLGS.

  3. I’m surprised that local retailers wouldn’t know that WotC wanted to get their products on Wal-Mart shelves, even if it happens to be licensed products. Good for certain gaming consumers who for years I keep hearing them whining about the high cost of game books who I think are willing to shell out $30 for a MMORPG and pay additional $10 a month with nary an objection.

  4. It’s interesting. Which LGSs are we assuming didn’t know this? We knew it, and frankily, many of us don’t mind at all for a couple reasons. 1) Of course Wal Mart wants as much licensed SW stuff as it can get it’s hands on. They already deal with Hasbro, so the natural extension is to bring in Sw minis as a add-on sale. It’s cheap, cleaver, and will sell to both parents and kids. 2) For LGSs who run themselves well, they have nothing to fear from Wal Mart. We don’t have a Wal Mart close enough to us to hurt us, but I know of oodles of retailers who do, and they work to capitalize on it. Wal Mart carrying both Pirates of the Spanish Main, and SW minis is a total “gateway drug” for us. (please pardon the off color analogy, it’s all I could come up with at the moment.) Once people get a taste of either game, them seem to find places like my store…and allllll the other things like that game they found at Wal Mart…but more. I like the fact that the worlds largest retailer is pushing just a taste if what we offer. It helps grow the hobby. Do U fear them replacing us because they carry a few more “hobby” titles in the future? Nope. We have a much larger value add than they do in this field.

    It’s interesting…(and Allan, please read this statement: I am not singling you out. I am just asking the folks in in general.) I have been reading a lot of doom saying for the FLGS in the past few months. Why is that? People hear Wal Mart is selling something like star wars, and that brings fear we are all going to close our doors. There have been plenty other examples of late too…Being a store owner, I just don’t see where it is coming from. We are up for year. WAY up. I don’t care to share the percentage, but it’s up enough to make you go _whoa_. We keep seeing new people enter the hobby through a number of channels. And there are plenty of other stores doing well too. We talk. I know there are, all across the country. Lot’s of stores struggling too…but it isn’t because of Wal Mart selling Pirates. Anywho…just makes me go, hunh?

  5. I can’t speak for Allan, but I know that when I have posted stuff that’s had a trouble-for-retailers angle, the subtext in my brain has always been, “for retailers who don’t have their act together, that is.” I ought to start making that more clear… although, frankly, we can stand to lose some of the retailers who don’t have their acts together.

    I’d also agree with James S. that dealing with Wal-Mart may seriously burn smaller publishers, rather than retailers. That was what worried me about TRU closing down… a company like Eagle/Uberplay or Days of Wonder, both seen in TRU lately, could get seriously messed up in a Wal-Mart deal.

  6. Chris, my thoughts were spawned by reading the retailer post I linked in the story. There obviously *are* retailers who are worried about Wal-Mart and the like, and I can’t understand why those retailers would be shocked and dismayed to see SW Minis in big chain stores.

    However, I’m quite pleased to hear my local store is run by more level-headed folks. 🙂

  7. Is there profit in being a FLGS retailer? I mean, is running a FLGS worth having a business diploma?

  8. Allan, I always, I mean _always_ scratch my head when my fellow retailers are stunned about stuff like this. We just found Carcassone in TRU the other day. 90% of retailers posting to the thread were in the camp of “GREAT! now more people will find out about the games we sell!” The other 10% were throwing their hands in the air claiming the sky was falling. I am convinced those are the same people who sit behind a counter, reading their D&D book rather than actually engaging the customers, finding out what interests them, and then working that into a sale.

    Dai: yes, there is money in it…..

  9. Well, it seems there is another retailer that want to give WotC a piece of his mind by posting on ICv2.

    Be careful, Chris. You could lose your scalp with all that scratching. 😉

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