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  • Winter Village Toy Shop Re-Release: Did LEGO take it too far?


    There is one thing LEGO investors and resellers fear more than getting banned from Shop at Home: set re-releases.

    As you all know, LEGO production runs for a particular set is limited to a period between a few months to several years. Once the set hits the end of its life, investors expect never to see that set again at retail price and reap the benefits of secondary market demand and price increases.

    While in the vast majority of cases this is the norm, every once in a while LEGO decides it is time to bring a previously released set back into the primary market. Re-releases are usually improved versions of the previous set including new building techniques, pieces and exclusive minifigures.

    brickpicker_set_6210_1.jpgbrickpicker_set_75020-1_3.jpg

    While the re-birth of previously retired sets can bring happiness to collectors that previously missed out, the opposite is usually true when it comes to investors. The possibility of buying a newer version for retail diminishes the need for collectors to pay higher secondary market prices, resulting in a decrease in demand and the expected price decrease. Investors dump the old set quickly in order to secure a small profit or to cut their losses; market reaches equilibrium.

    Up until fairly recently, re-releases had been limited to smaller or mid-range play sets like Jabba’s Sail Barge. The impact of the newer version is easily observed in the graph below:

    Screen%20Shot%202015-08-30%20at%2011.35.

    While this kind of issue annoyed re-sellers, it was what came after that really started worrying them: the re-release of an Ultimate Collector’s Series set; the 10240 X-Wing.

    Somewhat different from the original model, this was LEGO’s first attempt to re-releasing one of the largest and most expensive sets in the secondary market. This issue has hurt the original version, 7191, significantly over the last couple of years; a 2 year and 1 year Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of  -4.27 and -25.34 percent respectively according to the latest Brickpicker data.           

    Screen%20Shot%202015-08-30%20at%2011.39.Despite the negative impact of the newer release, the original UCS X-Wing is still up over              500 percent of its original retail price. The serious collector is more than likely the source of demand for this set at the moment, which coupled with the relative scarcity has provided a price floor for 7191.

    After the re-release of a UCS set, LEGO had opened the door to similar actions in the future. A lot of investors commented that this would be the beginning of the end of LEGO investing the way we knew it, and decided to make adjustments to their long-term investment strategy.

     Enter the Winter Village holiday theme, one of the most admired and popular production lines in LEGO’s arsenal.

    So far, LEGO has consistently released one new set per year on this line, while keeping no more than 2 on the shelves in any particular holiday season. Consequently, LEGO retires one Winter Village themed set per year, making it one of the most easily predictable retirements out there.

     As investors, you can quickly understand why something like this would be appealing: shorter production runs limited to a few months of each year, somewhat concrete retirement dates and huge popularity with collectors are factors we all would like to see more when investing in LEGO.

     Not surprisingly, the performance of the Winter Village theme has been quite stellar, as you can easily tell from the charts below:

    Screen%20Shot%202015-08-30%20at%2011.44.

    Those are not only some really nice looking sets, but also pretty good investment returns.

    Now, the real issue: LEGO recently announced the new release for this year’s holiday season, the Winter Village Toy Shop (2.0).  From the pictures, you can see that in this case the company took re-releases to a whole new level by only slightly changing the previous model. Basically, we ended up with the same exact set as 2009 with very minimal cosmetic alterations, in addition to suggesting to move the Christmas tree to the complete opposite side of the display.

    brickpicker_set_10199_5.jpgLEGO-10249-Winter-Toy-Shop-Creator-High-

     

    If you are a frequent visitor to the site’s forums, you will remember the uproar this release caused with investors and collectors alike. On one hand, it hurt investors that still held the previous version, while on the other it hugely disappointed collectors that expected to be able to add a new structure to their Winter Village town.

    What immediately followed the announcement was not really hard to predict: dozens of new listings for 10199 popped up on eBay and other selling venues from sellers trying to realize their gains. The priced dropped very quickly, as sellers undercut each other hoping to get rid of the inventory way before the newer Toy Shop hit the shelves in a couple weeks.

    Screen%20Shot%202015-08-30%20at%2011.49.

    Why would LEGO do this with so many different potential buildings that still can be added to the Winter Village town? I can think of a few potential reasons:

    1. The Winter Village Toy Shop is perhaps the most popular set of the entire WV line. The sales numbers on eBay seem to indicate that the Toy Shop sells the best in the entire line, with the Winter Village Bakery being a close second.
    2. LEGO determined that demand for a Toy Shop release increased with the release of last year’s Santa’s Workshop. Collectors that purchased the set last year may now be more likely to purchase a place for all of those freshly made toys to be sold.
    3. Being the older of the WV sets, the company determined it to be cost effective to bring it back with a few modifications and focus their efforts on other popular lines. Think Episode VII sets coming in the next few months.

    We probably will never know the actual reasons executives at TLG decided to go with a re-release instead of a completely new concept, but the reasons above make some sense to me.

    Now, does this mark the beginning of the end of the Winter Village line excellent secondary market performance? I honestly don’t believe so. Rarely we will find another theme that is so easily predictable as far as production runs and retirement dates, and even if LEGO re-released every single set every 4 years, by that time most of the post EOL price appreciation would have taken place anyway.

    The key with this line will be, in my opinion, to hold the sets for a shorter time period, say 2 years, and sell to realize the gains. Why run the risk of this happening again when we already have proof that LEGO is willing to bring the older sets back?

    Thanks for reading.

     

     

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    I'm a collector and investor and this release sucked.


