Saturday, March 06, 2004

I spent much of today examining the twitching corpse of the Wizards of the Coast store at the Moorestown Mall in New Jersey, picking up whatever interesting inventory I could find (not that there was much) at 60% off, and asking when they'd be going to 70.

The closing of Wizards' retail chain was inevitable ever since Hasbro bought Wizards a couple of years ago, and the Hasbro purchase itself was the final act in the company's rapid decline. Hasbro is a big multinational corporation that couldn't be bothered with a piddling hundred-store retail chain. So now they're speedily dumping the stores.

The store is full of the junk typical of mid-tier retail: stuff designed to appeal to a mass audience, but priced way above what you'd find at Wal-Mart. And that's the problem. To be a boutique retailer selling at boutique prices, you'd better have stuff that you can't find in a Wal-Mart. The only way to survive in Wally World is to overwhelm the customer with things that that the huge discount stores turn up their noses at. It requires a lot of work, very good knowledge of the market, and, occasionally, shopping trips to the mall.

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