Discussions over box prices and how the FLGS should really focus on their snacks tend to arise on the Internet every few years. It is believed that: A) Game stores are ripping off their customers with their box prices and, ironically, B) Game stores can't possibly survive by selling a commodity product like Magic. This "it can't be done" attitude arises because nobody understands business. It's not surprising when our margins are so thin, you need a spreadsheet to figure it all out. Here's a primer on Magic box prices and how they work within my business.
My best price is $91.12 for a box of Phyrexia All Will Be One draft boosters. Draft boosters are unpopular nowadays. Before they were just boosters, the boosters, with the 36 count format everyone is familiar with. The oldest box I can find in my point of sale system with a verified price is Saviors of Kamigawa from 2005 at $74.39. That price, adjusted for inflation, should be $115.25. Wizards of the Coast has done a fine job at keeping the price low.
Let it be known there is no set net price for this product. I pay $91.12 from one distributor, $92.70 from another, and $95.16 from a third. I may pay any of those prices based on availability or possibly to round off an order for free freight. In the case of Set booster boxes, I needed all three of these suppliers, at three different price points, to get the amount of product I needed. The allocation from each of these suppliers failed to meet my needs, despite a pre order from all of them.
The price I pay is based on my business with that distributor. A smaller store likely pays more than me. A larger store could see somewhat lower prices, but not by a lot. This contributes to the confusion amongst the uninitiated. How much does a game store pay for a box of Magic? It depends. Probably between $89-95. We're a long way from the days of $74.
What I Charge For a Box
I sell only to my local market. I do not sell online. That means I only order an amount to satisfy my local market. It's still a Toyota Corolla sized order, a Camry if it's a hot set. I have no strong incentive for volume purchases, which would result in my pricing more competitively to move that product. I buy for my people.
There are stores who don't care about box sales and will simply keystone a box, meaning doubling the cost. Keystoning a box of draft boosters would bring the price to around $190. Very few people will buy a box for $190, and that's fine for those store owners trying to hold the line. The price a few years ago, when there was an MSRP and the costs hadn't gone up, was around $145 a box. Many customers still live in this world, with boxes discounted to under $100 online.
But that doesn't answer the question of how much do I sell a draft box for.
My goal is to competitively sell this commodity product, a plentiful staple of Magic players, available everywhere, at market rates, tracked like a stock. I do not care what my local competitors are selling for, I am competing on the national market for sales. My price is around the TCGPlayer median price, plus or minus. It can be higher to a degree. I run a premium store with higher costs and I would like higher margins. If I have a smaller supply, I can afford to sit on higher priced product, but that's generally not how Magic works. Still, there is maybe a 10% variance before I lose a significant portion of my sales.