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Hornby sales soar as lockdown drives hobbies

The group returned to profit for the first time in nine years as people took ‘comfort’ in hobbies enjoyed in the past

Hornby has announced that revenue soared by 28% to £48.5m in the year ended 31 March 2021, up from £38.7m the year before, as lockdown saw that the “old adage that people turn to hobbies in times of recession proved correct”. 

The group returned to profit for the first time in nine years, reporting a profit of £345,000 following a loss of £3.4m the prior year, with sales up across “almost all channels and brands”. 

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Its online sales also increased as “much of the population returned to hobbies they had enjoyed in the past, where they found comfort”. The group also “found new people who discovered what we had to offer”.  

Ahead of Brexit, it made the decision to stop shipments to EU countries in “anticipation of uncertainties” regarding paperwork, interface concerns with logistic partners and a “lack of information” about how each EU country would respond at the point of entry. While shipments have resumed in recent weeks, Hornby said there are still delays in certain countries whose procedures are “unnecessarily rigid”. 

Looking ahead, the group said it remains “alert and flexible” to react as necessary regarding the pandemic. Since the end of March, its sales have been in line with expectations, as the “engine at the heart of the company is firing”. 

It now anticipates a stronger demand for its products, with more online direct sales expected in the future. It added that the demand for its products that was seen during lockdown has continued, despite the easing of restrictions. 

Lyndon Davies, CEO, said: “In a year overshadowed by the global pandemic and the consequences of Brexit, our employees have restored pride and profitability to the company. Frank Hornby would be proud of his legacy.

We are all excited by the prospects for Hornby; we are heading in the right direction and the engine at the heart of the business is now firing on all cylinders. Our world-renowned iconic brands have a fantastic pipeline of new products for the future. The excitement is Hornby!”

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