The company that makes funko pop! collectibles is in so much trouble that it’s preparing to throw hundreds of thousands of its pop culture-inspired figurines in the trash. Funko revealed the plans in a recent earnings call filled with so much bad news that the stock price fell off a cliff the very next day.
“Year-end inventory was $246.4 million, up 48% from a year ago,” the company wrote in a statement. press release on Wednesday, (through ICv2). “This includes inventory that the company plans to eliminate in the first half of 2023 to reduce fulfillment costs by managing inventory levels to align with the operating capacity of our distribution center. This is expected to result in a write-down in the first half of 2023 of approximately $30 to $36 million.”
Translation: Funko’s warehouses are full of five-inch chibi replicas of Machine Gun Kelly, Spider-Man, Pikachu, and every other vaguely famous cultural icon, and throwing them away will be cheaper than trying to sell them. During a conversation with investorssaid CEO Brian Mariotti that a new distribution center in Arizona was so full that the company has been bleeding money by renting shipping containers to store all of the excess inventory.
Mariotti only arrived last year amid a management shake-up after increasingly bad earnings news. The stock price plummeted last November when Funko lowered its financial outlook for the year, and fell another 25 percent this week when the company announced it would also lay off 10 percent of its employees.
Part of what seems to be going on here is that supply chain shortages combined with additional income and time at home during the early pandemic years led to a temporary run on Funko Pop! sale. Now that the initial rush has eased, the company has a ton of extra inventory as sales fall. It’s also hard not to wonder if the whole bobblehead redux has reached peak saturation.
We are now in the third season of The Mandalorian. How many little pea-green Grogus do people still need? funko pop! collectibles have long been supported by a secondary speculator market trying to stay ahead of what release will be rare and valuable in the future. A pair of Willy Wonka Pops recently went for $100,000.
In the long run, 99 percent of Funko’s are worthless, aside from the depraved joy fans get from occasionally making eye contact with those on their shelves. And now there seem to be a ton more on their way to one landfill somewhere in Arizona. May our future ancestors, or the aliens who excavate our civilization sometime in the distant future, forgive us.