SBD/September 26, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

British Toymaker Hornby's Weak Olympic Sales Due To Short Demand For Wenlock and Mandeville

Sales of Wenlock and Mandeville toys disappointed major U.K. retailers
British toymaker Hornby “suffered dire sales in their London 2012 merchandise this summer,” sending the company’s shares "tumbling by more than a third,” according to James Thompson of the London INDEPENDENT. A key problem is “understood to have been a distinct lack of demand at big retail chains" for Hornby's figurines of official London Games mascots Wenlock and Mandeville. A source said that “big retailers, such as Tesco and Argos, got cold feet after sales of the mascot toys disappointed, which led to them cancelling orders en masse from licensee Hornby early in the summer.” The lower than expected sales of merchandise “hit Hornby's profits" by $4.9M (all figures U.S.). Hornby before the Olympics explained that it “had initially enjoyed ‘strong’ orders from retailers and ‘encouraging’ consumer purchases.” But the problem was that retailers "had also purchased huge quantities of London 2012 merchandise from other licencees and [when] faced with a glut of unsold stock they ‘resorted to deep discounting.’” The company said that it “now only expects to ‘break even’ this year,” following a profit of $7.3M in ‘11-12 (London INDEPENDENT, 9/26).
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