The US distributor for Bandai's Hobby merchandise in Bluefin Distribution has announced that it will begin stocking 400 select Barnes & Noble locations with Gunpla model kits beginning in April. The models making up the initial retail rollout will vary between Gundam Wing, Gundam UC and Gundam Build Fighters kits, as well as ancillary models.
The addition of new sales locations follows a test program in 2013 to determine the sales viability of Gunpla models through the bookstores, and many locations will also feature a prominent showcase for their inventory with assembled models of different types and grades.
As Barnes & Noble continues to struggle with weak book sales in its retail stores, it has turned its attention to increasing its non-book merchandise in order to drive retail sales. The expansion of the Gunpla program also means that the demand is there for Gunpla model sales outside of the typical hobby shop setting, another type of specialty store that has also seen its own share of struggles over the years due to the declining popularity of model building outside of specific niches and the ease of online shopping.
With that said, would any of you go to a Barnes & Noble location to buy Gunpla, or will you stick to online sales or hobby shops, if you're lucky to have one left in your town?
Images: ©BANDAI Hobby Products Department