Saturday, June 6, 2015

Boom Goes Bust

In my recent series of posts concerning the finances of Topps Chewing Gum from the late 60's into the mid 70's and in my earlier work putting together my book, it was pretty clear they had experienced phenomenal sales growth for the better part of two decades. However, the youngest baby boomers had basically turned into teenagers by the time 1977 rolled around, which means the tidal wave of adolescents buying their products had pretty much washed ashore. Like many other companies, Topps got caught up in this, as an article from the August 22, 1977 issue of Sports Collectors News reveals:

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...

No comments: