With the UK lockdown approaching fast, for two weeks now, retailers have been reporting some unusual stocking limits from Games Workshop.
We live in interesting times, and 2020 is indeed the year of unusual circumstances. Recall how the pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe on business and consumers of all shapes and sizes.
Early Year Disruptions
Earlier this year during the pandemic’s initial wave, the UK was hit by a lockdown that affected just about everyone. GW has a large disruption to its product releases and personnel were working from home for some time.
In the recent couple of months, everything has gotten back to a new normal and Nottingham has been rapid-fire releasing the Space Marine, Necrons, Sons of Behemat, and now Morathi books and miniatures, along with many of their secondary games such as Necromunda and Warcry.
Something is Stirring
Over the last two weeks, independent stockists across the globe have reported severe allocation limits to the number of products they can order from GW. Last week’s items were limited to amounts ranging from 2 to 8. Then following up on this, this week saw allocation limits for new releases ranging from 1 to 2 per item. These are unusually low limits for stockists to be able to order.
We will have to wait and see what happens next week to see if the trend continues, but retailers are already feeling the pandemic pain before this.
Starting Thursday, November 5th, the England is entering a government-mandated Stage – 3 Lockdown until early December (Dec 2nd), and all companies are affected. GW has put out some notes on how this will affect them on their various sites:
Games-workshop.com – Open for Business!
When the UK government announced new lockdown measures for England this week, we received a lot of questions about what that means for the Warhammer hobby. The good news is, we’re not expecting any knock-on effects from the lockdown in England to our operations elsewhere in the world. Warhammer shops will stay open (wherever it is safe for them to do so), our webstores are standing by to take your orders, and our factories and warehouses are operating safely – so your weekly Warhammer new releases will keep coming!
Stores in England Closed from Thursday
In England, our Warhammer shops (including Warhammer World) as well as many independent retailers, will be closed from Thursday, in line with government regulations. That means today and tomorrow are the last chance you’ll get to visit your local Warhammer store for at least a month, so make sure to pop by and stock up on your hobby essentials before they seal the blast doors.
Other Warhammer Stores – Open Where They Can Be!
There are several other lockdowns in effect in Europe currently, including France, Wales and Belgium. Wherever we have Warhammer stores, we’ll follow local government guidelines, so keep an eye on reliable news outlets in your area for the latest. If your local shop is closed, don’t worry. We’ll get you your Warhammer as long as trucks can drive, planes can fly and your lovely local postie is making deliveries on your street. In short – we’re always open online.
What Does It All Mean?
First of all, let’s do some reading between the lines on the formal statements.
- GW is not shutting down, and all sections of the company that are not on mandatory lockdown are remaining open for business.
- They specifically state their warehouses AND FACTORIES are operating safely.
- New releases will continue.
- In England, retail stores are closing.
- Online ordering is available.
What we should expect however in any of these types of lockdowns is delays and disruptions while businesses adapt to the new normal. In the initial lockdown period, we saw GW (and almost everyone else) affected by delays and pauses in their product releases dates and some very unusual gaps in the schedule in and around 40k 9th edition’s launch. I would assume that GW is going to do whatever it can to operate within the England rules while trying to minimize supply disruptions. But remember that every other English business from shippers to printers, to suppliers, will also be affected.
We will have to wait and see how nimble GW will be in this second round of disruptions. It is possible the retailers and their limited allocations are related, but nothing is certain at this time.
~Only time will tell if these are short-term or medium-term issues. In the meantime, if you live in affected areas of the world, make sure you are stocked up on hobby items (safely) to ride out the lockdown.
UPDATED: Added clarification the Lockdown affects England, rather than the the UK.