A big increase in Scalextric sales helped the UK business to increase sales by more than a third in the first half of this year, to £17.3m, while profits jumped 44% to £2.6m. Which just goes to show that if you want to be a great British manufacturing sucess story, don't try and build it all yourself - follow Hornby's example and outsource it to China.
The Hornby brand is best known for its model trains, which tend to be popular with men of a certain age (who usually lead secret lives in their cellars). But these days it has a lot more strings to its bow. In the US its Transformers products have gone down a storm since it hammered out a distribution deal with Toys R’Us, while its recent acquisitions in Europe (particularly Spain and Italy) are also doing a roaring trade.
Hornby chief executive Frank Martin modestly gave a large slice of the credit for its bumper results to Formula One sensation Lewis Hamilton, who he says has ‘literally driven’ a resurgence of interest in motor sport (we’re pretty sure that this is actually a metaphor, but the point still holds).