Games Workshop Group says it saw record digital sales and engagement in its latest full year – but its physical stores and operations were hit by both Covid and Brexit.
Games Workshop says its digital offering has never been richer as it reaches thousands of people of people a day through its Warhammer community website and through social media. In the last year, 25% of its sales were made via its own website, 20% of sales in store and 55% via trade partners who sell both online and in their own stores.
Over the last year it relapsed more than 10,000 pieces of digital content, hosted online events and streamed live seminars – each with more than a million interactions – at a time when face to face gatherings could not take place. Visits to the Warhammer community website were up by 16% on the previous year, while social media engagement was 25% ahead, its email openings were 18% up, and subscribers are now approaching 600,000. Overall, it had “the best year yet for engagement and online sales we’ve ever had”. It is currently scoping out a website upgrade, with improved navigation and personalised content.
However, Games Workshop stores had to close in repeated Covid-19 lockdowns and it has also experienced delivery delays for its physical products during the year. Its warehouses suffered capacity constraints as manufacturing volumes grew – while deliveries to Europe were affected as a result of Brexit. It expanded its customer service team in order to meet the needs of the customers who were affected, and issued refunds worth £1.2m to European customers. In summer 2020, it partly opened a new East Midlands Gateway warehouse, reducing its reliance on third party warehousing – although it says that its interim warehouse management solution is “far from optimal”.
Games Workshop today reported revenue of £353.2m in the year to May 30. That’s 31% up on the previous year. Pre-tax profits of £150.9m were up by 69%.
Kevin Rountree, chief executive of Games Workshop, says: “After a tough year we are delighted that the Warhammer hobby and Games Workshop are in great shape; thanks to everyone involved and thanks to everyone that continues to keep us safe and well.”
The fantasy gaming business designs, makes and sells its own Warhammer fantasy miniatures and related products in Nottingham, which it sells online, through trade partners and through its own shops – 523 at year end – and distributes from its Nottingham warehouses, as well as via hubs in the US and Australia.
Its miniatures are supported by stories from the Warhammer universe, released as novels, audio books, short stories and audio dramas both in bookshops, its own stores and online. Long-term it aims to keep growing its online, retail and trade businesses in harmony, as it takes its business into new markets.
Games Workshop says its exports to the EU have been affected by Brexit. It says: “The movement of goods from the UK to the EU across all sales channels has faced significant disruption. We again acknowledge that unfortunately delivery service to our Continental European customers was well below expectations during the opening months of 2021.” As a result of the disruption it has issued refunds totally £1.2m over the period. Now it says it has a reliable cross border service up and running and it is strengthening its logistics team by adding resources within its markets in order to support international growth.
It adds: “The recruitment and retention of EU nationals working in the UK has, as you would expect, not been plain sailing this year either. Our EU trade team is based in Nottingham and during the year we never really had a full team. The team we did have though are an engaging, international bunch who tackled the year with their usual lively style.”
Games Workshop is a Top500 retailer in RXUK Top500 research.