Games Workshop has grown its audience, sales and profits online and across sales channels despite Covid-19 restrictions restricting its stores in the first half of its financial year.
Games Workshop today announced sales of £186.8m in the six months to November 29
, up by 26% from £148.4m a year earlier. Online sales grew by 87% to £46m from £24.5m last year, while sales through its 529 stores – hampered by Covid-19 closures in the UK and around the world – fell to £36.3m from £45.8m last time. Wholesale to third-party customers selling both online and in-store remained the largest part of its business, growing by 33% to £104.9m from £78.1m a year earlier. Manufacturing output expanded by 30% at the same time.
Pre-tax profits of £91.6m were more than a third ahead of last year’s £58.6m. The retail brand did not furlough staff during the period and will pay its business rates for the year.
Games Workshop, ranked Top350 in RXUK Top500 research, makes its products in Nottingham, where its head office is based, and distributes them via warehouses in that city, in Memphis and Tennessee in the US, and in Sydney, Australia. The retailer is already using robotics in Memphis, and says they will be up and running in the UK during the summer. It has also brought its UK logistics operation back in-house. Over the year it spend £3.6m on design and manufacturing facilities, and £1.4m on logistics facilities and IT systems. It has spent £6.5m on its European ERP system, including £0.4m during the half-year.
Games Workshop chief executive Kevin Rountree says: “Another cracking performance from a truly amazing, global team; a solid six months building on the great progress and profitable growth we have been consistently delivering over the last five years.
“Finally, I’d like to thank our enthusiastic and loyal fan base who share our love for the Warhammer Hobby ad the fantastical settings, characters and narratives that make up our IP. Their ongoing support and feedback have been invaluable, keeping us honest when we have fallen short and driving us onwards to continue to deliver more and better.”
Expanding the Warhammer experience
Its release of its latest Warhammer 40,000 version has been its most successful to date. It is now certifying core products for the Chinese markets and is expanding its translation team in order to make the Warhammer experience available to more customers in markets including China.
During the half-year it opened two new shops, about 200 trade accounts and saw its digital following expand the Warhammer Community website, which now has 4.7m users, up from 4.5m a year earlier. It is also moving customers to its My Warhammer platform, used now to make it easier for customers to access its digital services and in the future to deliver related content to customers.
“Part of the joy of the Warhammer Hobby is that it brings like-minded people together and provides a sense of shared experience,” Games Workshop said in today’s half-year statement. “With most of the world locked down, we wanted to further support our customers online and launched a series of online preview events. These live-streamed shows revealed new products, provided fun commentary and the chance for our fans to hear from some of our key creatives. The most popular of the online preview shows got over 500,000 views, with the accompanying articles read between 500,000 and 1 million times.”
Games Workshop continues to work on a TV series based on its Eisenhorn series of novels, although this has been delayed by Covid-19.
Games Workshop says the effect of Brexit is most likely to be felt as it moves goods from the UK to the EU across all its channels, and through its employment of EU workers in the UK. It says a dedicated project group has assessed each area, evaluated likely impacts and put mitigation plans in place.