Target Temporarily Halts Some In-Store Sports Card and Pokemon Sales
Target is putting a temporary halt to some — but not all — of its in-store trading card sales.
The company has confirmed that MLB, NBA, NFL and Pokemon cards are temporarily being removed from store shelves. The plan is for other sports and trading cards to still be available.
It’s also important to note that this isn’t intended to be a permanent change but rather something for the time being.
D.J. Kazmierczak, Panini America’s Vice President of Sales/Product Development, addressed the situation in an interview with Eric Norton on the May 12 episode of Beckett Live Presents.
“This is a short-term cooling off period that will also allow Target to figure out how they can reinvent the customer experience in the trading card section,” Kazmierczak said.
He also highlighted that collectors may still find some cards in stores. “It’s only the four ‘biggies’ right now that are coming out: MLB, NFL, NBA and Pokemon,” he noted. “Everything else is going to stay in the store, your NASCAR, your UFC, your soccer, your NHL product — that stuff is still going to be available.”
Target’s temporary policy change is a culmination of the exploding popularity of trading cards, particularly in the last year. The chain has tried a variety of things to make cards available while keeping stores safe and orderly.
Kazmierczak noted that as a growing number of people started hanging around in stores waiting for restocks, the chain needed to make a change.
“Target started to limit when they were going to sell product because there was so many people coming into the store and in the aisles and they were blocking the check lanes and things like that,” he said. “Target wanted to limit when people were going to be in that area of the store so they started going to a schedule of when product was going to be available.
“That kind of worked somewhat in the opposite affect in that then people would line up in the parking lot and they were camping out overnight. There started to be some activity in the parking lot that wasn’t exactly conducive to a friendly consumer environment.”
Things came to a head last Friday at a Target in Brookfield, Wisconsin when a man was jumped by four other men in the parking lot. A gun was pulled and the shopping center went into lockdown for about an hour. The altercation started over trading cards.
“The bottom line is that this is a short-term cooling off period that will also allow Target to figure out how they can reinvent the customer experience in the trading card section at Target,” Kazmierczak said. “I met with the Target buyer yesterday. We met about this and had a long conversation about the strategy, the reasoning and they are very invested in the trading card program.”
For the time being, trading cards being removed from stores will be sold through Target’s website.
As for Walmart, Kazmierczak said that, at the moment, they will not be pulling any trading cards from stores.
“As it stands right now, I’ve had a conversation with MJ Holdings, which services them and they had talked to the Walmart buyer — their intention is to keep things the way they are,” he said. “They haven’t seen the same level of serious activity and I think in part it’s because they changed the way they service the stores a while ago.”
According to Kazmierczak, when MJ Holdings were restocking Walmart stores, they did it at somewhat random and scattered times. However, with Target stores, people were able to figure out patterns for restock times, which led to crowds in stores.
“On more than one occasion, in more than one state, people put trackers on the reps cars to follow them around,” he said.
“This is a temporary situation, not a permanent situation,” said Kazmierczak. “Could it become a permanent situation? Sure, if we implement some other changes that don’t work, it could. But it’s not intended to be. [Target’s] goal is to have all trading cards back in the space as soon as possible.”