In the vein of a similar report from California earlier, a report of a comics and games store citing the overall recession as its reason for closure. Torrance, Calif. store Third Planet Comics & Games closes Monday, according to the Contra Costa Times. “The deciding factor in this decision is that sales have fallen to a level where we can no longer meet our obligations,” owner Robert North told patrons in an e-mail. The owner of a nearby store in Manhattan Beach told the paper that there had been a “slight downturn” in its own sales.
Again, individual reports of closings and openings don’t give us the full larger picture — every store’s situation is different — and the macro performance for the comics industry in the 2007 appears to have run ahead of the general economy. But January is a month for comics industry watchers to keep an eye on. The first month of the historic “dead quarter” usually sees the slowest sales of the year, and back at the end of the last boom, something like 1,100 stores closed in January 1994, kicking off a six-year downturn.
Product mix also deserves a special look in this time — there are a number of non-comics lines that are performing more weakly than comics, so the “diversify, diversify, diversify” call of the mid-1990s might be creating some additional downside exposure now for shops heavily invested in slow sectors. Something to keep an eye on as reports come in…
Comichron founder John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 25 years, including a decade editing the industry’s retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises.
He is the author of novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Dawn, Star Trek: Discovery – The Enterprise War, and his upcoming release, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – The High Country. Read more about them at his fiction site.
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