Wii Sales Strong, Supplies Short
Nintendo holiday sales of the Wii game console are off to a "fantastic start" according to a top executive with the company.
Nintendo sold 350,000 Wiis in the U.S. last week compared with 300,000 the week before. In an eight-day period in late November 2006 when the console was launched it sold 600,000 units in the U.S., Canada and Latin America.
The Wii is on pace to sell 17.5 million units in the fiscal year ending March 31. Last fall Nintendo executives estimated they would sell 14.5 million Wiis. The company was manufacturing about 1.2 million Wiis per month at that time.
The company has increased production to around 1.8 million units per month, but its manufacturers are not able to increase production again, according to Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime, who spent Friday and Saturday checking Wii supplies at several major retailers.
"I couldn’t find a single Wii system on the shelves – literally as I was walking into a Wal-Mart at 11 a.m., someone was walking out with the last one," Fils-Aime told the AP. "Consumers are buying every game we can put into the system."
Fils-Aime projected a new sales record the week before Christmas. Around 40 percent of Wii sales have been in North America and Latin America. Thirty-five percent were in Asia, mainly Japan, and the remainder were in Europe and the Middle East.
He said Nintendo is not purposely creating a shortage of the console. "A shortage benefits no one," he said. "We’re disappointed. This was all about how we didn’t accurately estimate demand. We need to be more bullish about the potential for the Wii."