it's way slower over here in the UK, though the shelves aren't exactly empty they are filled with old dolls, TRU just got the first of the new MH only two so far, and Asda (UK's Wal-Mart) have had the same old stock since January, though last time I was in there they were getting ready to restock their shelves, other super market and retailers are pretty much the same, EAH hardly ever gets updated over here a lot of stores don't stock them and there are a lot of dolls we don't get or they harder to find, we used to always get the new characters but now that's changed too, Barbie usually gets updated pretty fast.
Right now with Walmart they're doing inventory. That means they don't open anything they don't have to (cause it's easier to count). They should be doing a reset or partial reset after.
My other stores have steadily been putting out new pieces a few at a time, just getting the new stuff slower :(
Perhaps the retailers have a 'do not sell until' date on their stuff set by mattel. I dont know of the punishment (if at all) for breaking those, but then it completely depends on the individual retailers if they have the balls to break it or not.