Sales To Astonish #7 - March 2023

I began writing this instalment of Sales To Astonish on 14th March where the activity in the first two weeks of the month and sales had been anything but astonishing.

Website traffic and the numbers of orders have taken a worrying downward spiral since the beginning of the year. Looking back to the same period in 2022 activity was relatively buoyant with the bulk of sales being made during the week with weekends relatively hit and miss.

Fast forward twelve months and the majority of sales are now only being made on Thursday which is the day new stock is released into the store with the remaining six days of the week being quiet. This downward turn in sales places more importance on trying to get the comics and other products in the Thursday launch varied and interesting but also and more importantly as competitively priced as possible. A quiet Thursday now generally means a quiet week. As a result of this I have had to make some changes to my working week to attempt to try to get more dates in the diary for conventions, fairs and markets and moving away from being a solely online retailer (more details of these changes can be found here).

Whilst sales have been quieter compared to February they haven’t flat-lined completely, the first two weeks of March saw some great Ghost Rider issues from 90’s to present day released on a Thursday. Sales included

Ghost Rider Vol.3 #1 VFN+ @£20

Ghost Rider Vol.3 #28 NM- @£17.50

Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 @£7.50

Mid-month saw a stack of Marvel back issues from 1970’s to present day hit the store. Marvel back issues are by far the biggest sellers with Spider-Man, X-Men, Star Wars, Avengers and Thor the most popular.  Sales on the Thursday release included

Secret Avengers #2 1:75 Moonknight Variant  FN- @£27.50

Hulk Vol.2 #2 VFN @£10

On 23rd March I celebrated my 50th birthday so it seemed an appropriate moment to do a 50% Off At 50 sale. Typically in the past 50% off sales have been well received and this one was no different. From Ghost Rider and The Nam to Micronauts, Superman, Conan, Suicide Squad and Sgt Rock lots of comics, along with graphic novels, Marvel Treasury editions and Roleplaying supplements all found new homes between 23-25th March.

It’s safe to say that the sale saved the month from being a very quiet one which is fantastic.

The final release of March saw some much needed Batman back issues being re-stocked (with Batmania Part 2 being scheduled for April). Almost all of the issues from the 1980’s that hit the store sold in the first few hours. There were also a number of enquiries about Batman #324 to see if I had additional copies - it seems the Catwoman cover is quite popular! The one I did sell was in FN- condition and priced at £12.50. Anecdotally the Joe Quinones Catwoman cover for Batman ‘89 #5 always sells when there’s one in stock.

I had a couple of days away in Doncaster for my 50th birthday and in between meeting with friends and enjoying some nice food and drinks there was a little time to reflect on where The Unreality Store currently is.

The conclusion was that I am utterly convinced that there is a place and following for The Unreality Store in the comic and vintage Roleplaying collecting community but the impact of circumstances beyond my control such as the Cost of Living Crisis are starting to take their toll.

The harsh reality of the general downturn in trade is that if it continues for much longer I may have to seek alternative full time employment.   

The good news is the birthday sale has meant that I live to fight on for another month 💪💪 Bring on April 🤟