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Games Workshop valued at £3.8bn as hobby demand fuels its latest sales surge

Games Workshop, the British firm behind the wildly popular Warhammer tabletop miniatures gaming franchise, has reported blockbuster sales and profits driven by the stay at home messaging of the last year and the surge in the hobbyist and gaming markets.

The company’s chief executive, Kevin Rountree has billed its 2020 results as “another cracking performance from a truly amazing global team”, as it rang in sales of £186.8 million and a profit of £91.6 million for the six months to November 29th, 2020.

The results outstripped the estimated figures, equating to around a 25 per cent surge in sales and a leap of 53 per cent in profits year on year. Games Workshop is now valued at £3.8 billion on the stock market – £1 billion more than Marks & Spencer.

The group managed to turn around the initial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic that saw Games Workshop stores closed during the UK’s first lockdown period last year. Most of the group’s 529 shops around the world have been closed, causing some initial concern over how it will reach its active customer base over the course of the year.

A surge in demand for the hobby market, and a particular rise in board gaming and the gaming sector, as well as the lean into online shopping saw Games Workshop’s online sales grow by 87 per cent. To meet customers in the digital space, the group also hosted a series of live-streamed online preview events to showcase new products and its own team of creatives.

Covid-19 has delayed production on some of Games Workshop new releases, such as titles like Death Guard Codex and pieces for the Age of Sigmar franchise, however the firm has promised fans that these will go on sale fortnightly from next week.

Chief executive Rountree has commended the global team for the success of the Games Workshop brand over what has been a challenging year for the retail sector overall, and has said that the company will continue to “focus on what is in our control” as it builds upon the success over the coming months.

“Like every other company we have our internal plans as to our future performance, which show a range of outcomes which are not shared with the stock market; predicting the future is always a risky business,” he said.

“We will focus on what is in our control; delivering on our operational plan rather than worrying about, for example, any short term share price or the weather.

“Our biggest risk is senior management becoming complacent, I will continue to do my best to ensure that does not happen.”

Looking to the months ahead, Rountree gave little away: “Like every other company we have our internal plans as to our future performance, which show a range of outcomes which are not shared with the stock market; predicting the future is always a risky business.”

“We will focus on what is in our control; delivering on our operational plan rather than worrying about, for example, any short term share price volatility or the weather.”

Perhaps referring to the garlands it receives in the retail and games industry for its stellar success around the world, he added: “Our biggest risk is senior management becoming complacent. I will continue to do my best to ensure that does not happen.”

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