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Diamond announces day-early delivery for comics

by  in Comic News Comment

As expected, Diamond Comic Distributors announced this morning that, beginning in January, all direct-market retailers in North America and the United Kingdom will be able to receive comics on Tuesdays for sale on Wednesdays. Currently only the larger stores have the option of Tuesday delivery; most everyone else receives shipments on Wednesday morning.

Although Tuesday delivery has been bandied about for years, the proposition gained traction in April at the Diamond Retailer Summit at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. The distributor followed a request for a show of hands with a formal survey in which more than 52 percent of responding retailers said they would “benefit significantly” from day-early delivery.

During the presentation at the April summit, retailers were told that those who opt for Tuesday delivery will have to pay a $5-a-week charge to fund a mystery shopper program to help ensure Wednesday street dates aren’t broken. According to Heidi MacDonald, that is still under review.

Day-early delivery will take effect with shipments delivered on Jan. 11 for sale on Jan. 12. Read Diamond’s official announcement after the break:

Effective in January, 2011, Diamond retailers in North America and the UK will have the option of “day-early” delivery of weekly product shipments on Tuesdays for sale on Wednesdays.

Day-early delivery – which was outlined to retailers in the form of a Q&A following Diamond’s Retailer Summit in April — will take effect with shipments delivered on Tuesday, January 11, that have a scheduled on-sale date of Wednesday, January 12.

Please Note: The current industrywide Wednesday new release day will remain unchanged, and retailers who do not wish to use the new option may continue to receive their shipments on Wednesdays.

“Our decision to proceed with day-early, Tuesday-for-Wednesday delivery resulted from positive discussions with leading publishers and vendors, from retailer requests and feedback, and from retailer responses to our recent survey on the topic,” explained Diamond Vice President of Sales & Marketing Roger Fletcher.

In that survey, retailers were asked how they thought the day-early option would affect their business and the Direct Market. “Of more than 1,000 retailers who responded to the survey,” Fletcher said, “75% believe day-early delivery will benefit their business, while 72% believe it will benefit the entire Direct Market.”

The survey also asked retailers: “If given the choice between Monday delivery for Tuesday on-sale, and Tuesday delivery for Wednesday on-sale, what would be your preference?” Retailers could choose between the two options, or for “Either Monday for Tuesday or Tuesday for Wednesday.”

“The number of respondents who selected Tuesday delivery for Wednesday on-sale and the ‘Either’ option totaled 63%,” Fletcher said, “while those selecting the Monday-for-Tuesday alternative and the ‘Either’ option totaled 38%. This encouraging consensus has convinced us that moving forward with day-early delivery for Wednesday on-sale holds considerable advantages for vendors, retailers, and the industry.”

With the implementation of day-early delivery, Diamond will also initiate a “mystery shopper” program to ensure that participating retailers abide by the industrywide Wednesday release date for books received on Tuesday.

Fletcher urged retailers to “stay tuned” to Diamond Daily and Diamond Dateline for more details about registering for the day-early delivery option.

Additionally, Diamond has announced that — working in concert with vendors — Diamond will deliver product on its normal Wednesday schedule in December. The first shipment of 2011 will arrive after the New Year’s holiday on Wednesday, January 5. Day-early shipping will commence the following week.

“During the holidays, our retailers and their customers depend upon Diamond to keep the newest and hottest product flowing into stores, and we’d like to thank our vendors for working with us to maintain our regular schedule,” Fletcher said. “We’d also like to thank our vendors and our customers for working with us to get 2011 off to a great start by making the day-early shipping option a reality. We look forward to a smooth transition to what we feel will be a highly beneficial and profitable service.”