Why isn’t the Christmas Collection in stores on street date?

Posted on: September 30th, 2008 by Jennifer 19 Comments

I’ve received several emails asking about why the Christmas Collection is not in a lot of stores today so I thought I would go ahead and address the issue.

Christmas releases are always a bit tricky:

Christian Market Retailers (Lifeway, Family Christian Stores, Berean, etc.) – Stores order product and usually have it in their stores on street date (which is usually late September).  However, not every store puts the product out for sale or positions it on endcaps, etc. on street date. Most wait until late October or early November when they set their stores for Christmas products.  If you ask the store clerk to see if they have received any, they’ll most likely find it in their stock room and sell it to you.

General Market Retailers (Walmart, Target, Best Buy, etc.) – a lot of times they don’t buy in many Christmas units until later in October…and certainly don’t position them until later.   Their "real estate" (i.e. shelf space) is a hot commodity and they don’t put albums out until they think they will sell quickly.  They don’t believe most of their consumers are looking for Christmas music in September/early October.

These are "general" answers.  Obviously if Hannah Montana or some huge selling artist releases a Christmas album it is in the stores best interest to put it out there as soon as possible.

Hope this answers the question.  Distribution from the label is not a problem.  The perceived problem is simply an issue of the stores determining when it best suits their business to put a Christmas album on the shelf.

  • http://www.twitter.com/brodycalsdaddy Brody&Cals Dad

    Found the album this morning on Rhapsody for $11.99…..Really love Silent Night and Baby Its Christmas…Can’t wait to see AG at the Fox!

  • http://sleeplessmornings.blogspot.com/ Merrie

    I nearly forgot it came out today. Usually I pre-order, but just didn’t happen to this time. I’ll just check my Tar-jay tonight to see, and keep my eye out if it’s not. After reading Amy’s comments on the new songs, I’m looking forward to hearing them.
    Thanks for the rehearsal picture. Sounds like it’s a lot of work.

  • Chris (Charlotte, NC)

    “Endcaps” — LOL! How easily those in the business drop terms that they are intimately familiar with, but that most of the general public probably have no clue what they’re talking about. My “slightly educated guess” is that you’re talking about the “new release” or “best sellers” shelf space at the end of the display rows, where specific newer product that the retailer thinks is going to sell in much higher quantities than older releases is displayed and featured. Am I correct?

  • Jennifer

    Yes, Chris – you are correct. End Caps are the shelves at the end of the “racks” (where cds are stocked on a regular basis by artist name/genre). End Caps are premium space and are usually reserved for best sellers, new releases, seasonal releases, and special promotions. I wasn’t trying to sound like an “insider.” I guess I just thought it was a self explanatory term. My bad.

  • Chris (Charlotte, NC)

    Oh, I didn’t mean to criticize! My apologies if it came across that way. I have the same problem sometimes in that I’ll drop a word into general conversation (I’m a CPA) that makes perfect sense to me because I may use it all the time in my business environment, but the person I’m talking to gives me that funny look as if to say ‘what the heck are you talking about?’ And I WAS able to guess correctly, so in context it wasn’t really such an obscure reference. Any retailer instantly understands that reference, I’m sure. Let’s face it, you ARE an insider! And it is totally awesome that you’re on here sharing that “inside view” with all of us fans. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this (and to answer my question, too!).

  • Jennifer

    no prob! :)

  • lpvmusic

    I find this hard to believe because I found new Christmas CDs at Target by Faith Hill and Melissa Etheridge in stock today as “new Christmas CDs”

  • lpvmusic

    And nowhere in Target did I find Amy’s The Christmas Collection. It was only available online. Which is the same for Best Buy and WalMart.

  • lpvmusic

    And nowhere in Target did I find Amy’s The Christmas Collection. It was only available online. Which is the same for Best Buy and WalMart.

  • Bradley Olson

    I knew this already but thanks for explaining this part of the business to people who don’t understand it.

  • Jennifer

    Not sure how to respond to someone who says they don’t “believe” my answer. I tried to briefly explain a very complicated release situation regarding seasonal music but there pointed out that there are execptions. In the case of Faith and Melissa’s albums (or others), Target either decided they were highly anticipated releases that would sell well OR the artists’ labels decided to “buy” space for the new releases because they want strong debut weeks and feel like the sales will be quick. In Amy’s case, the label decided to wait until later October/November to “buy” space at retailers, believing that most Christmas sales come later. I agree with their positioning and think it was the wisest use of their marketing dollars. In the meantime, for those of you who want to physically buy the album this week I am sorry for the hassle you’ve experienced. It has shipped strong numbers and it is out there… it just may be a few more weeks before it is readily available on the shelves. It is available now via amygrant.com and other online retailers should you have continual problems finding it in your area.

  • lpvmusic

    Jen,
    Thanks for further explaining. I really appreciate it.
    Here is what I am saying. The last Greatest Hits CD and the remastered CDs were not on the shelves at the largest Best Buy, Target stores in Houston, TX. The metro area has over 5 million people and no where in the city could I find the CDs.
    I now live in CA and I had to drive 50 miles outside of San Francisco to a small town population 15,000 to pick up the 20th Anniversary Lead Me On CD one week after it’s release date because no one in the city had the CD. What we are noticing is Amy’s CDs are no longer on the shelves the day of the release. That is why I and others post messages on the boards. The perception from me and others is…It’s no longer serves purpose to go to the store the week of the release to buy the CD, cause we never see it there anymore. I know the importance of selling big units for the record label and billboard the week of release date. But there seems to be a problem here.

  • Janice

    The Christmas Collecion is on iTunes. I’m looking forward to getting it in the mail!

  • http://www.myspace.com/gfoa Ryan

    I finally found my copy at Family Christian Bookstore here in Madison, WI.
    I must say – “I need a Silent Night” is nothing short of brilliant!!
    I think Amy should do a video for this track. When I heard it, I immediately pictured Amy driving her car, fighting traffic, shopping, dealing with the lines of people, noticing the happy and not so happy faces around her. In one way or another, she closes her eyes and immediately she’s in a place where she would rather be aka home by the fire or outside in the snow. Maybe not in this particular order but I can imagine the whole video in my head :)
    This song is a hit and I hope it can be pushed to radio as single!
    Sincerely,
    Ryan

  • NOLAN

    Hey Amy fans, I’m a sales floor leader for Family Christian Stores and can confirm that the cd was put out on the release date, which was yesterday. That said, you should have no problem finding it at any one of our stores, as long as they don’t sell out too soon. And it’s on sale for $13.99! Hurry down and pick up your copy!!!

  • otterboy

    I don’t think Target decided to put it out. Couldn’t find it in Minneapolis. Faith is everywhere, tho. Looks like she’s getting the biggest push this year. It’s her first one, so there is excitement there.
    Nice to see Amy in the top 5 Holiday cds on Amazon, plus all 4 new songs in the top 50 on iTunes/Holiday songs.

  • Darren

    I recieved the cd the other day and finally got a chance to listen to it. I am so glad that I ordered it early. It is clearly one of her best

  • Michelle

    10/11/08 – I still can’t find the CD in stores. What the stores (Best Buy and Borders so far) are saying is that the CD isn’t available for distribution to/sale in stores. It is sounding like maybe the record company has released it for sale online, but not for sale in stores. Has anyone else found the CD in a store?

  • Michelle

    I just spoke with a Customer Care Representative at Borders. She said that the record company hasn’t sent the CD to their warehouses yet. Has anyone found the CD anywhere? Has anyone who ordered it from the FOA store gotten it?

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