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Monday, February 10, 2014

Lamley News: Is Walmart ditching Matchbox??

The buzz has begun, as collectors all over the US are reporting seeing this on the pegs at Walmart:


And this:


And this:


Even the 5-packs have been marked down.

So what is going on?  There is a lot of speculation, and we know nothing.  Some say this is the end of Matchbox at Walmart, as they are clearancing off all the Matchbox, to make space for some other brand, maybe even creating more real estate for Hot Wheels.

Others suggest it is not time to panic, as this may be a way to clear out current stock to make room for new Matchbox stock with new UPC numbers.

We have no idea, but this is a little concerning.  We just hope we are suffering from a case of premature panicization.  What we do know:

  • While we have seen different Matchbox items put on clearance in the past, this is the first time we have seen basics on clearance.
  • This is the exact time of year that Walmart does its toy department reset.  The timing of this could mean Matchbox is out.  It could also be what some have said, just making room for new stock.

Taking Matchbox completely out of Walmart does not make a ton of sense, and it seems that Mattel has quite a bit more leverage than other toymakers.  But we mustn't forget that Walmart rules all.

We really hope this is just a product reset for Matchbox, but we will have to wait and see.  If this is in fact Matchbox's end at Walmart, at least for the time being, this could mean some major changes for the orange brand.  It is too valuable a brand for Mattel to give up, but could we see it separated even more from Hot Wheels?  Or a return to more realism?  One way or the other, this could mean a VERY interesting Matchbox Gathering Convention in July, when the Matchbox marketing and design teams present the direction for 2015.

Stay tuned...

35 comments:

  1. The end is near!!! Gather your licensed all-diecast Lesney Matchbox from 2010 and head for the bunker!

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  2. I think they are just not selling matchbox no more or they are selling old for new!!

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  3. An important consideration, if this is not being seen at all Walmart locations; is it at the lower-tier stores with less sales who have the condensed toy department to begin with? Over a year ago almost all Walmart locations carried M2 machines products, then at this time about half of them dropped M2 products and others when the diecast isle and toy department was condensed.

    Any way you cut it there is potential for concern here... $1 Matchbox not readily available at Walmart?! but at least if Matchbox will hang on in the half of Walmart stores that actually move their toy inventory then that's somewhat of a bright spot?

    We're listening... keep us posted!

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  4. None of the local Walmarts in my area of New Jersey have had much in the way of Matchbox basics since October last year. I thought about this very topic come December when the Hot Wheels were constantly being replenished but the Matchbox area was pretty bare except for 5- and 9-packs. Some of my local Targets have not had much in the way either, but more than Walmart has offered. I've seen diecast toys wither and die at most of the major big box stores over the past 5-10 years, but can't believe I may be seeing the end of the MBX lineup now too.

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  5. I just found a complete case of Batch C at Walmart this morning, all full price.

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  6. My Wal-Mart was completely devoid of Matchbox for a few weeks, but they just put out some of the newest 5-packs. I think they're just clearing old stock to make room for the new.

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  7. Toys R Us in Sydney Australia are doing the same thing, matchbox cars are on sale and the space for matchbox cars is being condensed down into 0 space...

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  8. It seems to depend on each store. There's one local Walmart that got rid of Matchbox over a year ago, along with all premium HWs. Only HWs they have now are Monster Jam singles, basics, 5 packs and 9 packs.

    Some local Walmarts have put all Matchbox on clearance while others still have full price. But Matchbox isn't the only one hit. Many premium like Hot Wheels, even Monster Jam, have been clearance priced at the same Walmarts that put Matchbox on clearance.

    At this point, it's a wait and see kind of deal.

    -doomus

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  9. No they aren't abandoning Matchbox. I found a brand new case of MBX cars in the midst of this clearance the other day.

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  10. Last week at Kroger supermarket, they were 2 for a dollar.

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  11. Well I don't know if this a good sign or not but in Philadelphia area WMs there has been no change at all. Was just there this afternoon and no clearance and the latest batch is on the shelves. Premiums are at a lull though. The only ones I seen were a fresh batch of the final Boulevard series. There were plenty of the latest cool classics. Let's remember this is inventory time of year so their going to try and get rid of as much stock as possible. I have noticed all brands space shrinking. HW seems to stay ahead of all others though. I'll tell ya I would love to see a return to realism though.

    All that said with all the peg Warmers from all brands something has to give. Common sense tells me that even though they are only a dollar. With as many models that sit there has to be a cash loss. Ive suggested before that they should consider designing more models that would be popular but limit the castings. The variations are a bit much colors wheels reproducing is ok but seeing the same casting over and over again is rediculious. I know some people thrive on them but I don't believe this is good business. More sit then are purchessed. If they would do more of what the consumers want and less repros I think sales would be better and there would be less peg warmers. They also need to come to realize who their consumer is. It's not the kids for the most part it's the collectors. It's ashamed but it's a fact


    Swifty's Phillywheels

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    1. Trying to decide if your logic is as flawed as your spelling... changing the color, wheels, tampos etc is much cheaper than creating a new casting for what is essentially a cheap toy, as much as we enjoy them.

