Sunday, October 25, 2009


When DC Universe Classics Wave 5 came out, it was a Walmart exclusive and it was nearly impossible to find. This wave was missing from many Walmarts. Of course people's first reaction was to blame the manufacture, Mattel. This was the wrong company to place blame on. The problem was with Walmart's poor and spotty distribution on the wave.

And with Wave 10 being another Walmart exclusive, the same situation seems to be happening again.

I decided to get to the bottom of all of this....

What it mainly boils down to is simple supply and demand. Mattel will make only so much as Walmart orders. No more, no less. It is then Walmart, who decides on which of their 7,000 stores will get this exclusive line.

On Wave 5, Walmart only had it in 1,800 of their stores. At least this time, it doubled to 3,000 stores, but still not great.

So I made a call to Walmart and spoke to Melissa O'Brien, Senior Manager PR & Brand Reputation for Walmart. This is what she told me:
  • DC Universe is hard to keep in stock because it does sell out quickly. They do realize this is a popular item and it why they increased the order from 1,800 stores to 3,000 store. Unfortunately, they wouldn't tell me the exact number ordered.
  • They are considered a collectible and not a standard toy like GI Joe or Transfromers, and that makes for smaller purchasing amounts for DCUC.
  • They determine with stores get Wave 10, by the total number of sales in each store. The higher the overall action figures sales are, the greater the chance that store will get DCUC.
  • They do not want to put them on-line because they feel that this would be unfair to collectors. Walmart feels by selling DCUC in stores, the collectors have a better chance of finding them.
  • Walmart doesn't always know the exact date of a shipment, and since DCUC are more limited in manufacture, they may not come in as often as other Mattel items.
  • If you can not find them, to contact your local store (see the list below). New toy stock usually arrives on Tuesdays and Wedsdays.

Now I don't agree with everything that was told to me. And a lot of it sounds like double talk. But Melissa was nice enough to provide me a list that shows exactly, which Walmart stores are supposed to carry Wave 10.

Please also note, just because a store is on this list, that doesn't mean they will have Wave 10 in stock, as they sell out very quickly.

Hopefully Mattel will not have to do another exclusive wave with Walmart again, but it's really up to us, the fans/buyers/collectors, to let Walmart how we feel about their distribution on DCUC.

Just something to think about.

Here's the list in clickable thumbnails & good luck to all of you in your search:


fryman86 said...

I can go ahead and tell you that this isn't an actual list of Walmarts carrying DCU 10. I've been constantly searching 5 of the NC Walmarts listed, and while they all carry DCU, no wave 10 at any yet. Plus I work at one of them and I'm double sure that one hasn't had any.

Pendragon's Post said...

I'll be fixing the list. I see some pages were omited.
In regards to this list being accurate, as I previous stated, these are the stores the are SUPPOSED to be carrying Wave 10. There is NO guarantee that they are actually in stock.

Nic said...

Brian, this is fantastic! Well done, sir.

Michael said...

I think these lists of stores are probably correct. I look for the DCUC in Northern IL and the two stores that I NEVER see DCUC are are omitted from the list, those SMALL handful that do seem to carry them historically ARE on the list.

leonardsean said...

I'm a little confused by their wanting to make these available to collectors by keeping them in store rather than making them available on-line.

I would think that the opposite would be true. Ebay scalpers especially those that work at Wal-Mart will be picking these up by the caseload as they come off of the trucks. Making it impossible for the rest of us to find them on the pegs when we make a trip to the store.

The PR person indicates that these fly off the shelves as soon as they hit, so why not buy in larger quantities from Mattel and make them available on-line. I would think they could move a lot more merchandise that way, and cut the scalpers out of the picture.

Jason said...

I see all of my local Walmarts on the list, but I've yet to find any of Wave 10 at them. I guess I'll have to keep looking, and hope for the best. It's such a shame, too. I'd hate to miss out on Power Girl and the Joker, especially.

leonardsean said...

Powergirl is offered on Entertainment Earth for pre-order for March, so it looks like she will be included in an upcoming "Best of DCU" Series with wider availability than the rest of the wave.


Logan said...

It bums me out every time something like this comes up. If you ask collectors what the worse possible thing would be, it would probably most likely be not being able to find a wave without having to pay a fortune in the aftermarket.
The pre-talk sounded pretty good that they were going to fix this problem as the wave got nearer to coming out. Alas it is not the case. Now we have wave 5 (Walmart) with hardly any sets being available. Wave 9 with production problems (Mattel), and now back to Walmart with not ordering enough of Wave 10. This is definitely going to be the last straw for many a DCUC collector. How many characters are we going to be missing now? At least 18?
This seems like a bit of the blind leading the deaf. Walmart does not know how to tailor to collectors, and Mattel does not work with the right companies to get their products out to the masses. If everyone that wanted a set could get one, Mattel would be making much more money than they are with the dismal numbers that Walmart is ordering.