Difficult Economy and Dropping Collector Demand
They are ceasing operations in the face of the difficult economy and a continuing drop, worldwide, in demand for high-end collectible dolls. According to a recorded message at the New York facility in Baldwinsville, New York, the decision to shut down was based upon "ongoing consumer caution both in Europe and in the United States, as well as the doll market's falling product turnover for the last three years." The recording also said that the remaining dolls will be sold through a special sales program with Gotz current retailers.
Final Date For Closure: March 31, 2004
Götz Puppenfabrik plans to close no later March 31, 2004. Both the Götz dollmaking factory in Rödental in Bavaria, Germany and the United States subsidiary in in Baldwinsville, New York will close down. The New York facility includes manufacturing and distribution centers, plus a Götz Doll Shop and Visitor Center.
Aging Collector Base
According to Playthings magazine, "the desire for collector dolls never more than 10 to 15 percent of total doll sales in the United States even in a good year appears to have faded in the face of economic uncertainty and a female fan base that grows older daily." In most line of dolls, with the possible exception of fashion dolls including Barbie, Tyler, Brenda, Gene and others, collectible doll companies have been struggling with the fact that the average age of their collectors continues to advance upward.
Other Companies Fight Back
Early this summer, the Lee Middleton Doll Company changed its pricing structure to lure back collectors and fight the down economy. Then, just last month, Zapf Creations announced that it would no longer make its high-end collectible dolls and would only make their play line dolls. Gotz tried to fight the market and industry problems with a line of play dolls, which were well-received but could not save the company.
Hopefully, other collectible doll companies will find successful strategies to keep them healthy and making dolls well into the Twenty-first century.
For More Information on Götz Dolls
For the full history of Götz dolls, founded in 1950 by Franz and Marianne Götz in Rödental, Germany, read Gotz Dolls: What You Need To Know.