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If you’re one of our followers on Facebook you’ve probably noticed we have been covering the return of Games Workshop to Brazil by means of a new distributor. We first broke the news back in January and since then we have been trying to keep our readers up to date with whatever was going on.
Our article published in February dispelled the rumors (and fear) about Sandro Viviani’s possibly being involved in this new attempt (he is the person responsible for “Legends do Brasil” a Brazilian store that sold GW products a while ago and conned a lot of people out of their money by not delivering what they sold) by revealing that the new distribution deal had been closed with a company with no previous relation with GW: Solid Imports.
While the mistery of who the distributor was endured I had to answer many friends and readers saying that I was not the new distributor. It is flattering that you’d think that, but no, I don’t have the kind of money such a venture would require anda m happy to remain a humble scribe here on the blog sharing my articles with you.
I did keep something secret when writing the February article, and that secret was not naming Eric Hutter as of one of the partners involved in the deal secured with GW. I withheld his name at his request then, but now that point is moot as you’ll soon see. Eric’s name might sound familiar to you as he was one of the colaborators in the “A Tale of X Gamers” article series published here over the course of 2014, where he participated with articles about his Imperial Fists army.
I say the point is now moot not only because of the recent publication at another Brazilian blog (“Legionários 40K”) on the release of GW products at Bazar Magic where Eric is formally acknowledged as one of the partners behind Solid Imports, but also because of his presence online making it quite obvious as well, so I believe there was no more reason for secrecy here and this outing might put a lot of minds to ease, since Eric is liked in the community and, being himself a member, he has certainly taken into account the needs of the Brazilian community when building with his partners the business plan of this herculean venture.
“But why did you choose to discuss this now?” Well, I have always felt it was important to be clear about having someone who was part of the community being involved in bringing Games Workshop back to Brazil, more so when I came accross some commments in the aftermath of our original announcement, which brings us to today’s article.
As soon as we broke the news of GW’s impending return to Brazil the local gaming community went ablaze searching for any news morsel they could find, but especially enquiring about the identity of this new distributor and what the prices would be here. With our original article’s publication the only doubts that subsisted where those about the pricing, and even those didn’t last long because Lost Land, a Brazilian retailer, soon published their entire product list online with prices and ready to do business.
The fuzz about the final consumer prices was something to be seen with quite a few people shouting at the top of their lungs typing with all the fury in their hearts venting their outrage at the prices being shown here. I’ll tell you now and get that out of the way: it is an expensive hobby here, pretty close to what our mates in Australia get in terms of prices.
What I’ll say now might provoke the anger of some of my readers, but my goal with this article has never been to please, but to stir some thinking. Having said that, I’ll admit the prices here fell within what I had been expecting. “Wow mate! Are you nuts? It is a LOT cheaper to buy from England!” Yes, it most definitely is a lot cheaper in the UK, or even in the US or Europe for that matter but the problem we must address here is comparing two completely different realities and ignoring the great villain of importing anything into Brazil: Taxes.
Let me go on the record here and say that I don’t have any technical expertise when it comes to accounting or import duties, and that’s the reason why I won’t write here about all the dark alleys and back routes of taxes, fees and import duties that you’ll have to pay when you’re buying from abroad in Brazil. My reasoning here will be based upon my own experience of purchasing abroad ever since I bought my first few Role Playing Game books from Amazon and some pewter figures from Ral Partha back in the day and that line of reasoning, as I tell some friends, is based on how much money is leaving my pocket with any given purchase, and I can tell you that right now there isn’t that big a difference going on.
I’ll base my example here on one of the “Start Collecting” boxes. Those are hobby entry boxes for many different armies and are priced at £50.00 (fifty pounds) at any Games Workshop store in the UK and in their online store. Shipping to Brazil costs another £13,00 (thirteen pounds) which gives us a total cost of £63.00 (sixty three pounds) for the purchase, and that’s the value the taxes and custom duties will be calculated from (yep, they do add the cost of shipping to determine the parcel cost and the taxes).
So when it comes to me importing something, I normally get taxed with custom duties (60% of the parcel value) and ICMS (which is a state tax on any goods coming into it) that adds another 40% of the parcel value to our sum. We’ll also have to add in the “storing fee” created by the Brazilian Postal Services a while ago, and that throws in another R$ 12.00 (twelve reais – around 3 pounds) to our total.
Using our example our costs can be broken down like this: £63.00 (parcel cost) + £37.80 (custom duties/import fee) + £25,20 (ICMS – State tax) giving us a grand total of £126.00 (one hundred and twenty six pounds) that at the exchange rate at the time of writing (R$3.89/£) equals R$ 490.14 (four hundred and ninety reais and 14 cents) to which we’ll add the “storing fee” of R$12.00 giving us a final cost of R$502.14 (five hundred and two reais and fourteen cents) which translates into £129,08 (one hundred and twenty nine pounds and eight pence)
As our example above included the shipping cost I feel we must add that cost to the prices in Brazil as well. The prices practiced here by online retailers are similar. The first of them, Lost Land prices a “Start Collecting” box at R$ 469 (four hundred and sixty-nine reais) with another R$ 43.20 (forty-three reais and twenty cents) of PAC (package) shipping for a total of R$ 512.20 (five hundred and twelve reais and twenty cents) A second retailer, Bazar Magic, prices the “Start Collecting” box at R$ 489 (four hundred and eighty-nine reais) offering PAC shipping at a cost or R$ 22.90 (twenty two reais and ninety cents) for a total of R$ 512.80 (five hundred and twelve reais and eighty cents), finally, FNAC offers the same box for R$ 499 (four hundred and ninety-nine reais) with a R$ 21.44 (twenty one reais and forty four cents) for a total od R$520.44 (five hundred and twenty reais and forty four cents).
