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Warner Bros. Studio Stores 1990-2001

Discussion in 'The Warner Bros. Club' started by dth1971, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. UmmYeahOk

    UmmYeahOk l33t haxx0r Narf!

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    He did. I have one of those expensive trading pins and a promotional freebie post card. He received as much exposure as every other disney afternoon character (before 1994) Minus the mice Kelloggs toys

    I dont recall seeing DW in hot topic. And the problem is they may not even have Rescue Rangers. They have limited space, and go through products very fast. Heck, my shoes, which were free, were only free because they were taking up valuable real estate and hot topic had to get rid of em, even if it meant shipping it back somewhere. They carry more variety online. Thats the only place I saw that TTA shirt. Hot Topic actually is making me feel old. Where once 80s memorabilia was once sold, is now 90s-00s. I feel that I am no longer in their targeted demographic :crying:
     
  2. dth1971

    dth1971 Active Member

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    Has Hot Topic sold any TTA or Animaniacs shirts yet?
     
  3. takineko

    takineko I can do that with a pancake!

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    They have a wakko one, but i mostly see it online
     
  4. Napoleon Solo

    Napoleon Solo Gatchaman G-6

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    Ah, the WBSS. I'm from NYC so we had two of them. The main one in Times Square, 3 levels of WB goodlieness and the other had the Marvin The Martian in 3D on the top level and the Batwing from the Batman movie which hissed and such every half hour. Great places where I spent way too much money. The galleries were awesome as well tho I didn't buy much (The prices were a bit crazy. ;) )
     
  5. Mad Monkey 7

    Mad Monkey 7 Active Member

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    Well, Disney funds it and own it. Back to topic.
     
  6. Craig Crumpton

    Craig Crumpton This is a close-up?
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    Wow, there's a lot of misinformation being passed around here about Disney Stores. Being that I work at one (until I find a better job), permit me to set the record straight.

    For starters, the Wikipedia entry on Disney Stores is very detailed and accurate as far as I can tell:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disney_Store

    The Children's Place took over Disney Store operations in 2004, I believe, creating a subsidiary called "Hoop Retail, LLC." (which is "Pooh" spelled backwards) which was like a joint venture between TCP and Disney.

    Disney Stores turned out to be an unsuccessful financial investment for TCP, and they exited operations as of their announcement in March 2008. Immediately following, they filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy... calling it "restructuring" or "reorganization". On May 1st, Disney will officially resume operations of all Disney Stores. However, they will be closing over 150 stores just in 2008 and several of the closings have already begun. A preliminary list of store closings is already available online if you do a little googling.

    Oh, but it is. Disney owns the Saban properties, which includes Power Rangers unfortunately.

    No, they weren't successful or they wouldn't have filed for bankruptcy. But the kids and tween market is a very lucrative retail market, and it's to TCP's credit that they decided to focus there or the Disney Stores would've died out already.

    TCP can only be credited with bringing better organizational, operational, and marketing/merchandizing proceedures to Disney Stores. While those things improved store operations, it still didn't help Disney Stores become profitable. Disney Stores operated at loss in 2007 in excess of several million dollars.

    Not sure what stores you're shopping at, but Disney Stores DO sell adult apparel. But for watches and cell paintings you have to go through either department stores (Walmart and Target both carry Disney watches) or specialty retailers and they're mostly online.

    Niche market retailing is a tough sell, especially in a mall setting. They can survive online, but there's too much overhead involved in mall stores. The cost of the lease alone in some malls is so high that independents barely make a profit from month to month.

    WBSS really only made a profit during the holidays. I know this because I worked for one between 1999-2000 and was a regular customer before and after I worked there--sometimes visting 2-3 times per week when they got new shipments.

    On weekdays, you were lucky if you had a few dozen customers during the day, and more than half of those were browsers and didn't buy anything. Weekends were decent, but you had to have really good salespeople on the floor and at the register to capitalize on each customer.

    WBSS was a decent concept, but just wasn't cost effective enough to make it profitable.

    Near the end, WBSS attempted to remain competitive by expanding and offering non-WB products, and it just became a mess. But the truth is, they just weren't making enough profit.

    Not quite. Hot Topic has had some T-shirts, and although I haven't been to Six Flags in a few years there was still some random A! and P&TB stuff being sold there that was newer product.

    I bought a DW shirt there in February. They've got a few other DW items as well:

    http://search.hottopic.com/search?p=Q&ts=custom&lbc=hottopic&w=darkwing+duck

    I think I have a few other Slappy items in my collection besides those, but it's been in storage for a long while. I'll dig this thread back up and post an update in the near future.
     
