Sales soar for Games Workshop despite lockdown

It turns out a lot of us have been geeking out during the lockdown. Sales of the fantasy role-playing game Warhammer surged in the six months to November as people continued to spend more on their hobbies in lockdown.

Games Workshop (GW), which makes the tabletop miniature game, saw sales hit a record £186.8 million in the period, up 26%. This was despite most of the Nottingham firm’s 529 shops being restricted or closed due to COVID-19 rules.

It follows strong performances from other games and hobby firms in lockdown such as model train maker Hornby.

Warhammer was created in 1983 and is a fantasy themed tabletop game in which players simulate battles between armies using plastic miniatures. Games Workshop, which sells Warhammer and other miniature wargames around the world, said its online sales were up 90% in May to November while profits increased by a third.

Some 4.7 million people now use the Warhammer community website, it said, which is an increase of 200,000 on the same period last year. The CEO of GW, Kevin Rountree, has stated that the business continued to build on the great progress and profitable growth we have been consistently delivering over the last five years.

The FTSE-listed firm has claimed no financial support or subsidies from the government during the pandemic, despite the prolonged closures of its shops.

In October, Geek Retreat, which specialises in comics, memorabilia and tabletop games, stated that it would open another 100 stores in the UK after sales surged in the pandemic. This also includes Hornby, which makes various other toys and games, reported a 33% rise in revenue for the six months to the end of September partly driven by lockdown.

At the time the boss, Lyndon Davies, told the BBC that customers had been seeking comfort from uncertainty in products ‘they know and love’, as well seeking a way to escape from the boredom and tedium.

It seems that many more of us Brits have taken to the tabletop in the absence of heading outside to socialise and such change in habits has led to a lot of additional profit for at least one company in particular.