Working on the edge of rumour and fact as Bleeding Cool often is, we often get flashes of what is actually going on. Like a strobe lamp, we see everything in one fixed moment and are left trying to work out what happened in the dark between then and the subsequent illumination. Sometimes we won't actually know what was going on until it's over and we get to look back and join up all the dots. But that doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't try. Such as with the news that Bleeding Cool received earlier today that Diamond Comic Distributors has just furloughed the majority of their purchasing department.
Regular readers of late will know that Geppi Family Enterprises closed Diamond's doors to new products as a result of the current global situation. They also had to make some staff redundant, but the distributor kept their backorder operations going. We also were recently given the nod that Diamond was expecting to resume new comics distribution in some fashion in Mid-May, possibly direct to comic retailers' homes, though some publishers were being asked not to run new solicitations until August. Diamond had also told publishers that they wouldn't be paying their bills, although they have since announced a payment plan.
Bleeding Cool reached out to senior Diamond Comic Distributors representatives earlier today for comment and in a statement titled "Geppi Family Enterprises Announces Further Steps to Address Coronavirus Impact", we were told the following.
"As you know, COVID-19 is having a dramatic impact on businesses around the globe and unfortunately, Diamond is no exception. As a result, we have made the difficult decision to furlough some employees. This was not a decision we made lightly, and we only do so to protect our company's financial future and preserve jobs. We have taken several steps already to mitigate our financial exposure including delaying payment to publishers, extending vendor payment terms and significantly reducing executive compensation. It is our goal that, on the other side of this crisis, our furloughed employees will return to their roles."
"The furlough period begins today, April 13, and all impacted workers currently enrolled in one of the group's health, vision and/or dental insurance plans will maintain coverage. During the furlough period, we will pay 100% of the cost of the premium, both employer and employee contributions. While the furlough is in effect, a number of individuals will continue working in business-critical roles and in preparation for when we are able to resume distribution of new product. For our retailer partners, reorders of in-stock Diamond products can still be ordered for direct shipments via Diamond's Retailer Services Website. Please continue to consult our Coronavirus Updates page for an ongoing list of resources available to retailers during this crisis. Additionally, retailerservices.diamondcomics.com/coronavirus is a single source for other Coronavirus-related information from Diamond and our publishers. As a company and an industry we will navigate what lies ahead and we are committed to emerging and thriving on the other side of this crisis. We look forward to the day when we are able to be together again and resume the weekly distribution of new product."
Bleeding Cool will continue to cover the impact that this situation is having on the comic book industry at this link.