R&R Case Essay

6269 Words Apr 27th, 2014 26 Pages
Harvard Business School

Rev. November 15, 1987

During the summer of 1983, Bob Reiss observed with interest the success in the Canadian market of a new board game called “Trivial Pursuit.” His years of experience selling games in the U.S. had taught him a rough rule of thumb: the sales of a game in the U.S. tended to be approximately ten times those of sales in Canada. Since “Trivial Pursuit” had sold 100,000 copies north of the border, Reiss thought that trivia games might soon boom in the U.S., and that this might represent a profitable opportunity for him.

Reiss’ Background
After his graduation from Harvard Business School in 1956, Reiss began working for a company that made stationery products. His main
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A few large manufacturers were also becoming dominant in the industry, because they could afford the expensive TV promotional campaigns that retailers demanded of the products they purchased. Billing terms to retailers were extremely generous compared to other industries, thus increasing the need for financial strength. Financing terms ran from a low of 90 days to 9 to 12 months. In general, major retailers were reluctant to buy from new vendors with narrow product lines unless they felt that the volume potential was enormous. On the other hand, the large manufacturers tended to require a long lead time for introducing new products, typically on the order of 18 to 24 months. The industry was also highly seasonal. Most final sales to the public were made in the four weeks prior to Christmas. Retailers decided what to carry for the Christmas season during the preceding January through March. There was a growing tendency among them, however, not to accept delivery until the goods were needed, in effect using the manufacturer as their warehouse.

The Trivia Game Opportunity
“Trivial Pursuit” was developed in Canada, and introduced there in 1980. Its 1983 sales were exceptionally strong, especially for a product that had been promoted primarily via word of mouth. The game was introduced in the U.S. at the Toy Fair in February, 1983 by Selchow & Righter, makers of “Scrabble,” under license from Horn & Abbot in Canada. Earlier, the game had been

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