Hornby Hobbies has put a temporary freeze on all orders to customers outside of the UK, citing delays caused by the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and disruption at UK ports.
The company released a social media statement earlier this week in which it said it would not accept any non-UK orders until January 4th, after the transition period ends and EU-UK trade switches to a new relationship under rules that are still be agreed.
Should current EU-UK talks end with no deal in place, toys that Hornby exports from the UK to the EU could face tariffs of up to 4.7 per cent of their cost. Meanwhile, if tariffs are imposed while goods from the UK are delayed in transit – caught up in the current melee at UK and global ports due to the Covid chaos – the EU customer could be made to pay the duty themselves.
Hornby’s chief executive, Lyndon Davies has said the business is keen to avoid such complications.
Speaking to The Guardian, he said: “I’ve seen the Gulf war, Falklands war, three-day week, crashes on the stock market – after all these things there are issues. All we’re asking is, tell us what is going on. We’re forced into a position of saying, what is the point of going through the pain of all these orders?
“What the world of business has to do is sort out the mess and the carnage of what’s left.”
On the subject of current delays at port here in the UK, the EU, and the global network, he added that Hornby had taken delivery of one shipment of Batman vs Joker Scalextric sets which had been “going up and down the strait of Dover for three weeks.”
Hornby head office tweeted the decision to pause orders on Tuesday. It said it was pausing all non-UK orders until 4 January 2021, adding: “We hope you can understand the difficult position we are in & remain patient with us until we can find a solution.”
Davies said the company should be able to cope in the longer term, in part because of its surprise lockdown sales boom.
Hornby enjoyed a 33 per cent jump in sales in the six months to September as families stuck at home bought more toys.