Funko Star Wars

The growing list of pop culture event cancelations due to the spread of COVID-19 just scored a big hit against one of the most iconic players on the convention scene: Funko.

The Washington-based maker of Pop! Vinyl figures and Loungefly accessories has made the difficult decision to furlough “a significant portion” of its employees beginning April 5. The company is also implementing salary reductions across its executive team and upper-level management while working to execute reductions in operating expenses and non-product development capital expenditures. Some of the additional moves the company is making relate to proactively managing working capital and reducing incoming inventory to align with revised sales forecasts.

Store closures + canceled events = a ton of unsold merch.

“During this uncertain and unprecedented time, it is essential we take actions to best position Funko for our employees, partners, and shareholders,” says Funko CEO Brian Mariotti. “We are making difficult decisions that we believe will put us in a position of strength to navigate this crisis and support the long-term health of our company.”

Traditionally, Funko does a lot of its business by engaging with fans directly at events such as Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC), Star Wars Celebration, and New York Comic Con (NYCC). For Funko, the hit was immediate due to the postponement of last month’s Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC). The company was set to debut a host of exclusive merchandise at the event, some of which was sold online during a virtual con. As of this writing, no one knows for sure if events such as SDCC will even take place this year.

Furloughed Funko employees will maintain their health benefits, and subject to local regulations, be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Our fingers are crossed that this COVID-19 situation gets nipped sooner than later so that life can return to some form of normalcy.

Photo: Funko