Diamond Comic Distributors has released an official statement on its move to no longer receive shipments of new comics at its warehouses. In the statement, Steve Geppi, chairman and CEO of Diamond's parent company Geppi Family Enterprises, states that the move comes as a result of what the company is hearing from stores. "We are hearing from thousands of retailers that they can no longer service their customers as they have in the past, many of them forced to close by government action or resort to in-person or curbside delivery," he writes. "Even those still open are seeing reduced foot traffic in most cases, a situation that seems likely to worsen with time. Our publishing partners are also faced with numerous issues in their supply chain, working with creators, printers, and increasing uncertainty when it comes to the production and delivery of products for us to distribute. Our freight networks are feeling the strain and are already experiencing delays, while our distribution centers in New York, California, and Pennsylvania were all closed late last week. Our own home office in Maryland instituted a work from home policy, and experts say that we can expect further closures. Therefore, my only logical conclusion is to cease the distribution of new weekly product until there is greater clarity on the progress made toward stemming the spread of this disease."
In the message, Geppi confirms that product dated on or after April 1st will not be shipped. Retailers can continue to order items already in stock. The statement also confirms that Diamond's games distributor, Alliance Game Distributors, will cease shipments at the end of the day on Tuesday.
Geppi also looks towards the future, encouraging stores that remain open to get creative. "With these changes in our distribution strategy, we will work with our publishing partners to develop programs that will address product already in the pipeline and what will happen when we resume distribution. We know that during this time you will face many challenges, and we will direct our energies toward addressing them, rather than fighting on increasingly numerous fronts to get product out.
"Besides the industry's most immediate needs, we have been and will continue looking toward the future, when we see stores reopening, bringing staff back onboard, and getting customers in the door. We are looking at issues like debt accrued due to this crisis, what reduced ordering means for your discount tiers, and the availability of credit to help stores through and after this difficult time. We don't have all those answers today, but we understand the many issues you are facing and look forward to addressing them as partners who all have an interest in the long-term health of the industry we love so much."
ComicBook.com learned earlier today Diamond asked printers to halt shipments of new products. Diamond is the exclusive distributor of new releases from all of the comics direct market's biggest publishers, including DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, BOOM! Studios, and IDW Publishing, as well as many of the smaller publishers.
This news comes after publishers began rolling out plans to help ease the stress the pandemic will put on the direct market. Some, like Image Comics, announced it would make new comics returnable. Marvel announced a discount to books being sold to retailers. This also follows news that the annual industry event Free Comic Book Day has been delayed from its usual place at the beginning of the year until later in the year.
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