  7. DarthGonzo

    DarthGonzo Fourteen Years!

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  8. UmmYeahOk

    UmmYeahOk l33t haxx0r Narf!

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    Ok, so theyre unsucessful... ...NOW... ...March 2008 wasnt that long ago. Such information most likely was kept secret from the public as they wouldnt want investors and stock holders from bailing out, hurting the company more... ...and when you think about it how many well known companes did we hear file for bankruptcy last March?

    So for the most part, they WERE successful... ...if not, then I see no reason why they would open up a DS and a CP at every single mall I know of locally. When in the 90s, and even before Disney sold it, they were extremely rare. ...You dont grow during hard times, so it just makes sense that up until very very VERY recently, they were successful.

    Like I said, "I dont care what people say, its not disney!" If Disney went out and bought the rights to Looney Tunes... ...does that make them Disney? NO! Bugs Bunny made an apperance in Roger Rabbit... ...does that make him Disney? Even when they got legal rights to use him? NO!

    None of my brothers Power Rangers toys say Disney on them... ...wanna know why? Because theyre NOT DISNEY!

    They had basically almost died out... ...all the disney stores I knew closed. During their last year or two they pushed the exact same thing they are now... ...and thats not the tween market... ...tween would be high school musical and maybe hanna montana... ...but you find that mostly in Targets and Walmart... ...what I see today, just like back then is the 4-8 market.

    And then there were no more DSs in any mall I knew of... ...but year later, ..::poof::.. Theyre everywhere with a lot more space as well... ...just like with TCP.

    If ICP wasnt successful, then there would have not been any DS in the past 5 years. Unless they were completely insane and took out a massive loan and opened way to many stores before even considering wheres the money... ...well... ...if they were that stupid, I cant even imagine how in the world they could stay in business for almost 40 years.

    Oh, and more about its success... ...they were always crowded, even on weekdays... ...and it wasnt just lookers, because there was always a line. So I have no idea where the money went.

    Many stores did... ...its called a recession... ...people arent buying. Its like saying Targets not successful because it didnt make its forcasted sales that month.

    As far as lossing that much money, I go back to what I said earlier... ...they grew too fast for the market. I want to know what they made in 2006, or 2005, or the other years I started seeing all the stores pop up everywhere. Because it sure looked successful... ...losing that much money is either poor planning (what I said earlier about being amazed that they were in buisness for 4 decades) or another enron scandal... ...that moneys somewhere.

    ...NOW... ...you used to could ONLY get watches at either a disney store or at one of their theme parks. And they were the expensive watches... ...I dont recall either retail giant selling adult disney watches. I remember always seeing the little cheap plastic timex ones for kids.

    As for apperal, I only see those during the holidays. They used to sell tshirts, but they decided that table (yes one table) would be better at selling more screened kid shirts (like there wasnt enough of those already)

    Now then, what else.. ...Oh yeah, antenna balls... ...adults have cars, so that MUST be for adults... ...and the ever fabulous Tinkerbell coffee mug. I dont like tinkerbell, and I dont like coffee. I think once I found a donalds and maybe even a stitch... ...but again, I dont drink coffee... ...and technically I cant even consider THAT an adult item, since now a day children drink coffee all the time:eek: :confused:

    There are 5 DS in the 5 closest malls from me... ...and they are all like this.

    I cant imagine why... ...but it explains why so much is always closed. I dont even go to malls much anymore because every place I shopped at closed... ...which of course means that Im not shopping at what is infact there, which means they close too. No wonder the only places that survive is the medical and government offices. Hell, even the chain stores close.

    I remember seeing a evicted notice on one store... ...a candy store (which I always believed were rip offs... ...everything was locked up... ...I guess the mall owner owned all the candy now. :crying:

    Explains why Past and Present is typically only open from October to Feburary. I got most of my stuff for xmas... ...but thats because the store was too far away and I couldnt drive. Their stuff make perfect gifts, but you typically arent going to buy something for yourself unless your younger than 25... ...and everyone knows kids, teens, college students... ...none have money.

    Thats because M-F 8a-4p The only people who shop are those who dont have jobs. Theyre there because they have nothing better to do... ...some walk the mall for excerise... ...some just use shopping to kill time. Go inside any retail place, even a grocery store at that time, and see how empty it is.

    And to be honest, as far as sales people go, I dont need them. Id rather they not harass me. I know the managers push it, but if I need something down, need to check if theres something in the stock room, whatever, I'll ask.

