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AWFK10

Fenwicks of Newcastle

11 posts in this topic

Anybody who's going to be in Newcastle city centre might like to know that when I called in this afternoon Fenwicks had a 30% markdown on their (very limited selection of) Airfix kits - and I guess on railway stuff as well, as the signs say "Hornby". IIRC, there were only single examples of a lot of items (e.g. 1/48 Defiant, the new B17G) but multiples of the Whitley V, Dakota, Hawk and Kate. The Whitley had already been reduced to £20; the 30% is off their normal retail price, so it should now be £17.50.

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Thanks for the tip. Had someone pop into Fenwicks today who was in town anyway, and pick up a Whitley V for me. There was another discount applied at the till so it went through at £14-ish. Happy days :-)

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The reduced Whitleys were the bomber boxing.

 

Not sure what's left - I got the Firedog Beaufighters last week.

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Popped in today.

 

Plenty of the bomber boxing Whitleys left, plus Kates, Hawks and US Supply sets.  Quite a few C47s with jeep, plus at least three 24th Typhoons in both boxings.

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I gather this is the reason for the sale: http://www.boswells.co.uk/humbrol/b230. I don't know Boswell & Co but like it says, "Hornby who own Humbrol are in the process of withdrawing all their store concessions and we will therefore stop selling Humbrol products in mid January 2017". Which confirms what I heard from another source this afternoon.

 

Shutting down every non-specialist retail outlet for their products doesn't seem to likely help Hornby to increase the number of people who buy them, or even to sustain it, given the age profile of people in the hobby.

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If true it doesn't seem sensible to cut down outlets that cater for the casual modeller. I  have used Fenwicks  a fair bit when working in  in Newcastle and Winsor so that two less places to buy kits.

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3 hours ago, AWFK10 said:

I gather this is the reason for the sale: http://www.boswells.co.uk/humbrol/b230. I don't know Boswell & Co but like it says, "Hornby who own Humbrol are in the process of withdrawing all their store concessions and we will therefore stop selling Humbrol products in mid January 2017". Which confirms what I heard from another source this afternoon.

 

Shutting down every non-specialist retail outlet for their products doesn't seem to likely help Hornby to increase the number of people who buy them, or even to sustain it, given the age profile of people in the hobby.

 

'Indeed - it'd explain why Boswells' model section was being rearranged when I was last in there a week or so ago, with almost no Airfix on display.  It was pretty much the only outlet for Airfix in Oxford. Howes left the city centre years ago (and then stopped doing aircraft kits entirely when their expert emigrated), and this leaves a small shop in the Covered Market which sometimes carries Airfix kits (a small selection) as part of its wider collectors' corner theme.

 

Since Boswells is the favourite shop of small boys and girls in Oxford (the 2nd floor is the major location for toys and games in Oxford, with a section containing Revell, Airfix [well, it did], Hornby and Corgi and similar collectibles), it pretty much means that Airfix has no outlet in Oxford, which must be a bit of a hit to the profile the brand enjoys.  The Hornby accountants, marketeers and sales analysts must have been into this in some detail, you'd imagine, so I wonder what the rationale for the move is? Insufficient profit for the effort expended? Or something else?

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Well, the shelves certainly hadn't been swept bare in Fenwicks, despite the generous discount. On the face of it, most of the same kits I'd seen two weeks ago were still sitting there. Of course, it's possible more boxings are being brought out of the stockroom to replace kits as they sell but in either case it does look as though the shop has been holding a lot of stock that nobody coming through the door wants to buy. Significantly, relatively complex and expensive new moulds appeared to be over-represented. I've heard it suggested (I don't know whether this is correct) that the concession might have been on a 'sale or return' basis: if so, I can see why it wouldn't make commercial sense to have 1/24 Typhoons priced at £120 sitting gathering dust somewhere it's becoming apparent they're not likely to sell. Whether those are the kits that should have been in that outlet in the first place, and whether by closing it down you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater, are other questions.

