Toy maker Hornby warns on profit as Olympics sales disappoint

Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:53am EDT

(Reuters) - British toy maker Hornby Plc (HRN.L) warned results for the year would fall short of its expectations as depressed consumer spending and disappointing sales of 2012 London Olympics merchandise prompted retailers to buy cautiously.

The company, known for its model railways, also said a disruption in shipments from a major Chinese supplier would also hurt its results.

Hornby said it now expects approximately break-even results for the year ending March 31, 2013.

The company was anticipating a boost from the Olympics but lower-than-expected sales of Games merchandise forced retailers to discount heavily, the company said.

"The consequence of this for Hornby was that retailers lost confidence in many categories of London 2012 merchandise, and repeat orders for our products were cancelled," the company said.

With the country in recession and Britons' disposable incomes squeezed by government belt-tightening and muted wage growth several retailers have found the going tough.

Shares in the company, whose founder invented Meccano construction toys early last century, were down 38 percent at 56.4 pence at 0736 GMT on the London Stock Exchange.

The stock, which lost more than a third of its value so far this year as of Monday's close, was the biggest percentage loser on the exchange on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

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