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Saturday, February 21, 2009

More retail reports

Some more stories about comics retailers in the press. The Chillicothe Gazette of Chillicothe, Ohio, covers the closure of Acme Comics, a fixture in the city since 1993. Kathy Hall, who cofounded the store with her late husband, told the paper that while traffic has not decreased, the number of regular purchasers has because of the local economy. "I have people call and say, 'No, I can't pick up my books this month,'" Hall told the paper. "Even people who stopped by all the time."

Population 22,187, Chillicothe is about an hour south of Columbus and serves a wide area of Southern Ohio. Hall's mention of the local economy is a useful data point, as it will be helpful as the recession continues to differentiate whenever possible between closures due to external conditions, and those due to problems within the comics industry itself. Obviously, it doesn't matter in the near term — a lost store is a lost store. But as Hall seems to suggest, there is no less area interest in comics; that fact would serve the industry in any rebound in the general economy.

The Fresno Bee also has a piece on comics shops and the recession — no closings in this one, but retailers discussing strategies. Visalia, Calif., store owner Roy Gallagher says sales are down 4-5% year-over-year at his Collector's Choice store, and Dave Allread of Heroes Comics (presumably in Fresno) says his operation "know a little better in a few months whether a person who was buying eight to 10 comics each week drops down to five or six." The article deals with cover prices in some detail and reads somewhat less melodramatically than some other recent pieces from California papers.
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