Tonight at midnight is the pre-release for Theros, the new Magic set. For our store, this is welcome relief. Why? Magic has grown from this top game that accounted for 10% of our sales a few years ago to a juggernaut. It now accounts for about 35% of our sales, which we like to call in these parts, pure profit.
The last set, which framed the entire Summer sales, was M14. It was a dud Not kind of a dud, but by all definitions, a thing that did not go off as expected. It's alright, it's a core set, but compared to M13? Truly underwhelming.* So what happens when a product that distorts your business to the point that it's over a third of your business activity has a stumble? Just wow is what happens.
My navel gazing and Chicken Little antics have been internal for the last few months, contemplating the Magic bubble bursting, among other things. In past years, I might have been a little panicky, but honestly, after nearly nine years in the game trade, "the sky is falling" is standard operating procedure. Yawn. Where's my umbrella?
I am, unfortunately, the type of person who will raise their fist to the sky to curse it for raining down money at a slower rate. It honestly comes from all the various balls in the air it takes to run a retail store. It's the endless march of increased costs that will trample you underfoot if you don't somehow come up with increased sales. Increased costs is a certainty, while increased sales requires some sort of retail witchcraft. When a third of your business is one thing, that's a heck of a lot of sorcery one needs to be throwing around. In this case, thankfully, it's a delayed blast fireball. Hopefully maximized.
* The thing about the game trade is my experience might be completely different than another store owner'sexperience, although Magic single prices for M14 show lack of interest.