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  12. I just visited a local Walmart near my work and the MBX multi-packs were discounted on the red tag at $7. I didn't really see if the 5 pks. were marked down. But... I did notice that 2 bxs of 2013 Hot Wheels Mystery Model Series 2 packs were marked for the low, low price of .75 cents.
    TRU's carries the newest lines of MBX, unlike Walmarts in my area, so I suppose WM is trying to move out the old to make room for new. It seems that some Walmarts are getting a little behind TRU sometimes, But I noticed a local TRU must have went thru their inventory because there have been a few 2012 models stocked up on the shelfs, including a bunch of the 2012 gold/silver '70 Mach 1 Mustangs.

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  13. actually there are like 3 matchbox 2012 cars on the pegs but all 2013-14 5 packs up i just found it out today. if it is the end grab all the 2012 basic models and put them in the lock box and crawl in the corner and cry

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  14. Without a healthy die cast isle Wally World will see a huge drop in collateral buying. If it were not for there large die cast selection, I would not be caught dead walking into a WM, which means I would be shopping at a more local and convenient box store such as Target or Fred meyers, both of which I frequent weekly for cars and whatever. Toys R Us is in the tank as well, no new cars since Xmas! What kind of toy store has no die cast? A soon to be out of business one to me. I don't think the corporate buyers realize how much extra spending is brought into there stores for these little beauties.
    Wah Wah Wah all the way home....empty handed again.

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    1. Precisely the same thinking here; from a collector with 3 business degrees. If not for the diecast (namely exclusives) I would never visit a Walmart, the few things they have cheaper than say Meijer or Target are of lesser quality and those that aren't cheaper (0.25 more for 5qts of Mobil 1 oil at Target) are trivial where I'd rather not wait in line with sketchy Walmart customers for twice as long.

      Here's hoping Walmart competitors pick-up new lines such as AutoWorld diecast so Wally World isn't the only local retail outlet for most.

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  15. To answer your question John, yes Wal-Mart is ditching Matchbox. Why? Haven't I told anyone of my Wal-Mart on an ambassador report before? This isn't Matchbox's fault, but I'm not in the U.S and I am in Canada, my local Wal-Mart is even worse than all you in the U.S. My local Wal-Mart has limited models of the last 2 batches and I also saw restocked J case models. And some bad news I have to say is that I don't even see 2014 models yet. All I can see are 2013 Matchbox 5 packs in the 2014 5 pack packages, still restocked J case cars, not a lot of models from the last 2 batches of 2013.

    An even worst than ever, my Wal-Mart has 3 2012 Matchbox cars! I'm not kidding. I'm in Canada. Why are these Wal-Marts turning into idiots?

    A big explanation I had to really tell of you, of my worst, just truly, really worst than y'all in the U.S of my Wal-Mart. Is this worst than the U.S Wal-Marts or what, mine's?

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    1. Oh no! Since I reside in Canada I worry if that translates into not seeing 2014 models because at both of my local Wal Mart stores there is not too many Matchbox vehicles being sold and for that matter most of the Matchbox vehicles are not 2014 models,also, when the local Target store restocks they tend to be 2013 models so basically there's nothing up to date and even in the local Toys 'R' Us store there are relatively few Matchbox vehicles that aren't up to date so I kinda wonder if some Canadian bureaucrats feel that Matchbox vehicles are what? Detrimental to Canadian consumers? If so that's pretty stupid!

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    2. If necessary to point out where I reside in Canada is in the province of New Brunswick and the city of Fredericton which incidentally and if necessary to point out has a population in the 50,000 range.

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  16. None of the Matchbox were on sale at my nearest Walmart...I'm in Atlanta, Georgia.

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  17. I'm suprised how much it varies from store to store here in the US. Last time I was at Walmart, I saw no 9 packs, and I think it was mostly Skybusters, 5-packs, and basics, and maybe a few playsets. . Kmart has 5-packs, 9-packs, playsets, Skybusters and basics. The only "clearance" model's I've found were the Skybusters The Bat and the Colet Jaguar crash truck. Magic Mart, which I haven't been to since before Christmas had almost everything. Mission Force and Hitch and Haul in addition to everything else. I also found the Dodge A100, Dodge Charger, and MXT-MVA when I couldn't find them elsewhere. Last year, I also found the Seagrave there.