    I remember the last years... ...I feel THAT was killing them. Where was the A! and P&TB stuff? Oh, well, theyre cancled, yesterdays news, history... ...but the same people who liked those shows may not like Dexters Lab. I know its pretty much the same concept as P&TB, but seriously... ...the WB store was around for several more years... ...and there was nothing I wanted to buy BECUSE of this... ...they even limited their Looney Tunes merchandise... ...which should be a stapel, but like with Mickey and the DS, they dont care.

    Guess it us all online only... ...because I have never seen anything mentioned in the thread (other than chip and dale) sold at an actual real life Hot Topic store.

    ______________________________________

    Online stores are great, and does help the issue of paying rent for a mall location... ...but when shipping is involved, give the customer a break... ...is there a way they could pay for shipping, and the cost to them still be cheaper than rent? Maybe they could bite some of the cost. I just dont see why I should have to pay $8-10 extra for something thats $3. I mean the sellers on ebay have better shipping rates
     
  9. DarthGonzo

    DarthGonzo Fourteen Years!

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    Disney doesn't make it, but they own the property. As far as the store is concerned, it's Disney. Power Rangers airs on Toon Disney. Costumed versions of the characters appear in Disney Hollywood (MGM) studios. Like it or lump it, it's Disney.

    That's funny, because I swear I bought a Darkwing Duck t-shirt from a Hot Topic store less than a year ago. Actually, I know I did. Saw a Ducktales t-shirt there too.
     
  10. Craig Crumpton

    Craig Crumpton This is a close-up?
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    I really don't mean to argue with you because I'm not defending Disney, but your line of reasoning on this doesn't make sense.

    First of all, TCP was in charge of Disney Store operations for barely 3 years (they gained control in 2004, as I already stated).

    Furthermore, if at the close of the 2007 year a business operated at a loss of several million dollars, it means they were not successful. And finally, if they filed for Chap 11 Bankruptcy just after the 2007 fiscal year ended, they were REALLY unsuccessful.

    The reason TCP opened so many new stores was NOT because the Disney Stores were a smashing success, but because they were contractually obligated to do so. Essentially, Disney used TCP to open new stores, expand the license and product lines, launch new store prototypes, and bring about much needed improvements in store operations, merchandising, and marketing. Disney came out the winner. While TCP's own core stores were actually successful, the Disney Stores were not.

    And even with Disney regaining operations, it doesn't guarantee that the Disney Stores will continue as they have been. Even after the 150+ stores close, Disney could decide within the next year or two that the remaining stores still aren't profitable and repeat history either by selling/licensing Disney Stores out again or decide they (like TCP) want to exit the mass market retail biz, liquidate, and close them all and just keep their separate Disney retail locations which are tied to the parks, resorts, etc.

    Well, then don't buy any Power Rangers product from any Disney Store locations because you'll find the Disney Store logo on every single one of them. I remember seeing a memo a couple months ago where we had to remove the Bandai logo from some Power Rangers beach towels that were Disney Store exclusives because it could've created a legal issue.

    Incidentally, any product you see in a Disney Store is EXCLUSIVE to Disney Store. That was effective as of January 2008, according to a Disney Store corporate type who visited a store I helped to open at the time.

    But you're talking about one location you've been to, right? There are 9 stores in the district my store is in, and for the last 6 months running, 3 of them are nearly always operating under their projected sales goals. The three consistently ranking in the middle barely manage to hit their goals, meaning they basically break even. And only the top three stores consistently beat their projected sales goals, and even then sometimes they also barely break even...they just manage to have higher percentage increases than the other stores.

    They've already closed one store in the district, and 2 more will likely close by the summer.

    But with the retail market in its current slump, it's like that all over.

    Disney publishes it's financial data on a quarterly basis, so that info's online if you dig around for it. But I do know that the Disney Stores have been in a marginal decline percentage-wise since around 2006 at least.

    As for where the money went, that's easy math when you just think about the costs involved: construction on new stores, marketing, advertising, payroll, shipping, manufacturing, licensing, leases, utilities, legal, etc.

    Disney Stores didn't even come close to meeting their projected sales goals for 2007. That's not to say some locations were very successful--indeed there are, but they represent only 10-15% of the total Disney Stores locations.

    Just to give you an idea of the level of underperformance we're talking about here: I managed a religious bookstore in 2006 and the day after Thanksgiving my little store did $95,000 and that was with a somewhat limited product selection. The Disney Store I worked at over the holidays in 2007 did only $55K, and they had a crapload more product than my store did. And they missed their projected goal by nearly $5K.

    And that's just one location that's in a high-traffic mall and generally does solid business.

    I've seen some nicer ones for adults at Walmart and Target, especially for Mickey. Otherwise, you have to visit the parks and resort shops for the high-end stuff.