As I have said prices are evenly matched between the online retailers searched, and marginally more expensive than purchasing from abroad with the advantage of getting your models delivered faster and the possibility of paying in installments.
I must add that the “Start Collecting” box was being sold at the discounted price of R$ 442.05 (four hundred and forty-two reais and five cents) at Lost Land (that was the price when I started writing this article a couple of weeks ago).
“But that’s absurd! How can a product get to Brazil costing the double of what it costs abroad? I don’t see that happening with other games!” Well, I have answered a hobby colleague showing that’s exactly what happens with other games being brought to Brazil like X-Wing Miniatures being brought by Galápagos Jogos or other board games being translated or imported to our market.
You doubt me? Let’s take the Z-95 spaceship for the X-Wing Miniatuures game. It costs U$ 11.29 at Miniature Market which at today’s exchange rate (R$3.11/U$D) gives us around R$ 35.11, but that same ship costs at Galápagos R$ 69.00 (around U$ 22.18), or, almost the double of what you’d pay abroad.
Another example? Take the board game King of Tokyo, sold at Miniature Market for U$ 26,39 (that translates into R$ 82,07 using the same exchange rate mentioned above) it gets to Brazil priced at R$ 169.90 (U$54.63), more than the double of what it costs abroad.
“But… but there’s the chance your parcel will get through customs without being taxed! I can buy it for cheaper abroad!” Yes, I’ll agree the chance exists, but you’ll be deliberately choosing to rely on luck, something the importer/distributor and the retailer can’t do. I should add here that the “luck factor” has become increasingly rare for me, as Customs and the State treasury increase their oversight on what’s being imported into Brazil
“I believe the prices are still expensive, as both importer and retailer purchase at a discount!” Well, I don’t really have enough knowledge to say much here as I have no access to the trade terms celebrated between Solid and GW. I do know that retailers and distributors get a discount when buying in bulk to resell (around 30% or so I’ve heard). They also have the possibility of diluting their shipping costs using maritime freight and shipping containers, but the fact remains that both, retailer and distributor are entitled to profit, as they’re not bringing the stuff to Brazil out of the goodness in their hearts.
To sum it up I think it is foolish to compare the final price paid by the consumer in England (or anywhere abroad which is not Australia – again we share the pain Aussies!) to the price we’re going to pay buying here. As I said we’re comparing two different things and different economic realities. As a consumer I will remain judging what’s best for me based on how much money I’ll spend when buying from Brazil, and taking everything into account I believe buying here sounds like a good deal, which would only be made sweater if retailers could keep the discounted prices they’ve offered as regular prices (Lost Land has shown there’s a margin to do so).
“Ok, you’ve made yourself clear about pricing, what about the mimimi whining?” Whining and Games Workshop seem to go hand in hand ever since the internet became a thing and it wouldn’t be different in Brazil. Seriously I do believe everyone is entitled to an opinion, of having their say, and being awarded a chance of standing behind what he thinks, if everything being put forth is based on facts. I must admit being surprised by the amount of foreign trade policies, market research, national gaming market and pricing specialists in our community that went online to complain.
When it comes to Solid’s marketing plan, pricing strategy, etc. I can only voice an opinion based on what I heard from my source inside GW mentioned on my previous article on the subject. As I said then he’s the person responsible for the emerging markets department inside Games Workshop, and he has made all the questions to judge if Solid’s approach was viable or not to them as a supplier. If Solid’s responses were considered good enough to convince him, who am I to doubt?
Are you still in doubt? Do you disagree about the strategies being put in place in the Brazilian market? Well, it’s time then to bring arguments to the table if you want to convince anyone. Perhaps if your strategy is sound you could even get a job with Solid, but serious arguments should be backed either by knowledge or information and not wishful thinking. That’s foolish. Again, you have every right to think the prices being practiced here are expensive (even if they’re not really “cheap” abroad to begin with), you can even complain about them, but to pretend you have a master’s degree in business advocating everything being done in Brazil is wrong, is indeed mere whining.
“WOW! You’re such a sold-out fanboy! I’m sure you’re getting paid to praise GW!” I’m glad you brought it up, as I cherish the chance of being completely honest, as usual. Yes, I am indeed a huge fanboy of GW’s hobby, but that should come as no surprise if you’re a regular here on the blog, where I’ll often share my passion for the hobby, for the models, for the universe and everything created by those thinking minds bunking in Nottingham’s HQ’s Design Studio.
However, being a fanboy has never prevented me from seeing things with clear eyes and a critic mind and when I thought so I openly disagreed from trade terms put in place by GW (in the episode we divulged and which later became known as “The Embargo” after our articles) and practices put in place against what I understand to be the greater interest of the community. I never got paid a single dime to write anything here praising anyone. My commitment on this blog has always been, and will remain for the foreseeable future, to my readers that have my word as my bond and the only reward I’ve ever gained is my credibility with you, gained over the course of more than 12 years blogging and 20 years as a member of the wargaming/GW community both in Brazil and abroad.
To wrap this article up, my advice for those lost in the middle of so many “specialist” opinions and wondering whether to take the plunge into the hobby buying locally or importing from abroad is “make up your own mind”, so do research your options, compare prices both locally and abroad taking taxes into consideration and in the end let your pocket be your guide into this fantastic hobby of GW’s wargames.
See you soon. Over and out.