Announcing an annual loss of £4.5m, Hornby said it would transfer its warehouse to an industrial estate at Hersden, 11 miles from Margate. The warehouse’s 25 permanent staff will join an outsourced logistics provider with no loss of jobs.
Hornby is understood to be considering moving the rest of its operations and 150 employees from Margate, including sales and administration and the company’s visitor centre.
Richard Ames, Hornby’s new chief executive, said: “The facility in Margate that has housed the company’s UK stock since manufacturing started to move to China in the late 1990s, has been an area of concern for some time. This has concluded with a decision to move to a new, third-party warehouse, run by an independent logistics specialist, DS Logistics. This is a key decision for the company, and one not taken lightly, given the history and tradition of the current site.”
Ames, who joined two months ago, said trading in the current year had brought no nasty surprises and that he was confident the company could be turned around. Hornby’s shares rose 2.6% to 78.5p.
Ames said the supply problems had damaged Hornby’s relationships with specialist retailers and customers. He has launched a communication drive to reconnect with enthusiasts through the company’s website, social media and trade magazines.
“This is an extremely important issue, as these are the true fans of the brands. It is key that we do not take these fans for granted. New colleagues, now working in the social media team, are focused on providing daily updates and interactions with fans and sharing the information that drives the passion for collecting, modelling and driving our products.”
The website has been revamped and now features a blog by Simon Kohler, a company veteran of 35 years who was Hornby’s railway guru until he retired this year.