The Rise of Cobra retail situation – my own perspective

I rarely give my personal perspective or opinion on Rise of Cobra’s retail presence, simply because I really have little to no experience in it.  My local stores consist of a run down Wal-Mart that rarely (if ever) stocks Joe stuff, and a K-Mart that time forgot that is in the same boat.  As such, I buy most of my stuff online, and really have no personal basis for an opinion of how the RoC line is moving at retail or what the real retail presence is.

Well, yesterday I had a chance to get on the road, and I went down to Southern New Hampshire and scoped out a number of Targets and Toys “R” Us’, and wow…I was pretty floored.  I had an idea that the peg situation in my town was pretty pathetic, but I had no idea just how much Rise of Cobra product is on store shelves and on the pegs!  It was really eye opening.

My main goal was to find the Target “Rescue Mission” 4-Pack and the Toys “R” Us Attack on The Pit 5-Pack, and I saw them in droves.  Every single Target and Toys “R” Us I hit had the exclusives I was looking for, and then some.  Out of the 4 Targets I hit, none of them had any wave 2 mini-vehicle sets, however, which was a bummer.  I loved seeing the lower $5.99 price point (which was present at all four Targets) but there was little product to get excited about.  Pegs were full of the familiar Waves 1 and 2 items, with a scattering of Wave 3, but none of the really high profile or highly desirable stuff.  No Elite-Vipers, Pit Commandos, Doctors, or Crimson Neo-Vipers.  A few Hawks, Flash’s and Helix’s, but that was about it.

I swung through three total Toys “R” Us stores, and was absolutely elated at the amount of product seen there.  It’s obvious that TRU is a firm believer in the G.I. Joe brand, and they had hit the market fast and furious.  Each TRU had a nice bunch of the Attack on the Pit sets, 2 of the TRU’s had Wave 2 of the Bravo vehicles, and 1 of them had the Senior Ranking Officer 3-Packs.  I was a bit bummed that none of them had Bench Press, though.  I think I hit ’em a bit too early. 

By far the highlight of the trip was the Toys “R” Us in Nashua, NH.  Wow.  Impressive doesn’t begin to cover it.  I know we’ve all seen those old school images of an entire aisle devoted to G.I. Joe…well, Nashua’s just about got that matched.  Check out the pics below taken on my crappy camera phone:

I know to most of you folks out there this might not be a big deal, but to a backwoods guy like me who doesn’t get to “The City” very often, I absolutely loved seeing all this product in one place.  Toys “R” Us is obviously really gearing up for the holiday season, and I can only hope Rise of Cobra proves worth their investment.  Each TRU I hit did have a nice allotment of Waves 1, 2, & 3, though the later wave army builders were already picked over.

I was pleasently surprised at the amount of devoted shelf space G.I. Joe has these days.  Speaking as a Joe fan since ’82, it’s been a long, looooong time since I saw this much product at retail.  I know the common reaction is “it’s not selling!  Deth of teh line!!!” and honestly, that might be the case.  But when Christmas goes into full swing and the toy aisles get ransacked, there are going to be a TON of Joe items to pick through, which is a great thing for the brand, and will hopefully draw in a new generation of fans.

On another note, expect my reviews of the Target and TRU multi-packs next week…  :shifty:

18 thoughts on “The Rise of Cobra retail situation – my own perspective

  1. Wow, you went pretty far.
    Here in Illinois my target has all their exclusives and pit commandos, and the red vipers.

  2. Did you hit the new Super-Ginormous Wal-mart down the road from the Hooksett Target? They are loaded with figures, nothing “new” but you should be able to find some pit commandos, elite vipers etc.

  3. There’s a Toys, Target, & Walmart near us in Orange Co., CA. The pegs are usually stocked to overflowing, though I don’t know if they are moving and being replaced or sitting. It’s quite the change from the desert a few months ago.
    Unfortunately the Target has the sale and the Wal-mart has the new ones, so I’m kind of torn at the moment.
    Personally I’ve only bought one figure and a Rhino. The figures are nice, but I’m not into having multiple versions of a character, so I’ll wait for the one I like based on your reviews or use older versions. I’m looking forward to the Wal-mart playsets–hopefully I didn’t miss them, not sure of the release date.

  4. “Did you hit the new Super-Ginormous Wal-mart down the road from the Hooksett Target? They are loaded with figures, nothing “new” but you should be able to find some pit commandos, elite vipers etc.”

    ARGH! No…I was scoping out my trip, and saw that the Wal-Mart Store Locator had a new entry for Hooksett, but it wouldn’t give me directions to it. Couldn’t even find the address on Google Maps, so I figured it was still under construction.