    But I don't collect much of anything Disney anymore and haven't really taken note of some of the stuff selling at the "big box" stores, except in passing. When you spend 8 hours a day with Mickey's face all around you, and Disney Princesses and Tinkerbell on all sides as well, the last thing you want to think about when you're not at work is anything Disney-related.

    Again, it's all about demographics. But I'm going to guess that this location you speak of is a smaller lease space, which means they're limited on space they can provide for certain product. Visit a Disney Outlet store sometime, like the stores I've helped open in TN and GA, and you'll find oodles of adult apparel and mostly all on clearance.

    In the last week, the outlet store I work at now has half a table full of brand new adult t-shirts--over 24 new designs. And there's another table half-filled with adult tees on clearance for under $5. Towards the back of the store, there are 4 rounders packed with adult polos, jeans, sleepwear, jackets, and etc all on clearance. The "Art Nouveau" adult line they did featuring the Disney Princesses I thought would've been great sellers, but they never sent us any merchandising directives to feature them, so they sat in the backroom until they got clearanced.

    And we're constantly getting transfer shipments with clearance and older product direct from the warehouse too. No telling how much we'll be receiving in the few couple months when they start closing stores.

    If you want to see the full line of adult apparel that larger stores carry, check disneystore.com and disneyoutlet.com

    Sadly, we get requests daily for the antenna toppers. We haven't had any new ones in months.

    But I do agree that the product for adults--especially home decor is rather limited, but it goes back to Disney's core operating principle: "Making the best available to all children." They imply that we're all children at heart, but you and I both know what that really means when it comes to the product you see in Disney Stores.

    And I agree with you 100%. But it's part of my job too. However, I've been working retail for half my life and I've developed a system that works--to be helpful without being pushy. I don't do "hardsell" at all. I love helping collectors find new additions, because I am one (even if I don't collect much of anything from Disney anymore). You'll never catch me alive wearing a Mickey shirt by choice, but if a guest approaches me and I know they're a collector, I'm going to do my best to help them get the most for their money.

    I also thrive in an outlet environment. I'm thrifty, and I love helping people save money too whenever possible.

    I also refuse to recommend any product I know to have a high risk of defect or is just plain crappy.

    It's true. Most of the product Disney has available is tied to whatever TV show, recent DVD release, or movie they're currently pushing.

    Now, why that cast member couldn't help you find anything Donald-related is just plain stupid to me. Granted, I've only been with the company since last October, but in all that time the "fab five (plus one)" as they like to call them (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, and Daisy) are usually represented with product even if there are only a handful of items. However, they do tend to focus on Mickey, Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore, but the others... even Minnie, are frequently minimally represented.

    I'll add that at least once a day, a guest will ask why we don't have anything with at least one of the following characters: SpongeBob, Dora, Tweety, Bugs Bunny, Shrek, Spider-Man, Batman, Transformers and etc. It used to annoy me, but I've come to understand that Disney has such wide recognition for animation that many people assume if it's animated it must be from Disney. And I only WISH Disney Store carried Transformers product.

    I'll also agree that the product available for adults tends to be the same dang stuff over and over again. Even I've stopped buying coffee mugs--I don't drink coffee anyway. My wife uses one of my Daffy mugs to scoop food for the cats.

    But I still buy Jack Skellington/NBC tees if they're less than $5, and my wife likes Grumpy and Eeyore so it helps me find her little gifts now and then. Otherwise, there's very little there that I would actually buy for myself.

    Oh, and if you collect Disney pins, there is that.

    Nope. I bought the DW shirt IN an actual Hot Topic store. And like DarthGonzo mentioned, I also saw a DuckTales shirt there (.this one, to be precise). HT also has some rather wild designs for Disney tees--some of them are all goth-looking. But that's Disney for you--no demographic is safe from them attempting to make a buck.

    That's why you need to either subscribe to the disneystore.com email newsletters or go searching for discount coupon codes. I never buy anything from disneystore.com or disneyoutlet.com, but since part of my job is knowing my product I keep up to date with specials and promos on both sites. And I subscribe to the emails as well--they regularly offer "free shipping" deals as long as you spend over a specific amount.

    And now that we've thoroughly hijacked this thread to discuss Disney, we now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion of the late-great WB Studio Store, already in progress.
     
  11. Craig Crumpton

    Craig Crumpton This is a close-up?
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    I need to get my pics of me and TZ's Brian, Harley, and Romey put up on here from when we visited the NY Times Square WBSS mere days before it closed forever. Made me wish I had a lot of money back then, because I might've been able to negotiate getting some of the store display statues, neon signs, and such. Would love to have had that LT logo neon sign that was there. I think Bob Bergen might have one like that in his house, or at least one of the Porky statuettes that was there.

