Saturday, April 04, 2009
Reaching for the unattainable
In these days of shrinking magazine and newspaper sales one would expect retailers to do their bit to help publishers sell as many copies as possible. After all, higher sales are in their interests too. Therefore it's puzzling as to why the new shelf displays in some High Street retailers actually put the comics OUT of the reach of their target audience.
Witness the photo above. The smart new displays give the comics more breathing space than they had before but the height of the shelves puts certain titles way out of the reach of children! Whilst the nursery comics are on the lower shelves easily within view of young children, the top shelf contain The Beano, BeanoMAX, Dandy Xtreme, Toxic, and others - at a height of approximately six feet! How is the target audience of 7 to 11 year olds expected to even notice those comics, let alone reach them? Established readers might strive to look for their favourite comics (and ask a parent to reach up for a copy) but how can a 7 year old discover Toxic or The Beano for the first time when it's positioned a couple of feet above his head and way out of his eye line?
In 1986 retailers "top shelved" Oink! comic because they bizarrely considered it unsuitable for children. Now, The Beano etc are receiving the same limitations in some stores but this time it's because of bad planning rather than censorship. Is it any wonder comic sales are falling? And how much shelf rent are these retail giants charging the publishers for this "service" anyway?