Monday, October 29, 2007

Diamond Holiday Shipping Schedule

This year Diamond Distribution has changed their holiday shipping schedule a bit. In the past, the rule was if a holiday occurred Monday - Wednesday then the new product would arrive one day later because UPS would be closed one day. As long as the holiday was Thursday or Friday - like Thanksgiving - then books would arrive on the usual Wednesday.

Well this year Diamond is tweaking that schedule. (click to enlarge)

The week after Thanksgiving new comics will arrive on Thursday, Nov. 29th instead of Wednesday. And on the week of Christmas Day and New Years Day, both of which occur on a Tuesday, comics will arrive on Friday the 29th of December and 4th of January respectively, instead of Thursday, the usual one-day delay.

On one hand I find this annoying, as these delays always confuse shoppers and throw the whole balance of the week off. A problem I have specifically is that on Friday we write the check to Diamond for that week's shipment, having had a couple of days to sell the items. Now, if we still keep to our schedule and send the checks on Friday, we won't have had any time to sell the products before we send out the check. Or, if we hold off on sending the check, waiting until Monday or Tuesday, then after New Years we'll have two Diamond checks hit the bank very close together. In comics cash flow is essential, and we pay more for inventory than any other expense.

But, on the other hand, I appreciate Diamond's attempt at honesty. During the holidays it seems that it is extremely difficult for Diamond to get shipments to stores on-time. I think they have a lot of staff take time off during the holidays, and the quantity of products shipping is probably fairly high, at least until after Christmas. Plus UPS has tons of stuff to ship and can't guarantee on-time shipments during the holidays. So, it is a perfect storm where, more times than not, one area or another would not get their shipment on time. A couple of years back it was us in the Midwest. Last holiday season I know there were a bunch of stores on the northwest that had delays. As long as they stick to their regular schedule this new holiday schedule might actually work. However, if they decide to waste that extra time, I would expect delays on top of the new, longer holiday shipping schedule.

At any rate, mark these delays down so you don't visit your comic book store looking for new comics on the wrong day.

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