Wednesday, 10 February 2016
"Hornby and the model railway media"
Unless you've been sat under a rock today, you'll know that Hornby have announced a profits warning. Read on this here.
It makes for sobering reading, amidst the back drop of what I believed to an entirely positive 2015 for the company, particularly in terms of the models it was producing.
The magnificent Peppercorn K1, the J15, the Goods Arthur, the Great Western King, the Gresley J50, announcing the new Merchant Navy, a plethora of wonderful carriages and wagons alike: this was not the design of a company on the way down but one very much on the way up.
I've been privileged to share my knowledge over the course of the last few months with a couple of individuals and they've been good enough to allow me into their confidence. I say this not to show off, as others might, but because I feel it is important to give both sides of the story: and that is I feel Hornby are going in a very positive direction in their Research & Development, and I am anxious that this isn't scuppered or spoiled for a ha'porth of tar, so to speak.
I don't feel it is giving anything away to say that Hornby have surprised us all, and will continue to surprise us, with their planned new products into the future. I have been very impressed by the openness of Hornby in many ways, and I feel their approach to their Research & Development is spot on. They have the hobby, the modeller and the beginner's best interests very much at heart, in my view, and I don't say that lightly. It is not something I believe is true of all other manufacturers.
It is clear, on the flip side, that their sales and in particular with their retailers, have been a most commanding influence in the profits warning issued today. I have said previously that I feel Hornby need to have a round the table discussion with their retailers to improve the situation all round: here is my offer to act as an impartial adjudicator for all, representing no sides but helping everyone be heard and look for a solution to the problems which my local retailers and Hornby are finding increasingly difficult to cope with.
I make that offer in the spirit of wanting to help: and after all, I am a financial adjudicator in my day job. It is something I am particularly good at: researching, and then analysing both sides of a particular story and then offering a practical solution designed to help both sides move forward.
So there you have it. Yes, it is disappointing news today, but let this be where the line is drawn, and we go no further. Constructive rather than destructive going forward. Being critical and able to analyse is fine, but Hornby could rightly be described as the backbone of the hobby and certainly it is the entry point for many of the younger generation. Let's not lose sight of that.