Frankly, Omnissiah speaks the truth. GW made about 80m profit in 2008, if you don't count their stores... if you do, that shrinks to 10m.
The high prices subsidize their stores. Which is all well and good, if you play in England where there's a ton of stores; not so great if you play in Australia at an indie store.
Even in England, where GW CONTROLS the market, the profits from indies were equal to what they made from their stores for the last year they made that data available (2009). Elsewhere, the ratio was even more out of whack, and in the US, where they axed about what, 70% of their stores, profitability quadrupled in one year.
The numbers don't lie. Sadly, GW execs do - to themselves.
Don't know how long it will take GW execs to finely figure that one out iamfanboy
GW should shut down all their stores and sell everything online and through independent stores. They would save a ton of money.. time to join the rest of the 21st centuary.
I live in the US, specifically in the Midwest/Great Plains. This is not an area known for its populous cities and I honestly can't think of an area in my state that would have enough traffic to justifty a dedicated GW store. If the GW stores aren't self-sustaining, that likely means that a portion of my payment for a GW product is going to maintain their retail chain. That's...less than ideal, if true. I dislike paying for something I'll never use. Heck, I complained when they changed their advance order policy - yes, maybe it does get more people to physically go into your stores, but it doesn't work for the US. Note that "complained" means "wrote into GW" as opposed to "just whined on the internet" - the response stated they'd be expanding their retail chain in the states and I'd have a local GW store "soon."
I'm relatively certain a GW store in my town would fail faster than Kristen Stewart in a "Who Can Show Emotion While Acting?" competition.
I can't even think of a good analogy for GW's attachment to their stores. They act like they depend upon the stores to survive while the stores are little more than meaningless parasites. The best I can think of is a girl with a lazy, do-nothing boyfriend - she oohs and aahs over him and acts like he's her whole world despite the fact that he spends all day at her house playing Call of Duty, eating Doritos, and getting high...
I would imagine that's the very issue they're weighing up: are the stores worth it? On the one hand they're a huge cost and a lot of what they do can be done online nowadays. On the other hand, they -do- bring in new customers and offer (especially younger ones) a place to meet, play, etc, not to mention being their only real form of advertising.
I'd say research and facts/figures are necessary, to quantify just what impact (positive and negative) the stores really have.
I think that they need to ditch about 90-95% of their retail operations, keeping only the Bunkers as destination stores, similar to the way Apple products are widely available but they have their own stores for the die-hards. Let the trade accounts determine where it is profitable to operate, and have a single shop in major urban areas. That could reduce the company's costs enough to bring their pricing back in line with what the market will bear - and reducing prices would generate alot of good publicity as well. That might just be enough to reinvigorate the company; but I expect it not to happen until it is too late.
Are you a soldier, or are you a general?
One problem with advertising a product like this is that you absolutely and necessarily need two to play. Little Johnny thinking “cool, I want that!” isn’t really good enough – you need his mates to think the same at the same time. Yes, Little Johnny might eventually convince a friend or two to play, but that’s not, by any means, a certainty.
The big advantage of a shop is that it provides 1) convenient access to all that’s needed, 2) an opponent for an intro-game, and 3) a central location where you can meet other players.
That’s why I’ve been arguing that veterans are so incredibly important. In the absence of a store, as is the case in most parts of the world, the veterans will fulfil the two most important functions: doing intro-games and running clubs.
Games Workshop, however, seems to have ignored this completely and have instead repeatedly given the finger to the veterans.
And now we see a situation where the veterans, having had more than enough, has left for other games, resulting in the stagnation, and eventual decline, of Games Workshop games in the local communities.
So, getting rid of the stores, while absolutely necessary by now, will not, on its own, be enough to turn the ship around. Games Workshop needs to get those veterans back in the game, to give the intro-games and run the clubs so a new generation of players can be recruited and, most importantly, retained until they’re veterans themselves.
So, is there going to be another June price hike, or is this just speculartion?
GW make pretty models. That is their niche. Cheap models is someone elses job.
As for the paint rumour, odd how I ordered more than six pots of paint isn't it? I guess I'm privileged...
