Model train maker Hornby steams ahead with festive orders


Hornby steams ahead with festive orders: Model train maker says hobby industry can ride out the economic storm

Model train maker Hornby said the hobby industry can ride out the economic storm as it gears up for a bumper Christmas.

The firm, best known for its train sets, also makes Scalextric cars and Airfix model planes, and said its ‘outstanding order book is very strong’ – even better than last year.

And it said that while it was ‘mindful of the impact the current economic climate may have on demand’, the hobby industry tends to perform well in times of trouble.

Bumper season: Model train maker Hornby said its ‘outstanding order book is very strong’ – even better than last year

Executive chairman Lyndon Davies said shoppers are still spending on model cars and trains as they ‘get comfort off brands they recall from their past’.

He added: ‘When you have a hobby you can turn inward and are not dominated by the problems around you. In times of crisis people turn inward and look for comfort, and what our brands offer is that comfort.’

Hornby is bringing forward the shipping dates of key products to dodge supply chain disruption in the run-up to Christmas.

In a sign of resilience it said sales and profits from April to September were in line with last year. 

Davies said: ‘The most interesting thing people are finding is that we are not saying sales are down.’

Hornby is seeing strong sales of Christmas rail sets as well as Scalextric models of the DeLorean time machine from the Back to the Future films and the Batmobile. It has also released a model of a Spitfire fighter.

A Covid-fuelled boom reversed almost a decade of losses, after poor management decisions left it close to collapse.

Interest in the firm remained strong, with a 2021 documentary Hornby: A Model World looking behind the scenes. Another series about the firm is currently being filmed.

Davies, a toy industry veteran who took over in 2017, has spearheaded a turnaround. 

He pushed to cut costs, improve the supply chain and expand the product ranges offered by brands such as Airfix and Scalextric. Shares rose 1.8 per cent, or 0.5p, to 28.5p.

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