In the past 12 months there have been what some would call radical changes in distribution policies among some of the major card companies. We are beginning to see a domino effect from these changes starting with the litigation between Blowout Cards and Upper Deck, and now what appears to be the buyout of a major distributor. In a release to their customers earlier today, Diamond Collectibles stated:
"As I am sure you are aware, there have been many changes in manufacturer policies over the last few months. After much thought on how these policies and changes will affect all of us, I have made a heartfelt decision. Taking into account the best interests of you our loyal customers and my dedicated employees we will be partnering with a larger distributor. This will allow us to offer you all the lines you need to be successful and in a most timely manner. Combined with the dedication, innovation and service we have always tried to offer we will now have the tools to support you to the fullest extent.
Therefore, effective 8am EST, Monday August 15th, 2011 GTS Distribution will be taking over Diamond Collectibles Wholesale operations."
This would appear to be the latest casualty from stricter distribution policies from notably Upper Deck and Panini, in an effort to increase revenue for brick and mortar hobby stores. With so many shops running online only stores now, you can see the crippling effect this has all the way up the chain. I can't fault companies for attempting to strengthen relations with hobby stores, but at what cost and to what extreme? At some point hobby shop owners have to embrace change or risk being left behind. To assume that customers are going to stop searching online for the best deals just because you tell them to is both naive and arrogant.
Sadly, this is probably not the last statement like this we will read. Distributors are working on thin profit margins as it is. There is an old saying about not biting the hand that feeds you. Card companies may want to watch more carefully who they sink their teeth into.