Hornby on right track with improving sales

Model railway firm Hornby is on track to make its first profit in three years.

The company, whose brands include Airfix, Corgi and Scalextric, told investors yesterday that strong sales over the year left it in line to deliver an underlying profit of around £1.5 million, matching market expectations.

It said sales in the last quarter improved significantly, against a particularly weak quarter a year ago. The firm expects annual sales for the group and the UK business to grow by 13 per cent.

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Hornby made a loss of £516,000 in the six months to 30 September amid long-term supply problems, but the deficit was half the level seen a year before.

The firm encountered difficulties in 2012 after its biggest manufacturer shut a factory producing the group’s model railways in a year that also saw it suffer slower-than-expected demand for Olympic-themed products.

But at the time of its half-year results in September the firm said it had made “material progress” with its turnaround after it moved to a purpose-built warehouse near Canterbury and addressed some of the supply chain issues which have blighted the business in recent years.

The group said the move from its historic headquarters in Margate, where it has been based for more than 60 years, to new offices in Sandwich is under way, and is expected to be completed by the end of May.

The next phase of the group’s reorganisation will include the rationalisation of its European warehouses and management structures later this year.

Brokers at Numis said: “Hornby has posted a strong end to the year.”

The toy firm added that its group finance director Nick Stone will leave the business later this year.