Black Friday: The Stomp That Was Heard Around The World

It was in Australia where the new 75313 AT-AT made landfall when LEGO certified retailer, confused by AEDT daylight savings, started the advance at 11 pm instead of midnight. The official LEGO shop@home website held off until the charge was ordered at zero hour AEST, allowing New Zealand to join the battle.

Next to enter the fray was China, a country that LEGO saw double-digit growth in 2020 and is one of the company’s best markets, where the single time zone (with Beijing at its heart) saw an immediate advance across the entire theater of war when the new Ultimate Collector Series went on sale at the almost 300 LEGO branded stores, spread across 3,250 miles (5,250 km), at the same time. Lacking an online retail platform, the set’s sales performance was not trackable.

Fans in Europe mustered early at the LEGO branded stores that were due to open at midnight. Even with the required wristbands being handed out on Thursday (November 25th) morning some dedicated collectors were seen getting ready to go over the top at the Leicester Square store, in London, on Wednesday evening!

Having been made to wait an extra hour because the European assault kicked off at midnight in London meant that customers on the Continent had to endure the Winter night longer than their island-bound brothers, so make up for the delay the staff at the Paris Les Halles store in France fired off streamer poppers as the first of the clientele entered.

Photo courtesy of LEGO France (via Instagram)

Those who attended the midnight opening circulated through the stores to buy their 75313 AT-AT before they were handed their bag of goodies, which included a certificate of authenticity – signed by set designer Henrik Andersen – that commemorated the midnight purchase of the set, a bagged make & take Tantive IV mini model, a set of postcards from The Empire Strikes Back, a polybagged 20th anniversary Obi-Wan Kenobi minifigure, 40451 Tatooine Homestead as well as the seasonal (non-Star Wars) gift with purchase sets that are currently available.

Guests at the Berlin store in Germany were treated to a guest appearance by Henrik Andersen, while late-night (or should that be early morning?) shoppers at the Leicester Square store in London drifted in to enjoy the experience of meeting Anthony Daniels, who was signing a specially printed still of C-3PO.

The automatic queueing system kicked in around 11:45 pm EST as customers in America went into a refresh frenzy, causing all front to stop advancing when the LEGO shop@home website ground to a halt. It didn’t take long for normal service to resume, and within two hours the site was running smoothly again.

Within 24 hours of the AT-AT first going on sale in Australia and New Zealand, the set was on backorder Down Under, with new orders not expected to ship until December 8th. At the same time in the United States and Canada, 75313 AT-AT’s status changed to “temporarily out of stock”, with word that there wouldn’t be any Imperial reinforcements until early in 2022.

Even with the order limit increased from 1 to 2 sets, sales in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe continued unabated until late at night on November 29th when the Imperial attack came to a halt and the dreaded back order status appeared, with fresh troops expected to arrive on December 2nd.

Will this reprieve give the Rebels enough time to gather their defenses and execute Plan Kay One Zero and evacuate the rest of the ground troops and the officers who remained behind? Only time will tell!

Complete force depletion of 75313 AT-AT is expected to take at least two years, so don’t feel left out if you didn’t get one on BF-Day. What was your experience of the release of 75313 AT-AT like? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Entertainment Earth

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