Hornby Hobbies has turned a profit for the first time in nine years, pulling in a £300,000 pre-tax profit compared to the £3.4 million loss the year prior, highlighting the resurgence of the hobby market over the past year.
The model train specialist has been at the centre of a full-scale ‘hobby renaissance’ over the course of the pandemic, with sales increasing across most of its channels and brands, apart from the concessions forced to close due to lockdowns over the last 12 months.
Chairman John Stansfield, said: “Despite the many challenges to the company caused by Covid-19, the old adage that people turn to hobbies in times of recession proved correct and sales increased across almost all channels.
“The new product development cycle is now established and we have already started work on the development of 2023 product ranges. New product investment continues to increase and we are developing significantly more new releases and ranges.
“We have continued to develop opportunities in existing ranges to incorporate technology such as wireless vehicle control from a smart phone in both Hornby and Scalextric.”
Hornby saw total sales hit £48.5 million in the 12 months to the end of March, marking an increase of 28 per cent on the year prior. The sales increase, according to the business, was helped by its increased online operations.
While the figures tell a very positive story for both the UK toy company and the resurgence of the model and hobby market itself, Hornby bosses have expressed a level of concern over the current shipping issues causing supply chain disruption.
Hornby, which imports many of its products from East Asia, was affected by closures at Chinese ports due to Coronavirus.
“There are still shipping delays from our supply chain with container shortages,” said the company, “Shipping costs from our factories are three times what they were previously.”
Hornby stopped shipments to the EU late last year citing Brexit uncertainty in relation to the paper work and logistics, but has resumed trade in recent weeks.
Lyndon Davies, chief executive of Hornby, said: “There are still delays in certain countries whose procedures are unnecessarily rigid.”
Davies has said that since March sales have continued to grow in line with expectations, but the company remains “alert and flexible to react as necessary” to changes during the pandemic.