Hobby impact of Panini Black Friday: $1.9 million

LCS sales increased 26% over 2011 debut

LAS VEGAS (Nov. 27, 2012) – Panini America’s Black Friday promotion was directly attributable to $1.9 million in incremental hobby sales, a 26% increase over 2011’s debut promotion, according to research conducted by The Industry Summit (www.theindustrysummit.com)
A key sales driver: Retailers’ aggressive planning and utilization of social media to promote Black Friday activities. The Summit’s research determined that, while sales of Panini products were similar to 2011 levels, retailers increased overall sales via more effective conversion of Black Friday’s increased store traffic.

“The Black Friday packs definitely bring people in,’’ said Eddie Barkley of Eddie’s Sports Treasures (Knoxville, TN). “It has been a great promotion, and I appreciated it dearly.’’
Panini executives were understandably elated. “It’s clear from the preliminary feedback we have received from shops that the Panini Black Friday promotion helped deliver their single biggest day of the year and an enthusiastic level of energy to their stores,’’ said D.J. Kazmierczak, Panini VP/sales.
Among this year’s Top 3 Black Friday assessments:
1. Black Friday is firmly embedded as an industry sales driver. Leading online retailers such as Dave & Adam’s Card World and Blowout Cards executed significant programs – “a massive online turnout,’’ according to Blowout’s Tom Fish — while Panini’s bonus pack program and social media leverage have integrated Black Friday as a benchmark event at local card stores throughout the US. Scott Monize of Southeastern Sports Cards (New Bedford, MA) reported a 200% increase in store traffic, while Steve Cardi of The Card Shack (Lynbrook, NY) sold through his Panini inventory during the weekend.

2.Retailers’ integration of social media is paying huge dividends. Sparked by engaging seminars at the 2012 Industry Summit, card store owners across the U.S. and Canada have integrated e-mail newsletters, Facebook pages and Twitter promotions into their weekly marketing programs. Thanks to an aggressive online promotion – which included several reminder emails – Patty Tsang of Alameda (CA) Sports Cards and Comics reported a 25% annual increase in Black Friday sales, while Jerry McClusky noted that his Facebook and email promotions are helping his Rookie Shop thrive in a “small store, in a very small market.’’

3.Retailers will challenge Panini to infuse more flexibility in its Black Friday and Father’s Day promotions, potentially by including the company’s most successful releases and/or reflecting a retailer’s annualized purchases in the allocation of promotional packs. “Customers don’t understand why they don’t get packs for all Panini product,’’ noted Ron Florey of Triple Play (Westerville, OH). According to Kazmierczak, Panini is committed in creating more retailer flexibility within both promotions. “There is no doubt that there will be another level of evolution in the future,’’ he said.
Meantime, Panini executives are understandably pleased with the increased level of Black Friday engagement of store owners and their collector customers.
“Our goal, since day one, has been and continues to be to get hobby shops engaged and take part in what is the biggest retail shopping day of the year – Black Friday — and to build a level of energy and excitement for collectors to have an event that they can be a part of at their local hobby shop,’’ Kazmierczak said.