Star Wars Toys May Fall to Earth with a Crash
Byline: LORNE SPICER
THE new Star Wars movie, Episode One: Phantom Menace, is creating cosmic problems for collectors and stores weeks before it is screened here.
Figures of the out-of-this-world characters and craft featured in the new generation of the hit space chronicle are likely to be in short supply. But not because of huge demand. Retailers may be reluctant to stock them because there is so little profit in them.
Gerry Masters of the British Toy Retail Association says: 'The full Star Wars range will be available here three weeks before the movie opens in the UK on July 16.
'But some UK retailers have told me they won't stock the toys because the profit margin is so awful.' The range is already on sale in the US, where the film is showing, and some are being imported by Gary Moxon, who runs Star Wars Emporium, a specialist collectors' shop in Norwich.
He says: 'We'll sell them for [pounds sterling]9.99, which is only [pounds sterling]1 more than the UK stores will charge when they officially arrive. But I know that retailers will receive just [pounds sterling]1.70 profit per figure, so there's hardly any money in it for them.' Despite this, many collectors desperate to get hold of the toys now are paying inflated prices on the secondary market.
Matthew Jarratt, 16, of Teign-mouth, Devon, who is a Star Wars collector, says: 'There are about eight different types of packaging for Star Wars figures and some collectors will want to have one of each.
'I know of some people who will pay up to [pounds sterling]60 for some figures.' Another problem for collectors is that the release of a new Star Wars movie may hit values of older, and arguably more collectable, Star Wars toys.
Moxon explains: 'Buyers may opt for new stuff at retail prices rather than collect older merchandise through dealers.
'But we're expecting a big shortage of some items, so collectors will have to pay dealers' prices if they
want them.' One of the most popular Star Wars toys is the Millennium Falcon spaceship, but even for this prices vary because there are three different versions.
'A Seventies boxed Millennium Falcon issued for the first Star Wars film is the rarest and therefore dearest, at between [pounds sterling]300 and [pounds sterling]500,' says Moxon.
'A reissued Empire Strikes Back Falcon sold in 1983 at [pounds sterling]50 and still fetches [pounds sterling]50 on the secondary market. …