Games Workshop CEO Mark Wells has posted a public response to criticisms regarding their changes to European trade conditions.
From their website:
Thanks for contacting Games Workshop about the change in our trading terms for European accounts. I know this has frustrated you and for that I am truly sorry. As a long standing customer, you deserve to know why we made this decision.
As you know, we introduce people to the Games Workshop hobby of collecting, painting and gaming with Citadel miniatures through our Hobby Centres and local independent trade accounts. Games Workshop Hobby Centres run introductory games and painting sessions, beginner lessons, hobby activities and events. We provide all these services free of charge. We only recover this investment if customers then buy products from us.
Where we don’t have a Games Workshop Hobby Centre, we support local independent trade accounts. These businesses provide a convenient place for customers to buy our products close to where they live. We support these businesses with local customer service teams and warehouses to ensure customers have immediate access to our best selling products and new releases. Many customers discover the hobby this way.
In addition we invest millions of pounds every year in our design studio and factory to ensure that each month we release more new products. This makes the Games Workshop Hobby more exciting for existing customers, helping them stay in the hobby longer. We can only afford to do this because of the volume of customers we have recruited and developed through our local Hobby Centres and trade accounts.
It is for this reason that we have changed our European Trade terms. Over recent years, a number of currencies have moved a long way from their historical relative values, and this has opened the door for some traders to try to take advantage of these currency movements and offer deep discounts to overseas hobbyists. This has been the case with European internet traders selling to some of our customers overseas.
While this may seem great in the short term, the simple fact is that European internet traders will not invest any money in growing the hobby in your country. Their model is to minimise their costs and free-ride on the investment of Games Workshop and local independent shops in creating a customer base.
The inevitable consequence if this was allowed to continue is that Games Workshop would not be able to operate Hobby Centres, nor to support local trade accounts. And if this happened in more territories outside Europe, the loss of volume would leave Games Workshop no choice but to scale back our investment in new product development, further eroding our customer base. Not something that we or our customers would want us to do.
That is why we took the decision to take legitimate action to restrict European trade accounts from selling the goods they purchase from Games Workshop outside Europe.
While I understand that you may still be unhappy with our decision, it was taken to ensure we can continue to support the Games Workshop hobby communities around the world through our Games Workshop Hobby Centres and local trade accounts. And to ensure we continue to invest in developing the best possible new product releases every month. I hope therefore that over time you will see the benefits of this decision for you and your hobby.
18 May 2011