You will note "Tops"sales had decreased just a hair from fiscal 1976 but the other big story was a seven week strike at the Duryea plant by one of their unions. I didn't scan it but a prior issue of SCN had detailed that the strike affected shipments to their jobbers, leading to a delay in both Basketball and Hockey for the 1976-77 selling season. As it turns out, there were two unions that did the shipping, one for jobbers and one for retailer accounts like Woolworth's and 7-11.
A lot of capital investments wore on the bottom line as well but the top line was starting to shrink. I also find it amusing they were marketing a gum called Scents.
One way to combat this problem was raising prices and that's exactly what happened:
I have to say I'm impressed by the cases of 1972 Topps Baseball in the picture! I assume that came from Larry Fristch, who was tight with SCN's publisher Mike Bondarenko. Oh, for a time machine...