One important newsstand distributor contacted by ICv2 said that Marvel's dumping of the Comics Code and adoption of its own rating system system (see 'Marvel Dumps the Comics Code') might not be much of an impediment to newsstand distribution. Tom Levy of Chas. Levy Distribution (one of the top four newsstand distributors in the country) told ICv2 that he thought that most of the retailers he works with will probably go along with Marvel's new rating system. The big problem according to Levy is the declining sales of comic titles. Comics are being forced out of the newsstand mix because their sales percentages are often lower than those of competing magazines. Levy quoted a number of figures for sales of comics through his own company that show a considerable decline over the past six months (see 'Newsstand Sales Declining Across the Board'). According to Levy, sales of Marvel titles have declined about 18% over the past six months, while the DC group of titles has fallen by about 25% during the same period. Note that these sales figures are through one company only (although one of the largest) and don't necessarily reflect the entire newsstand market.
Even if the Midwest-based Chas. Levy receives little or no opposition to codeless Marvel comics, Marvel could still be in trouble in other regions or with some of the major chains, but it appears that the largest problem is spurring sales on the newsstand market in order to retain the diminishing number of facings that comics currently have in the supermarket, c-store, drugstore, and other primarily chain outlets serviced by this channel. And given that DC's sales started lower and are dropping faster (at least at Levy) than Marvel's on the newsstand, it may be that both DC and Marvel end up exiting the newsstand market sooner rather than later.