    BOOOOOOO TOY SHOP!   YOU SUCK!


    (Good article by the way:)

    Edited by pickleboy

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    Nice article and exactly to the point.

    I have to wonder--everyone is speculating all of these product "shortages" recently are because of the Star Wars Force Awakens sets.  If true, then we should plenty of Star Wars sets on the shelves and available after the initial and what has now become traditional OOS business.  Quick flippers can only buy so many of these up.

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    Excellent article and good synopsis of how the collective LEGO community is feeling about this particular re-release. We were particularly bummed because we've been slowly piecing together the old set, such that we only have about 10 pieces left to complete it. We'll probably buy the new set regardless... now it's just a matter of deciding *which* set to use in our village...

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    Ebay is totally free market research for Lego on which, if any, sets should be re-released. Although mass use of re-releases would be counter intuitive, as  it removes the urgency for their customers to buy before it's retired. If Grandma knows a particular set is going to be around or come back around, there's no reason for her to start laying away specific sets now for when grandkids grow into appropriate ages to play with them.

    As far as assuming the Toy Shop would stay retired and EOL though is rather unrealistic, as when one thinks of Christmas, toys is either #1 or #2 that people associate with the holiday. IMO, I would think a toy shop would be a constant and then making the complimenting structures the short run collectible pieces of the line. 

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    I'm a little waffly on the idea of a re-release.  For something such as this, it's an odd move, considering there are tons of different ideas that can still be used.  I guess 6 years after the initial release is a decent time frame, but only 4 years since retirement, so it seems a tad too fast for one.

    With arguments to 7191/10240, I don't fully understand the pure outrage from some people.  Look, I've owned the original 7191 when it first came out in the early '00s, and I actually prefer the newer one.  When it comes to re-releases/re-makes/re-hashes, I'm actually ok with sets like this.  For one, 7191 is about 15 years old.  It truly shows it's age and needed a refresh. I wouldn't want to see a huge influx of these kinds of things, but a lot of these sets that are well over 10 years old do need an update with all the more stable/improved build techniques.

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    I'm a little waffly on the idea of a re-release.  For something such as this, it's an odd move, considering there are tons of different ideas that can still be used.  I guess 6 years after the initial release is a decent time frame, but only 4 years since retirement, so it seems a tad too fast for one.

    With arguments to 7191/10240, I don't fully understand the pure outrage from some people.  Look, I've owned the original 7191 when it first came out in the early '00s, and I actually prefer the newer one.  When it comes to re-releases/re-makes/re-hashes, I'm actually ok with sets like this.  For one, 7191 is about 15 years old.  It truly shows it's age and needed a refresh. I wouldn't want to see a huge influx of these kinds of things, but a lot of these sets that are well over 10 years old do need an update with all the more stable/improved build techniques.

    I completely agree with re-releasing iconic sets such as 7191 to get them up to the modern LEGO standard. You will get no argument from me there!

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    Nice article.  Personally, I think it is an experiment by The LEGO Group to gauge interest on reissues.  I read all the time about LEGO fans wishing this set or that set would come back into production.  Well, I believe LEGO hears this as well and wants to test the waters.  If it's a big time seller, then you will see more remakes.  If it under-performs, you will not.  

    LEGO fans as a whole...and LEGO itself...better be very careful about wanting sets reissued.  For every remake, there is one less new set being created.  LEGO can easily get a reputation of a lazy company which lacks creativity, which in turn could return the company back to the 1990s....

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    The toy shop is the most shocking of all their recent remakes. 
    Its exactly the same. ok, 97%.

    I for one am not buying any.
    I regret buying the other notable remakes: Sail Barge and the Gunship, even though I picked them up at $45.
    The Gunship looks to be in the same remake category as the Toy Shop. Its looks basically the same.
    If you look at the older Gunship 7676, Very few were sold in the last 6 months.
    I Hope I dont regret the UCS X-wing. 

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    For every remake, there is one less new set being created.  LEGO can easily get a reputation of a lazy company which lacks creativity, which in turn could return the company back to the 1990s....

    Agreed. With so many other nice things to add to a winter village, it already feels lazy. :/

    Edited by ywickham
    adding words

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    I dont have any of the original sets, and am not buying any of these updated re-issue sets.

    I 100% agree with Ed Macks statement 

    LEGO fans as a whole...and LEGO itself...better be very careful about wanting sets reissued.  For every remake, there is one less new set being created.  LEGO can easily get a reputation of a lazy company which lacks creativity, which in turn could return the company back to the 1990s....

    If re-sellers gobble this up, we will surely see more remakes in the future, which is not a good thing in my opinion.

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    The toy shop is the most shocking of all their recent remakes. 
    Its exactly the same. ok, 97%.

    I for one am not buying any.
    I regret buying the other notable remakes: Sail Barge and the Gunship, even though I picked them up at $45.
    The Gunship looks to be in the same remake category as the Toy Shop. Its looks basically the same.
    If you look at the older Gunship 7676, Very few were sold in the last 6 months.
    I Hope I dont regret the UCS X-wing. 

    As far as stability and build, the new Gunship is a definite improvement over 7676.  Much more swooshable.

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    If re-sellers gobble this up, we will surely see more remakes in the future, which is not a good thing in my opinion.

    If resellers gobble this set up, they would only be adding nails to their coffins...

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    If resellers gobble this set up, they would only be adding nails to their coffins...

    Ed,
    Not only Nails, Also adding Legos into their coffins.

    Edited by Miami Bomb Squad

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