Wizards of the Coast retail stores are beginning to eliminate most non-WotC RPGs from their inventory, according to ACD Distribution CEO Rich Kummer (ACD is the distributor used by the chain for much of its non-WotC game product). Up to this point, those stores have carried a substantial range of such games, but the sales levels and inventory required to support them led the chain to make the change. Kummer told us that among the lines that will continue to be carried by the chain are WizKids, CCGs, and 'interesting games like Munchkin, Chez Geek, CheepAss Games, Cookie Fu, Avalanche Press Wargames, and the like.'
At last count, there were between 80 and 90 Wizards of the Coast stores, so this won't have a huge impact on the retail landscape, but it will make a difference for stores close to WotC locations. It will also have an impact on those game publishers whose lines are being eliminated as sales through that channel dry up. When we reported on Hasbro's 2001 annual report, we noted that losses on the scale that had been incurred by the stores last year were unlikely to be tolerated for long (see 'Stores Bleeding'). These may be the long-awaited first steps toward restructuring the stores into a more profitable business model.