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Model train maker Hornby steams ahead with festive orders

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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 because 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 could be very strong’ – even higher than last yr.

And it said that while it was ‘mindful of the impact the present economic climate can 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 could be very strong’ – even higher than last yr

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 got a hobby you may turn inward and usually are not dominated by the issues around you. In times of crisis people turn inward and search 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 within the run-up to Christmas.

In an indication of resilience it said sales and profits from April to September were in keeping with last yr. 

Davies said: ‘Probably the most interesting thing persons are finding is that we usually are not saying sales are down.’

Hornby is seeing strong sales of Christmas rail sets in addition to Scalextric models of the DeLorean time machine from the Back to the Future movies 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 near collapse.

Interest within the firm remained strong, with a 2021 documentary Hornby: A Model World looking behind the scenes. One other series concerning the firm is currently being filmed.

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

He pushed to chop costs, improve the availability chain and expand the product ranges offered by brands equivalent to Airfix and Scalextric. Shares rose 1.8 per cent, or 0.5p, to twenty-eight.5p.

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