Saturday, May 23, 2015

What A Difference A Year Makes

Following up on my recent string of posts covering the 1973-76 Topps Annual Reports, I've found a few contemporary news articles from Sports Collectors News reacting to Topps' financials. SCN was a hobby newspaper put out by Mike Bondarenko from 1968-78 that, by 1974, was professionally typeset and printed bi-weekly with extensive coverage of the then-current hobby scene. It didn't have the advertising oomph of The Trader Speaks but it made up for it in articles and editorials. Here are a few tidbits about the mighty Topps Chewing Gum.

This first one is from the August 2, 1974 issue and the author (somewhat) bemoans the goings-on at Corporate HQ:


The fact that Topps was sold in 200,000 different stores is hugely impressive but if you do the math they netted only $220 per store in sales and a measly $10 in net profits! Still, things were looking mighty good thanks to Wacky Packages.

By the time 1975 had kicked into gear, things weren't looking so rosy as this May 23, 1975 article reveals:

International sales were definitely on the minds of the top Topps brass as the business landscape had changed dramatically for all but a handful of companies by 1975 thanks to the damage the Arab Oil Embargo did to the US and other select economies around the globe. The effect can be seen in the profits, which were down substantially while net sales had increased by almost $6 Million from the year prior.

Bondarenko started SCN when he was 16 (!) and I have to say by the time the mid 70's rolled around it was, the most professional looking hobby publication out there prior to the debut of Baseball Cards Magazine in 1981. Not bad for a twenty-something!

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