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Fender cancelled $100 million of retail sales in 2022

Fender cancelled $100 million of sales in 2022
Fender had roughly 600,000 guitars and 200,000 amplifiers of retail sales cancelled in 2022

Fender had $100 million worth of retail sales cancelled in 2022. Post-Pandemic the sales of guitars and amps went down rapidly.

Post Pandemic Blues

Fender CFO Matt Janopaul told PYMNTS that the company was left with 600,000 unsold guitars and 200,000 unsold amps as a result of a sharp decline in demand as the world opened back up following the COVID-19 guitar boom. ⁣

Matt Janopaul, CFO at Fender,
Matt Janopaul, CFO at Fender,

Lay Offs

In the second half of 2022, Fender laid off hundreds of employees across the organisation, including a significant number at its Corona, California factory. ⁣

Fender Traditional Stratocaster Reverse Head

“We had 16 million people pick up a guitar during the pandemic, 30 million worldwide. Fender really benefited from that,” Matt Janopaul, CFO at Fender, told PYMNTS as a part of our new executive series, “Tough Calls.”

“Then, of course, we get to 2022 and people decide to start taking vacations or doing other things with their disposable income. Guitars were no longer the priority – and the tough call I had to make was dealing with retail partner cancellations of orders in the magnitude approaching $100 million,” Janopaul explains.

Cancelled Orders

That is roughly 600,000 guitars and 200,000 amplifiers, some coming from Asia, others from two factories in North America, and the rest from third-party original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

The financial implications of this shift in consumer behaviour were substantial, and the consequences of inaction would be severe.

“If [suppliers] had stuff that was about to hit the water, we said, ‘Please hold on to it’ and that we’ll eventually need it and will work through it,” says Janopaul.


NAMM No Show

There had previously been speculation online among players and dealers that Fender was dealing with a significant oversupply. Fender also decided not to appear at NAMM in both 2022 and 2023 due to the high costs involved.

Janopaul appears to remain optimistic, however. “Often what happens is that out of these tough calls, and borne of patience, comes opportunity.

“Fender is 77 years old. We’ve been through recessions, wars, now a pandemic, economic downturns, you name it and the company has continued to thrive.

It’s always going back to the basics: saying what does the brand stand for? What do guitar players or musicians want and delivering on those things.”

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