The buzz has begun, as collectors all over the US are reporting seeing this on the pegs at Walmart:
Even the 5-packs have been marked down.
So what is going on? There is a lot of speculation, and we know nothing. Some say this is the end of Matchbox at Walmart, as they are clearancing off all the Matchbox, to make space for some other brand, maybe even creating more real estate for Hot Wheels.
Others suggest it is not time to panic, as this may be a way to clear out current stock to make room for new Matchbox stock with new UPC numbers.
We have no idea, but this is a little concerning. We just hope we are suffering from a case of premature panicization. What we do know:
- While we have seen different Matchbox items put on clearance in the past, this is the first time we have seen basics on clearance.
- This is the exact time of year that Walmart does its toy department reset. The timing of this could mean Matchbox is out. It could also be what some have said, just making room for new stock.
Taking Matchbox completely out of Walmart does not make a ton of sense, and it seems that Mattel has quite a bit more leverage than other toymakers. But we mustn’t forget that Walmart rules all.
We really hope this is just a product reset for Matchbox, but we will have to wait and see. If this is in fact Matchbox’s end at Walmart, at least for the time being, this could mean some major changes for the orange brand. It is too valuable a brand for Mattel to give up, but could we see it separated even more from Hot Wheels? Or a return to more realism? One way or the other, this could mean a VERY interesting Matchbox Gathering Convention in July, when the Matchbox marketing and design teams present the direction for 2015.