    Nearly all the grocery stores around here no longer carry Matchbox or any diecast at all for that matter. In fact at a Grant's I found Hot Wheels dating back to 1995.

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    1. So sad, perhaps more evidence of children desiring game apps for their electronic tablets than actual toys, namely fewer diecast in this instance...?

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  18. The Walmart I went to this evening still has all their Matchbox stuff at regular price. They haven't restocked singles since the holidays, though, and they still have a dozen batch A cars from that restock. I'd also like to mention that most of the
    Portland area WMs I check for diecast also survived the M2 and JL purges. They still carry M2 and carried JL until their demise.

    But yeah, the fact that WM is doing this at even a portion of their stores isn't a welcoming sign. I also have to say that I haven't seen anything newer than batch A at anywhere.

    -ThisDudeAbides

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    1. That's Portland, OR, by the way.

      -ThisDudeAbides

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  19. Just saw new Matchbox 9 packs come in tonight in Jersey...I don't think they're going anywhere, just typical reset.

    musicvox

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  20. I just got back from Target and they had Hot Wheels marked down to 87 cents and restocked Batch C. I have never seen so many HW's at a Target in my life - even during the diecast bubble of the late 90's. They had Kool Kombi's, Herbies, Bat Pods scattered on the ground. Guess how many MBX they had? 5.

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  21. I don't think that Walmart is ditching Mbx (at least - yet...). As I'm sure is the case across the US and Canada, the toy departments in all the Walmart's are going through their resets. I've seen the plans that they tape in the aisles for the resets and it clearly shows the Mbx section with the mainlines, 5 packs, etc. While I have not seen any 2014 Mbx basics at any Walmart's yet, that is not to say they are not on the way. I have only found one store in all of Toronto (GTA area included) that had the 2014's and it was a Target. I have seen though the new Mbx monster trucks and some other castings at Walmart, so I wouldn't put the nail in the coffin just yet.

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    1. True! I happened to visit another Walmart location here in Maryland, and saw the black-n-white sheets hanging throughout the isles where the future shipments will be placed. The inventory sheets taped up above shelves displayed exact locations where MBX packs are going to be placed. So again, it seems Walmarts here are doing away with the old stock (marked down clearance red tags) to make room for new MBX's. Can't wait!

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    2. This is very reassuring! Thanks for the additional info...

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  22. Checked out another WM here in the Portland area and that store is a part of the MB clearance. I got the last 60th Anniversary vehicle on the pegs (an orange Land Rover) and left the lone mainline single (a Whiplash) for someone else. They also had 4 or 5 5-packs left. All the 9-packs were gone. Here's hoping that the already small section of the aisle that they had set aside for MB doesn't get smalet.

    -ThisDudeAbides

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  23. So far, Hot Wheels has their 5th case of 2014 out at my local Wal-Mart which is the E case, and no sign of 2014 Matchbox. All these reasons are all the same meaning. Wal-Mart isn't ditching Hot Wheels but Matchbox. My local Wal-Mart is obviously going to be releasing the 2014 F case soon, and some Matchbox collectors in my country are waiting for every Wal-Mart to get 2014 Matchbox to their Matchbox collection. And so am I waiting.

    That's the reason I say, Wal-Mart personally gives Matchbox a BOO now. It's so a great company that people are waiting for the 2014's to arrive. And now it's such, a painful BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    I think I apologize Matchbox for Wal-Mart not releasing their 2014 A, B, and C cases. Maybe Wal-Mart
    just doesn't wantta sell those 2014's because they hate how the card says "On a Mission". But personally I actually don't care about the card. I care about Wal-Mart being capable of making the 2014 Matchbox models cases A-C to arrive right now in stores.

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  24. BOO YA! Wal-Mart's bad at keeping up with the Matchbox cars.

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  25. Went to a different Walmart and found another Batch C at full price, so they are out there. The problem is stores only get 1 or 2 cases in, and meanwhile 2 Dump Bins of Hot Wheels plus all the old stuff that never sells. Hell they stock Monster Jam better then MBX and those things didn't even sell when MJ was in town...

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  26. I also saw the in inventory hanger sheets at Walmart in Sandy, UT today that show plenty of space for MB stuff this season. They said they are due to implement it 2/17 so that may be a good morning to check for new shipment. I took a pic of the sheet here: http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f381/MakeMineNuclear/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_20140212_141157_228_zps266491d3.jpg

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    1. Thanks for the photo. This is concrete proof that Matchbox will be sticking around at Walmart... now did anyone see if the AutoWorld 1:64 diecast will still be available at the locations carrying the premium diecast lines?

      My local Walmart only placed Matchbox on clearance yesterday, which didn't mean much with only 2 basics on the pegs, I bought the blue tractor with yellow fenders & interior & left the generic off-road van.

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