    I really, really loved the WBSS. After working there, I knew it wouldn't last, but during the heyday of A! and P&TB it was really fun to shop there. I spent every single WBSS paycheck on A! and P&TB stuff--it was the only reason I applied to work there in the first place. I also won that Ultimate Iron Giant figure when I was working at that mall when Johnny Rockets was doing a giveaway--it's one of the most prized pieces in my collection, even over some of my favorite Transformers. In hindsight, I wish I'd have bought more of the IG stuff there when it was still in stores. It had such a limited run, some of that stuff sells like gangbusters on ebay now. Heck, I've been offered $50 straight up for my black IG logo shirt at a few cons. Don't they realize I can't walk around the con half-naked?

    And when I went to a WB shop at Six Flags in St. Louis around 2000, I literally bought every single A! and P&TB they had because it was all on clearance. Okay, I did leave a few duplicates... but not many. That's where I got my favorite A! T-shirt that I ended up giving to Kane (one of our veteran members here) in exchange for what I owed him on the hotel room we split for Comic-Con. I've never seen that shirt since, even after checking ebay fairly regularly. Darn you, Kane! Darn you to heck! I should've given you the money instead. I'm such a freaking tightwad sometimes.
     
  12. Taco Wiz

    Taco Wiz The Loyal Order of Stupids

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    Sorry for the bump, but...

    I remember this store. Goooooooooooooooood times...they even sold Powerpuff Girls merchandise.
     
  13. limotek

    limotek New Member

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    Never heard of those im afraid!!
     
  14. Roman Legion

    Roman Legion Let's Make a Deal
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    Did you ever get those uploaded somewhere?

    I wish I had taken more photos of the whole trip (there's only one inside the store), but I guess I was just caught up in the moment.
    Last Days of the WBSS.

    --Romey
     
  15. Craig Crumpton

    Craig Crumpton This is a close-up?
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    Nope. I haven't had a working scanner since the late 90's.

    I don't think I took many photos on that trip either. I've got some of us eating pizza, a few at the WBSS, a couple group pics, and a few more when we stayed overnight at Craig M.'s school.

    Thanks for the memories, BTW. Good times.

    And on this pic:

    http://www.toonzone.net/romey/ny102101/nytue01.jpg

    THAT'S where those other two P&TB shirts went. When I cataloged my A!/P&TB shirt collection, I kept thinking the total count seemed off. I'd completely forgotten about giving those to you guys.

    Ah, well. They were given a good home, I'm sure.
     
  16. Looneytunes

    Looneytunes Active Member

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    I always enjoyed the Warner Brothers store, as well as the Disney store, I cannot believe they closed down. Whenever I would visit one of the malls in my area, I would visit them whenever I had the chance, but unfortunately, they closed down. They seriously need to be brought back, both the Disney and Warner stores, I mean why not, the studios would probably have many visitors.

    Looneytunes/Disneytoons
     
  17. Roman Legion

    Roman Legion Let's Make a Deal
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    Much welcome. :D

    Don't know about Craig's shirt in that pic, but I know the one I'm wearing is one I brought with me. The one you gave me was a light blue. A nice shirt it is, I must say. ;)

    --Romey
     
  18. wiley207

    wiley207 Well-Known Member

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    The Disney stores are still around. They have one at the South Shore Plaza mall in Braintree, MA and the Silver City Galleria Mall in Taunton, MA. I have been to both locations. But alas, I do wish that the Warner Bros. Studio Stores haven't gone. The South Shore Plaza used to have one. Now I have to resort to eBay for my Looney Tunes merchandise, including my Wile E. Coyote mask:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. dth1971

    dth1971 Active Member

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    Is that from a Wile E. Coyote WBSS walkaround?
     
    #59 dth1971, Mar 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2009
  20. wiley207

    wiley207 Well-Known Member

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    Nope. It's a rubber mask that was manufactured by Illusive Concepts back in 1993. It covers most of my entire head and is made of natural rubber latex. The eyeholes are right between Wile E.'s eyebrows and yellow orbs. The muzzle has foam padding in it. Illusive Concepts had a whole line of similar Looney Tunes masks, actually. I have seen them do Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety, Yosemite Sam, Marvin the Martian, the Tasmanian Devil and the Tasmanian She-Devil. If you want I could upload a pic from one of their catalogs showing some of their LT masks.

    And yes, it does get pretty hot in that mask at times. And when I wore it back in Halloween 2007, one person commented that I looked like a theme park character! So there ya go ;)
     

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