    I went to the Target there, but didn’t realize the Wal-Mart was up yet. Crap! I would have bought the hell out of those Elite-Vipers and Pit Commandos…

  5. Here’s my issue with the current situation-

    I have multiple Targets within driving distance, as well as numerous Wal-Marts. well, Target has had the SAME stock on the pegs now for weeks. I know, as I hit them up all the time, and the Helix figures have been in the same spot on the same pegs now every time I go.

    The reason the stock is there is that no one is buying. I think this is the same reason that the figs got a $2 price point reduction. Which is great if you’re army building, but a bad omen otherwise.

    And yes, the waves are pretty much the same across the board. 1 and 2, with an occasional Hawk or Helix or Flash. Hearing its this way in Illinois as well…yikes.

    My concern is that they overstocked against promises of a summer blockbuster, and when the toys don’t sell, they aren’t going to order new waves. Which would be a shame. I hope, of course, that as the Pursuit of Cobra line draws nigh, they will jump at it, but I wonder.

    AND, I have yet to find a single Doctor, Paris Pursuit Baroness, or Paratrooper. I’m not sure they’ve ever been stocked…Do they even exist?

    OK, rant over.

  6. Yes, the reason that ROC product is all over the place up here is that I was the only person that bought any. Our local stores STILL only have wave 1 because they got tons of it, and practically nothing sold. They even had a two week half off sale and sold less than 5% of their stock.

    I’m not sure what to make of this. I get the feeling that if they ever sell this stuff the next wave I see is like wave 3 of the Pursuit of Cobra line and I’ll have missed a ton of things. I really feel that Hasbro is killing the line by cramming it down retailers stores while sales do not justify the amount of product out there. But I have no official numbers so I’m just guessing.

    Now I’m not big on this RoC stuff. It seems sub-par at best, but there are a few good looking figures in there. I’m still waiting to be able to get Paris Pursuit Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Baroness for crying out loud.

    Also, the nearest Wal-mart got in 16 of the GIJoe Pitts back when the movie came out. They still have 12 of them and they basically dominate the space alloted for GIJoes. Like they’re saying, we won’t get much else in until you guys buy these.

    It really sucks.

  7. ARGH! No…I was scoping out my trip, and saw that the Wal-Mart Store Locator had a new entry for Hooksett, but it wouldn’t give me directions to it. Couldn’t even find the address on Google Maps, so I figured it was still under construction. :(

    I went to the Target there, but didn’t realize the Wal-Mart was up yet. Crap! I would have bought the hell out of those Elite-Vipers and Pit Commandos…

    When you exit off of 93 south, instead of turning right to go to the Hooksett Target, turn left and the WalMart is about .5 mile down on your right.

  8. Dear General Sir,

    I totally can relate to the blast of nostalgia of finally, FINALLY seeing JOES packing the toy shelves again.
    In my part of the world after the 97 financial crisis, imported toys/action figures went pretty much AWOL except for “mainstream” stuff including transformers (transformer fans have it good in terms of availability don’t they?).

    Over the years GI Joe stuff was only available sporadically (v vs v and the like)in specialty shops and in the capital of the country. Which just happens to be a 2hour flight away over the South China Sea from where I live. Needless to say whenever I get the chance I purchased rabidly whatever I can.

    So, from my perspective I havnt seen JOES locally in about 12 years! My city just got it’s 1st (yes 1st) TRU this year. To see JOE product stocking a full shelf almost brought a tear to my eye ;’). Then I noticed, “where did all the Snake Eyeses go?” Dang, looks like I got a new legion of fans to “contend” with!

    Even my nephew (and niece) are INTO GI JOE now.Things are lookin up. It cracked me up when my niece picked Baroness and Scarlett over a Barbie (my sister finally convinced her on a doll. oh well till next time).

    Product is moving steadily here and in the capital from what I hear but I think its the price point that’s hindering casual new fans and collectors from buying. They go for about RM40.00+- here, which roughly calculated is about USD10.00. How much is the average price in the States? I DO miss WalMart Kmart Target and..Mexican food.

  9. “On another note, expect my reviews of the Target and TRU multi-packs next week…”

    Whoooot, more reviews!! But when can we expect the convention exclusives or recent vehicles like the crimson hydra, the dragonhawk or the sky sweeper?

  10. Well, the reason why earlier figures are so overflowing is simple. The later assortments still feature those older figures.

    Case in point, I opened a case of Collection 2 Wave 3 toys at TRU and was surprised to see just one of each figure, and the rest of the case padded out with both Heavy Duties, Cover Girl and Accelerator Suit Ripcord. So yeah, given that every time they get a later wave in, earlier figures that haven’t sold as much get MORE of them on the pegs… it’s not really surprising who’s lingering on the pegs.

