Hornby is gearing up for what could potentially be the biggest period in its history, as its London 2012 product lines hit the shelves in more and more retail outlets throughout the UK.
With the ‘100 days to go’ milestone now passed, the firm says it is focused on supporting its retailers, making sure they are protected, and working with them as closely as possible – from the multiples right through to the small independents.
“From about the middle of March this year, we’ve seen the orders going out through our business grow exponentially,” Alex Balzaretti, project manager for the London 2012 range at Hornby told ToyNews.
“April is shaping up to be a massive month – in fact a record breaking month for a brand. There is nothing in our business which is anything like this.
“We already have all of our stock and our planned routes to market. With London 2012 we have more distribution than I think we’ve ever had on anything ever, and we’re opening new accounts every day.”
Indeed, Balzaretti confirms that the distribution of its Olympics product ranges from Little Chef through to tourist shops such as The International House of Hanover.
“We have some great product. If you take our range of 40 collectable taxis, which have been liveried up as real life fare paying cabs in London, as an example, we made just under 570,000 of them and we’ve probably got less than 20 per cent of them left. To put that into context, we haven’t sold 570,000 of anything ever.”
The challenge going forward, Balzaretti pointed out is what Hornby does next. “This has definitely given us the ability to show what we can do,” she said. “We’ve launched new categories that we’ve never made before in key rings and figurines and so on. The Scalextric Velodrome was a completely different concept from what we’re used to doing. We didn’t want to do a label slapping exercise, we wanted to produce a range of product that was bought as gifts and collectables and passed down through the generations.”
By the end of May, Hornby hopes to have done about 50 per cent of what it’s potentially capable of doing, according to what the previous statistics show, Balzaretti adds.
“If that happens, and we’re well on our way to doing that, we will definitely get to a number that is as big as Airfix and Corgi combined. I guess success will be determined by what you have left in your warehouse at the end of it. But hopefully there won’t be very much.
“We’ve tried predominantly to keep everything that we’ve made – other than our big sets – under £10. Apparently, the average purchase of any memorabilia at these kind of events is £20, so hopefully £10 of that will go on something of ours.”