The CEO Mark Wells of Games Workshop has posted a response to the people that have contacted them about the recent turn of events, primarily the european re-sellers not being able to sell overseas.

While this is  a couple days old now, I figured posting this would add a little closure to the subject. OK, It wont for most people that really are angry, but for the past couple days I had better stuff to talk about, like my aunt Ruth's Dentures. It is Saturday morning, and I haven't had my coffee yet, so the post is finally going to get posted while I figure out which way is up.

Sincerely,

Dear Hobbyists,
Thanks for contacting Games Workshop about the change in our trading terms for European accounts. I know this has frustrated you and for that I am truly sorry. As a long standing customer, you deserve to know why we made this decision.

As you know, we introduce people to the Games Workshop hobby of collecting, painting and gaming with Citadel miniatures through our Hobby Centres and local independent trade accounts. Games Workshop Hobby Centres run introductory games and painting sessions, beginner lessons, hobby activities and events. We provide all these services free of charge. We only recover this investment if customers then buy products from us.

Where we don't have a Games Workshop Hobby Centre, we support local independent trade accounts. These businesses provide a convenient place for customers to buy our products close to where they live. We support these businesses with local customer service teams and warehouses to ensure customers have immediate access to our best selling products and new releases. Many customers discover the hobby this way.

In addition we invest millions of pounds every year in our design studio and factory to ensure that each month we release more new products. This makes the Games Workshop Hobby more exciting for existing customers, helping them stay in the hobby longer. We can only afford to do this because of the volume of customers we have recruited and developed through our local Hobby Centres and trade accounts.

It is for this reason that we have changed our European Trade terms. Over recent years, a number of currencies have moved a long way from their historical relative values, and this has opened the door for some traders to try to take advantage of these currency movements and offer deep discounts to overseas hobbyists. This has been the case with European internet traders selling to some of our customers overseas.

While this may seem great in the short term, the simple fact is that European internet traders will not invest any money in growing the hobby in your country. Their model is to minimise their costs and free-ride on the investment of Games Workshop and local independent shops in creating a customer base.

The inevitable consequence if this was allowed to continue is that Games Workshop would not be able to operate Hobby Centres, nor to support local trade accounts. And if this happened in more territories outside Europe, the loss of volume would leave Games Workshop no choice but to scale back our investment in new product development, further eroding our customer base. Not something that we or our customers would want us to do.

That is why we took the decision to take legitimate action to restrict European trade accounts from selling the goods they purchase from Games Workshop outside Europe.

While I understand that you may still be unhappy with our decision, it was taken to ensure we can continue to support the Games Workshop hobby communities around the world through our Games Workshop Hobby Centres and local trade accounts. And to ensure we continue to invest in developing the best possible new product releases every month. I hope therefore that over time you will see the benefits of this decision for you and your hobby.

Yours sincerely,
Mark Wells
Chief Executive
18 May 2011

11 Comments:

  1. Im From Australia And That There ...
    That Makes Me Consider Quiting The Hoddy..
    I Live In Darwin.. If You Havent Been Here To
    Make It Simple Thats The Only Way I Can Get The Models.. Or Order From Sydney And Get One Box For The Price Of 3 Overseas....

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  2. Is it just me, or did you just get from it "we're sorry, but, we need more money"?

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  3. Yes gods man, NEVER blog before your morning cup of coffee!!!

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  4. Yea, I know. Coffee really does make the world go around.