  11. Yeah, that’s a good description of what’s going on here. Product is MOVING at TRU. So fast that I keep missing the new stuff! Target, on the other hand, is completely full of the wave one and two stuff. FULL. I can’t believe they keep doing this over and over…same old thing. I wish I could remember exact instances, but I do remember having this complaint before. Target sometimes orders the other waves, but once they are gone, they go back to the first that everyone already had a good chance to get, and stocks it to the brim! You know this product is selling because TRU knows how to keep the flow going. Target just lets the same old stuff stagnate! That’s why the single packs sit and thier exclusives are far fewer in numbers.

  12. @12
    Whoa, language please! Really unnecessary.

    Moving on, Stryker brings up an interesting note. When will we see the convention exclusives reviewed? I have yet to see a comprehensive review of them yet with grade A pics, and I was wondering when you were going to do em?

    And crimson hydras rule!!!

  13. Let me sum up the TRU exclusive for you: it’s awesome.

    I picked it up this weekend, and used the $5 off $25 purchase coupon for TRU Rewards members, so I scored it for a cool $20. Amazing value at $25, even more amazing at $20. Very solid figures. Really no complaints for me, except that the Joes all got the same weapons, and a little variety would have been nice. Overall though, a big winner.

  14. Well, i’ll tell you some of the sad story of all this peg-warmers toys in mexico: they don’t sell, just like that, i have seen them wave 1 to wave 3 including vehicles 50% off on stores and on the street markets (which is fairly common here) the blister-carded figures sell at 100 pesos, which would be the equivalent to 5 bucks; so if you wanna load yourselves with cheap toys, come around, you’ll find some!

  15. Hopefully some of the logjam of product will clear with parents Christmas shopping, but I wonder how much good it will do. My son is 4, way too young to see the movie, so he doesn’t know or ask for any of the RoC figures. For his birthday last month I got him a Deep Six (he thinks it is Torpedo), Shipwreck (who he recognized), Sgt. Stone who he thinks is Flint, Desert Duke (he had no clue who it was but decided to name him “Sandy,” since he already has a Valor v. Venom Dusty). With the exception of Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Storm Shadow, and Firefly, (all of which he has a 25th version of), the rest of the characters aren’t recognizable or meaningful to him.

    I picked up a Cobra Gunship for him, because he has a comic pack Wild Weasel with nothing to fly, and he needs something Cobra can use to fight the Conquest. I’d probably pick up some of the newer vehicles (with Dusty, Airborne), but I can’t find them on the shelves. He wants the Pit, but it’s too expensive even at the $70 some of the Wal Marts have it on clearance for. I’d like to find a land vehicle for the Joes, because he has two 25th HISS tanks we found on clearance, but there really isn’t anything in the RoC bravo line for the Joes (except the Snow thing which isn’t very versatile and is hard to find).

    Hopefully some other parents will buy up some of this stuff for their kids, but I think a big problem is the price. I only bought the Cobra gunship to use a $5 off $25 coupon at TRU. Oh, I also picked him up the TRU 5 pack with the mole pod, again to use a $5 off $25 coupon before it expired. Notice a theme? If the Alpha vehicles were closer to $10, the Bravo closer to $15-20, and the figures closer to $5 than $8 I think this stuff would be selling. The only stuff I’ve seen selling well is the TRU exlusive figures (Bench Press and Snow Serpent), but that’s probably being snatched up by the local collectors, since the rest of the TRU selection is all Wave 1-2 that is stagnant at $8.

  16. So far my local Wal-Mart has been the best source for the new stuff–Paratroopers, Paris Pursuit Baroness, Pit Commandos, etc.

    Target seems to awash with Storm Shadows, Destros, and Neo-Vipers. Fine by me on the Vipers, my local Target is the cheapest so far and I can amass a pretty good army of Neo-Vipers from there.

    I passed up on the Doctor at Wal-Mart and both Scarlett figures at Target, and am currently kicking myself now as I can find neither anywhere.

  17. So far my local Wal-Mart has been the best source for the new stuff–Paratroopers, Paris Pursuit Baroness, Pit Commandos, Half-Naked Storm Shadow, etc.

    Target seems to awash with Storm Shadows, Destros, and Neo-Vipers. Fine by me on the Vipers, my local Target is the cheapest so far and I can amass a pretty good army of Neo-Vipers from there.

    I passed up on the Doctor at Wal-Mart and both Scarlett figures at Target, and am currently kicking myself now as I can find neither anywhere.

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