Originally Posted by slowfox
I have heard that retailers don't really make that much money on tennis balls. There's really no mark up. Perhaps that's why buying a 24 bulk box isn't cheaper per can than individually.
And btw, if memory serves I think balls were around 2 bucks back in the 80's. Thirty years later still around the same. What's that say..??
You're right about the lack of margin at the retail level. To get shelf space and volume, some of the ball suppliers would 'throw in' hard goods as a way for the dealer to 'make some money' even though they were selling balls at or below their delivered cost. As a sales rep back in the '80s, I'd say my commission on some ball orders was higher than the margins made by the manufacturer OR the retailer.
Felt and rubber prices were all over the place and I'm sure the buyers at the manufacturing level were going nuts trying to keep costs down. When the Dunlop balls were made in Georgia, the felt came from the carpet mills just 'down the road'. Now, everything gets shipped halfway around the world!(Sorry if I'm speaking provincially about life in the States)
Switching to the plastic tubes away from the metal cans was a big reason the costs were held down back in the '80s. I never weighed a case of balls in metal cans, but I can assure you it was considerable(I carried hundreds over the years!)...quite a change going to plastic.
Two to three bucks for a can of balls is a BARGAIN! I guess it evens out when 'we' pay $70 for a polyester shirt or over a hundred for a bicycle jersey !!!
The universe likes balance