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  5. Although I live in Hungary and we are not affected by the embargo, a small addendum to the point where The Man states that they support local independent resellers where there are no official GW stores are available. I went to the local store and asked the guy how much support the receive. He said the GW policy statest that they have to but introductory miniatures on the shelves, but these are miniatures that the storekeeper has to buy, assemble and paint himself, because GW does not provide any introductory material. The do not send posters or anything at all, just expect the shop to fulfill what they want, with absolutely no support, because Hungary is not a big enough country and here the potential market is simply not big enough. GW just does not care. Just a sidenote.
    I simply do not understand GW's marketing and financial politics because someone HAS TO sell GW products to independent resellers at a price that it is good for both the seller AND the reseller. Is Wayland / Maelstrom / anyone is able to make contant 10-20% discounts, then they HAVE TO buy it about 25-30% cheaper then the UK RRP. Someone HAS TO sell GW products to them, and it can only be GW sincs these are their products.
    And I simply don't understand, why do Australian people have to pay +200% for their goods... shipping csan't be that goddamn expensive. It's just rant, but the wors of the CEO did not shed light on the real cause and does not justify why GW tries to alienate customers so much...

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  6. The whole introductory lessons thing is plain wrong:
    1) If they were "free lessons", we wouldn't pay them when buying models.
    2) The Staff is in the shop anyway - if they are sitting around, doing nothing or helping a costumer doesn't make any difference what so ever in terms of finance.
    3) Games played in a GW shop are a great form of advertising - models are shown off, people gather around the table, attracting people walking by.
    3) As far as I know the "support" for local traders is practically non-existent.

    And even IF this was all right - at the previous prices no one can possibly justify an increase. And being an international company, GW should well be able to compensate for currency changes and different markets in different countries. Having a supplier export stuff at his own cost should not be prohibited.

    The only "good" thing is: They probably won't have to worry about Australia in the long run. If I was there I would have sold my minis now and start another game - and I think many Australians will do exactly this.

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  7. Commander SalamanderMay 21, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    "Over recent years, a number of currencies have moved a long way from their historical relative values...."

    Since I'm located in Canada this hurts me most. We had the suckiest dollar for the longest time and seeing the Americans get better pricing than us even with the strength of our dollar and us hitting parity was the worst. I don't feel bad for anyone who jumped on the Maelstrom train when that happened since they were naturally fed up with pricing.

    I support my LGS by buying my other more reasonable priced products (DnD, boardgames, flames of war etc.) but with hobbys it never hurts to get a deal here to spend more on another game there. I was planning on buying a Dark eldar army so I could branch out from my marines BUT after this I am just going to go online, grab my finishing touches for my marine forces and run.

    I can't comment on the resin but am optimistic that the quality will be as good if not better than metal. I worry it may be more fragile than metal but that may simply be my inexperience as a modeler. I still wish we could just go all plastic though. Then I could use testors to stick everything together! lol.

    Also I think us Canadians should look into other "local" minis games too such as Strange Aeons and the Heavy Gear series to support FLGcompanies.

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  8. That's nice and all. They want people to use the GW stores. Australians would use the GW stores if the prices there weren't DOUBLE the rest of the world's. He has done nothing to address the reason for the price descrepency between Australia and the US/UK. Standard Corporate BS response that does nothing to expalin the issue. Official response for GW "Sorry we needs more moneyz". Goodbye GW, hello Privateer Press.

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    Replies
    1. Instead of fixing the problem of inflated australian prices we are stopping australia buying for a resonable price. GW sucks!

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    3. It's a crap deal. As Salamander mentioned, Canadians got almost as bad a deal as Australians when our dollar went par with the US dollar some 10 years ago. We are ripped off in every industry due to high import fees and taxes.

      For many Canadians, this means importing, either online or actually traveling to the US directly (which is sadly still cheaper). For example, nearly every kit available on one bitz site is cheaper than buying it direct from GW Canada, and this is after the usual bitz markup when piecing out a kit individually.

      It's ridiculous. GW is still getting sales and maintaining market share, regardless of where customers are purchasing from. Rather than cock-block independents even further, GW needs to come up with incentives for shopping in store. More actual events and promotions, as well as proper sales strategies (not necessarily sales staff techniques) are going to show the value of brand. I tend not to shop in GW stores due to being treated like I'm an idiot, burden, or cheapskate, despite joining the hobby in the 90's.

      Maneuvers like this only hurt their business more, instead of finding ways to make the store experience more enjoyable and complete than just buying online.

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