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<I>Potter</I> Debut Marks Merch Mania

31 May, 2002 By: Jessica Wolf

In the sellers battle of low, low first-week DVD pricing for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Wal-Mart and Target were neck-and-neck, offering the double-disc set at roughly $16 -- $10 less than Warner's suggested retail price of $26.98.

Visits to a dozen Southern California retailers across channels on street date revealed well placed merchandisers, high quantities of both formats, and plenty of full-frame and widescreen DVD versions. Surprisingly, in the afternoon of the first day of sales, every location was still well stocked.

Most retailers visited opted for big studio merchandisers placed near front doors or at the entrance to video sections. At Toys “R” Us, a VHS merchandiser was placed within arm's reach of Harry Potter toys and games, while the DVD merchandiser sat in the more security-laden game sales area. Toys “R” Us offered an exclusive deal, with a coupon stickered to every video package of the title for $5 instant savings on any Harry Potter EA video game.

Target's Harry Potter shoppers also got a coupon on the packaging -- good for $1 off any Mattel Harry Potter action figure and $3 off the video along with the purchase of any 12-pack Coca-Cola product.

Best Buy was offering a free copy of The Sorcerer's Stone with the purchase of a Toshiba DVD player. Best Buy had two huge Harry Potter merchandisers set up in high-traffic areas and one smaller merchandiser selling copies of the paperback versions of the first three books in the series for $5.99 and $6.99.

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