Sales to Astonish #4 - December 2022 & Year In Review

Before we embark on our December activity and recap on what’s happened in the past year it seems wholly appropriate to say thank you for all your support in 2022 whether that’s by buying something from us, following us and commenting and liking posts on social media, right down to visiting the website for a browse. We couldn’t have made it through our third year without you 😎

Now on to the good stuff…!

December 2022

As the days grow shorter and in some cases, colder, what better time of year to stay in and read a great graphic novel or a stack of comics.

This was our third December and our online activity was largely similar to our first two years of trading - the first 15 days of the month were busy and then there’s a tail off towards Christmas as the opportunity to get a lost minute present means bricks and mortar retailers benefit as there’s no longer time to order something online and get it shipped before the big day.  This year wasn’t helped by the Royal Mail going on a series of strikes through December which created some inevitable delays in orders arriving on time.

Nevertheless we did a series of our usual Thursday launches throughout the month which included some second tier Marvel mutant titles from the 90’s such as Excalibur and X-Force. These sold really well as not only were they priced keenly but these issues have reached or are fast approaching their 30th birthdays and collectors who bought them first time round are coming back and buying them again for nostalgia purposes. It was great to see some Alan Davis Excalibur and Rob Liefeld X-Force issues fly out the door.

In January we ran an email subscriber 50% sale, but this year decided to bring this forward to Boxing Day and then to open the sale up to the general public from 1st January.  We will report on the latter part of the sale in our January summary, but the week between Boxing Day and New Years Eve was the busiest of the year in terms of orders and revenue.

Key Sales from December were as follows:

Marvel Spotlight Vol.1 #1 FN @£17.50

Hero For Hire #2 FN @£20

Giant Size Master of Kung-Fu #1 FN- @ £25

Beware #1 FN- @£25

Something Is Killing The Children LCSD Foil Variant @£40

Alias #1 NM- @£40

We also sold sizeable runs of King Conan and Heavy Metal magazines during the month along with a good number of Roleplaying supplements and magazines.


2022 Year In Review

For those of you who have read the earlier editions of Sales To Astonish you’ll know how we fared from September when this column began,  but 2022 has been an interesting year full of surprises, challenges and genuinely jaw-dropping moments. January was certainly one of the latter as it remained the best month of the entire year. Expecting a quiet month as people take stock of their finances after their Christmas spending we ran a 50% off sale to our email subscribers. The sale also included everything that was dropped into the store that month and resulted in some great sales.

February by contrast was quiet, as were March and April. May gave us the opportunity to run a May The 4th Be With You sale on all things Star Wars related and also to celebrate our second anniversary on May 20th.  Both sales performed well and getting hold of more Star Wars comics and graphic novels remains a priority so we can restock the relevant collections and run a meaningful sale again next year.

June saw sales slump, possibly as people started to go on their summer holidays unimpeded by any Covid related controls for the first time in two years. In order to counter a similar downturn in July and August we ran a number of Summer Sizzler sales focusing on certain publishers or titles. The 50% off sale on Green Lantern saw pretty much our entire stock snapped up but by comparison the 50% off Justice League titles didn’t see much action. A sale on variant covers is always popular whenever we run one so we did that twice as part of the Summer Sizzlers during July and August.

As we approached autumn sales in September dropped off again, possibly as people counted the cost of their summer holidays, the back to school period and also the now ever present in the press ‘Cost of Living Crisis’. It’s hard to accurately quantify just how much this has affected sales, suffice it to say some regular customers have said they have put a brake on non-essential spending and others have said they will continue to buy but only items they genuinely want and almost certainly those purchases are price sensitive. This trend continued through October to the end of the year and whilst we endeavour to price check our items against our competitors and on eBay, a race to the bottom on price isn’t good for business so we hope that people would buy from us over a slightly cheaper eBay seller on the basis of our accurate grading, customer service, speedy postage and where at all possible curated freebies to go with every order.

One of the things we’ve been incredibly proud of this year is adding over 1000 subscribers to our weekly emailer. Yes this is an opportunity for us to showcase some of the items we’ve launched in store every Thursday but it also features reviews and other bits and pieces. Feedback on the content has been good but we’re always on the look out for people who want to provide reviews on what they’re reading or Roleplaying or even their reminiscences on collecting. Equally as we approached the end of 2022 we were on the cusp of getting 500 5* reviews on Trustpilot and in an age of review/survey fatigue we are genuinely humbled by all the people who have taken the time to leave a comment (or sometimes a couple of paragraphs!!) on our standards of service.

In all 2022 hasn’t been without its challenges many of which will remain in 2023 and possibly beyond. However, taking a moment to reflect by doing this Year In Review section it’s indisputable that we have made some positive progress throughout the year which at times when you are stuck hard at the coal face is often difficult to realise.

We’ve got an action plan in place for 2023 which will hope grow the business but we can’t do that without the support of our customers so please do keep us in mind when you are browsing for comics, graphic novels and Roleplaying games as we love doing what we do!

As Stan The Man would say… Excelsior 😎