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Thread: Major change with Finest

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by George_Calfas View Post
    "If inventory is still available"

    Does Finest fail to sell out?
    I have a feeling Topps, even though they claim they are print to order, may have to print up a certain amount of product to try to make the numbers work.

    They will have pushed out the door the amount of boxes/cases sold to their MVP stores and to the general public in the general public ordering window so it seems Topps feels they will still have some product leftover to try to sell on topps.com after taking care of the first two groups.

  2. #17
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    By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

    Some major changes have happened to 2016 Topps Finest Baseball and it has nothing to do with the cards. Following weak pre-sales from dealers and distributors, the product has switched to an almost online-only model. And some aren’t happy about the changes and how they were communicated.

    Hobby shops that have direct MVP status with the card maker are still having their pre-orders honored. All others, including distributors, have had their orders cancelled. To buy it now, everyone will have to buy it direct from Topps.

    “Topps is dedicated to delivering consumers great products. Pre-order volumes were very low making it nearly impossible to deliver a great product using the existing wholesale distribution network,” said Jordan Greenstein, Topps Director of Sports and Entertainment Marketing. “Topps MVP Hobby stores will receive the product as usual assuming they placed an order.”

    2016 Topps Finest Baseball is now available on the Topps website for $99.99 per box or $799.89 for an eight-box case.

    While no numbers were disclosed, Greenstein did say that production was drastically cut compared to last year’s set.

    These changes are causing some concern to those who thought they would be selling 2016 Topps Finest Baseball and paid for the product months ago.




    “They are leaders in our industry and to pull the rug out from under their partners is disappointing,” said Tom Fish, owner of Blowout Cards, of Topps’ decision. “My frustration is that this product was solicited to its partners on the hobby side like it has for many years. At the twelfth hour they decided to change course after the distributors and their retail partners have already committed product to their customers.”

    2016 Topps Finest Baseball Timeline

    • Nov 25: Solicited to dealers and distributors.
    • Jan 13: Initial pre-sale window closes.
    • Apr 22: Topps announced switch to direct distribution.
    • Apr 27: Pre-sales launched on Topps website.
    • May 18: 2016 Topps Finest Baseball releases.
    Fish pointed out that the biggest headache for his company was the added work involved in handling the changes.

    “The demand was low but we are going to honor all of the orders that were placed,” he said. “The orders weren’t huge but the time and energy involved was a pain in the neck.” He also noted that Blowout will match the $99.99 price offered through the Topps website.



    Pat Moe of Bosco’s in Anchorage, Alaska sees several issues, both direct and indirect. He echoed a similar sentiment as Fish in that if shops didn’t honor pre-orders they risked angering customers and it may lead to them shopping elsewhere.

    “Shops that sell Topps products have been put in a no-win situation by the decision to change the distribution of Finest with no warning,” Moe said. “Don’t carry it [and] you lose potential customers and sales. Any decision from a manufacturer on a product that has been designated as a hobby-direct product that drives customers from your store is irresponsible and reckless. The fact that Topps did not honor existing pre-orders with distributors is one hundred percent not acceptable.”

    And while the distribution switch didn’t impact pre-sales placed by stores with MVP status, it still has the potential to impact things. Mike Fruitman of Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, Colorado is one such store.

    “When I first heard that 2016 Finest was going to be released differently than what I expected, my concern went to the three cases I ordered directly. Fortunately, Topps will be honoring orders at cost for any of the 250 MVP stores that ordered like I did,” Fruitman said.

    But in the past, he’s been able to sell more than his initial order.

    “Next I thought of how I was going to restock it since it is a release that we go through double-digit cases most years. The distributors I restock it from will not be able to offer it this year,” he noted.

    “I think of every store in this industry as my brother or sister store and it is really unfortunate that they cannot get the only fully licensed MLB release due in all of May,” Fruitman said. He pointed out how Panini took a similar approach with 2013-14 Panini Titanium Hockey when they made the set a Canadian-exclusive after pre-orders had already been taken. But he couldn’t recall Topps doing something similar.



    When 2016 Topps Finest Baseball was originally solicited for pre-sale last November, the cost for dealers was closer to $600 per case. That was the rate they were going off of when determining how much to order and their prices for their own pre-sales. Now that cases are $800 and available to everyone, it makes it more difficult to make a profit. That could change if the product is received well, but it will take a lot to make up the nearly $200 difference in cost per case.

    “Trust is lost. Distributors won’t trust Topps. Shops won’t trust Topps and distributors. End users may not trust shops and Topps,” said Moe. “How this affects future Topps pre-orders will be very interesting. I see shops saying they will boycott future Topps products but if MLB is a major part of your sales, this is not realistic.

    “And if enough people quit pre-ordering products, then that pushes Topps towards a Finest ordering system as the norm. So if you protest with your wallet now, you may end up with a worse situation later. [You] can’t win.”

    Although things were changed up here, it doesn’t mean large-scale changes in distribution are in the works at Topps.

    “Topps will always evaluate new ways to reach its tremendously passionate consumer base,” said Greenstein. “As of now, Topps does not plan to use this model for any upcoming releases.”

    Even still, Fish sees a changing market that’s establishing new patterns, planned or not.

    “Anytime you try something new it’s a test. Is it something that’s going to affect a lot of people? Sure. We’re talking about the shrinking footprint of the hobby,” Fish said. “This is just another step in that direction. People aren’t pre-ordering at the rate they have in the past. The products that take off when they come out are few and far between.”

    Comments? Questions? Contact Ryan Cracknell on Twitter [MENTION=6139]tradercracks[/MENTION].

    Sent from my HTCONE using Freedom Card Board mobile app

  3. #18
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    Hoping my hobby store is one of the MVP stores. Best regards, David
    Losted in Space, on Gilligian's island without a boat, can't get back into Narnia, struck in a time machine!

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