GW high street stores are a hang over from the pre-internet days.
The high street stores allow kids to find the toys and then they can be milked for a couple of birthdays and Chritmas'.
Without the stores turnover would plummet in a short time span, maybe 2-3 years, maybe sooner.
How is GW going to get the kids to buy if they dont have a creche where mum and Dad can drop the kids for an hour on the weekend when they shopping.?
In return GW gets a customer for 1-2 years.
I believe GW would make a lot more money if they sold off the vast majority of their retail chain, but within 1-2 years the profits would absolutely plummett as the kids won't be coming into the hobby because there is no longer the point of access in the high street.
Selling the stores off for short tewrm gain means long term disaster.
Indies cannot fulfil the role of a GW store primarily because the price point of the GW product is too high,. and Indies are not set up as a creche.
Looking at some of the arguments here you'd think a company that does not have its own chain of retail stores could never sell a single product. Yet most companies get by without their own stores just fine.
Finecast is like a watch from Armani - very expensive and waterproof.
They are by far the largest company in their general market area (not counting airfix type display models). The reason for this is their store based retail model, although it is also a millstone round their neck due to large overhead costs.
GW's selling point is not neccessarily the fact that they sell the best models and games but that they sell the most accessible good quality games and models (although they also have arguably by far the best and cohesive brand and IP). Whilst people on internet forums such as warseer may be well informed, very very few people have ever heard of warmachine etc. Those games have virtually no presence (at least in the UK) except within a community which is often fed from people moving on or expanding from an initial starting point with GW games.
Whatever peoples gripes GW are the relatively acceptable public face of wargaming with a presence in the high street. If GW shut their stores they might save on overheads but after a couple of years their sales would plummet due to lack of exposure. Due to deep seated public perceptions of nerdiness and the difficulty of succinctly selling the concept without making it look like a game for 7 year old kids I am not sure how successful any media campaign would ever be to sell wargamming products.
The other advantage of GW stores is that not only are they a shop window for the unitiated they are also a closed shop that only advertises their models. Particularly since they also stock Lord of the Rings stuff, a casual browsing member of the public might assume that their are not any other meaningful brands or producers out there.
Sadly the knock on effect of this model is the prices. Although, arguably that is only an issue due to the conscious drive to increase the number of models required for standard sized games of the core GW systems. Still even then with models like greatswords (which are often the purported paradigm of overpricing), if I were to assemble and paint a box in isolation I would get far more cost/value out of the £25 cost than many other general hobbies or pastimes. I mean a glass of wine in the pub is often well over £5 now. The issue is not neccessarily with the quality or cost of a box in isolation. It is the fact you need 3 boxes for a viable unit in a standard 2000 odd point game.
Having said that its still a catch 22. GW need large numbers of stores to create the exposure for sales to a fickle younger audience. But those stores leech most of their potential profit. However, if you close the stores and lose a lot of the exposure and sales you dramatically reduce the turnover. The question is could they be making a much higher profit from a substantially lower turnover; perhaps by having larger flagship stores in principal cities and larger towns and supporting large independents and sponsoring gaming clubs (perhaps run by in part by GW employees) in other towns where GW stores would have questionable profitability and are only there for presence.
Like many other members of Warseer not living in the UK I managed to find out about GW's games and buy their products before there was a single one of their stores in my home country. That fosters a different perspective.
All the GW stores in my area have indy stores within walking distance that already existed before GW came to town. Their products were already being sold there, the area was covered. The presence of their own stores was simply not necessary, especially since almost all GW stores I have been to are smaller and less welcoming than the nearby indies.
So why did GW open these stores?
This model of expansion worked well in the UK. It worked well ten to twenty years ago. But that does not mean it will work today in other parts of the world.
The high street as a whole is dead or at least dying. Year after year physical stores lose market share while internet sales rise. Nerdiness is accepted far more widely nowadays than it used to be; computer games are mainstream (including those featuring GW's IP) and Dungeons & Dragons has been mentioned in so many movies and TV shows it has become a household name. It's not a good idea to blindly stick to the concepts and ideas of yesteryear.