Retail stores seem to no longer stock MTG products.

Economics forum

Posted on March 13, 2023, 2:33 a.m. by TypicalTimmy

Can anyone else confirm or deny this, seeing as I am viewing it from a bubble?

The major retail stores, Walmart / Target / etc as well as stores that have small toy aisles (Kohl's, Walgreens, etc) use to stock quite a bit of MTG products.

Lately (at least in my location), many stores have entirely stopped stocking and have instead used this opened up retail space for Pokemon. A LOT of Pokemon.

Has anyone else noticed this?

And if this is a strange trend, does anybody know why?

Even March of the Machines, Walmart stocked 1 box of set and draft packs, a few Bundles and that's all. They sold out within a week and never replenished stock.

My local Target literally didn't stop March of the Machines. They stopped stocking months ago, so when Machines came out, they didn't even stock draft boosters.

wallisface says... #2

I assume you mean ONE, as MOM isn’t out yet.

I’m not from a country/city that has these massive stores like Walmart, though I have seen an increase in pokemon stock at my LGS (though not a drop off in magic product).

March 13, 2023 5:20 a.m.

Caerwyn says... #3

During the pandemic, Pokémon cards saw a nostalgic bump in popularity. Magic cards did as well, but Magic’s nostalgic value is infinitely less than the second most profitable brand of all time.

This increase in popularity happened to coincide with the early-2021 spike in organised thefts from retail stores. Trading cards made particularly easy targets for theft - they’re small, can resell easily enough without the same risk of being caught as, say, stolen electronics, and they are not something you can easily put anti-theft devices on.

Increased theft meant increased confrontations with store staff. With profitability and safety both taking a massive hit, stores like Walmart and Target pulled all trading card games from their shelves back in May, 2021.

Reintroduction of trading card games has been spotty and differs by individual store and region. Some have decided they are not stocking any trading card games, some have returned to a pre-removal state of normalcy, and some are doing what yours is - focusing their valuable retail space on the more profitable Pokémon products than on Magic.

March 13, 2023 9:13 a.m.

meecht says... #4

I wonder if it has something to do with the product imagery on the bundles for recent sets.

Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow had imagery that could be considered "scary" or "unappealing", respectively.

Dominaria United and Kamigawa were pretty tame.

The Brother's War seems very ominous.

Phyrexia: All Will be One looks straight out of a Hellraiser movie.

March 13, 2023 10:48 a.m.

Crow_Umbra says... #5

I've definitely noticed this where I live. I live in a major city in the Bay Area of California, and live near a couple of Targets and a Game Stop (about 10-20mins from each). One of the two Targets is much closer to a college campus, and is generally much more frequently out of stock of a variety of items. I noticed that Target has had far less MtG stock for at least the past year, often having a couple packs and a maybe a pre-con. The other Target is closer to a more suburb-y area, and is more frequently stocked in general.

The Game Stop also carries and restocks their Pokemon cards more frequently. I recently went in a weekend or two ago because I was running errands in that shopping area, and the cashier mentioned that this was the first MtG product they had stocked in a while. I ended up buying a couple of ONE set boosters for funsies.

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if retailers are experiencing their own product fatigue/decision paralysis with the current pace of MtG product releases. I'd have to look on /r/EDH and /r/magictcg on Reddit, but I think I've seen anecdotes there regarding retailers (more like LGSs) not carrying as much MtG, in part because there are so many products to keep up with.

Also to Caerwyn's point, Pokemon saw a huge bump in popularity over the Pandemic, to the point that retailers like Target stopped carrying them for a while, due to lots of Pokemon TCG related shoplifting. I think MtG suffered some of that stock cut back as a result of the Pokemon TCG shoplifting.

Ironically enough, Target moved its TCG stock (at least in my local stores) from the front near the registers, to the back near the electronics, in a new "collectibles" area. This could have increased the possibility for shoplifting TCGs due to less visibility.

Seems like a variety of things could be contributing to less MtG at big box retailers.

March 13, 2023 11:27 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #6

I noticed my Walmart shoved half of it's Pokemon collection to the back, near the board games. That was temporary though and it's been since moved to the front again.

This was around Christmas time when I was shopping for my niece and nephew.

March 13, 2023 11:59 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #7

I didn't experience the lockdowns and pandemic quarantine the same as everyone else. I'm in northern Illinois and while some small businesses shut down, largely many places stayed open with reduced hours or capacity. For example Walmart only allowed about 300 people in at a time, and bars closed early.

Despite the mandates, nobody cared. Police enforced none of it.

We have a place called Cherry Valley Mall that was supposed to have been closed, yet thousands of people were allowed in. Police were there too. As long as you had a mask, nobody cared.

March 13, 2023 12:02 p.m.

ork_mcgork says... #8

A lot of big box retailers have a third-party company (whose name escapes me) that maintains their trading card games, and those stores just let them have stocking space and take a cut. If that company and the big box retailers are seeing a significant uptick in Pokemon sales (which had a big spike thanks to the pandemic that is now cooled some), then it makes sense.

I live in the Pacific Northwest in a smaller city and we still get TCG of all sorts on shelves, not that I buy any MTG from bigbox stores anymore anwyay.

March 13, 2023 11:22 p.m.

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