 

Personally, I bought a JP3 the first time I was in: the full retail price is perfectly reasonable but the subject's on the periphery of my interest and the reduction tipped the balance. Yesterday, I bought what was probably the same Comet IV I noticed 2 weeks ago. I bought another one a few months ago, from a model shop, for £12 and converted it to an RAF Comet C2. The second one will fit into a small theme of 1960s RAF transport aircraft: I paid £10.50 for it. That price bracket, in my opinion, is acceptable for the rather crude 1961 kit in the box. When I first considered buying a second example, the retail price being charged by the shop I saw it in was (as recommended by Airfix) £17 - which is a bad joke for a few pieces of scantily-detailed plastic from a mould that's over half a century old, building into a fairly small model. The kit itself, arguably, is a pretty good choice for a toyshop but at that price, again, it becomes a pretty dubious one to my mind.

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Just to put, what appears to be, the move by Hornby away from the 'franchise' into context, it's more than likely a question of £££.

NO franchise comes for FREE, the company, in this instance Hornby, 'rent' space from the store in question.

It may not suit the host store to have a franchisee 'up sticks', BUT, it'll certainly ease the cash flow at Hornby.

 

Cash flow reduction / saving 1-0-1...............cut your 'fixed' overheads, i.e. wages, rent, heat, light and stock..............SO

 

Wages - all staff, directly employed by Hornby, no longer employed by Hornby - total saving.

Rent - all fees paid to a third party e.g. Fenwick's (other Dept. stores available) - total saving.

Heat and light, paid to department store over and above the rental i.e. cost plus - total saving.

Stock - no stock holding as there is no 'branch' - total saving.

 

Just out of curiosity, would anyone like to take a 'punt' as to which of the above is the single largest 'overhead'**?

 

Just to put things into perspective, a 'franchise' is in NO way a 'safe' way to trade, just expedient,

as the host can just as easily bring the franchise to an end if, for instance, the in-store (Hornby) doesn't perform

or bring in sufficient spin off trade, OR, the host store suddenly wants more room for ......... (fill in product of choice)

 

If the 'market place' was still in similar vein to what it was in the the '60s - '70s - 80s, Hornby, more than likely, would have had a 'deal'

to gladden the heart of any accountant, BUT, how many of us now buy off the internet? 'cos xyz charge TOO much for the

latest kit of / the only kit of the 'Scruggs Wunderplane' and this ....... is wrong and that ....... is wrong?

If we ALL started buying as we used to, guess what, there would be at least one model / craft / hobby / art shop in EVERY town,

there wouldn't be a problem in selling a business (should you NEED to, as there is going to be a queue to take over when retirement is mentioned!) as a 'going concern' as they would be viable and paying their way, there would be less 'nearly' shops on the high street, companies who, now days, wouldn't even think of having a model department would be beating a path to Hornby's door, dare I say, prices WOULD fall, because the unit sales would allow it, remember the original supermarket mantra? "stack it high, sell it cheap" as the accountants wouldn't be in control, because the shareholders would be getting their dividends and ALL would be well in the World...............then again Utopia DOES NOT EXSIST

 

Sorry to 'burst bubbles' BUT we are not a 'core market', just an add-on that may just bring in extra foot fall and money,

that in turn will give the store a better 'bottom line' and THAT ladies and gents is WHY the store (and Hornby) is in business.

 

Paul

 

 

** Stock is the LARGEST single overhead, as it's 'dead money' until sold.

 

Edited by PhoenixII
flow

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I don't think you're bursting anyone's bubble, as that's pretty much what we were saying: if the franchise had been a roaring success, it's unlikely Hornby would have terminated it. If, as it appears, they're pulling out of every such arrangement they've entered into, it indicates that the whole initiative was a miscalculation on their part or that they've made mistakes in implementing it. Sure, it's going to save them money right now but it's also going to lose them an opportunity to engage youngsters who might have gone on to become lifelong consumers of Airfix products (in other words, its future 'core market'), like we did. If they want the brand to endure, they've got to engage somewhere with people who aren't already part of the hobby, because a great many of us are getting on in years. Moreover, from conversations with one model shop owner, the fact that stock of some Airfix lines he and his peers have paid full wholesale price for has then been offloaded to bargain shops and retailed at a price massively undercutting the one they're able to offer has disenchanted some specialist outlets with Hornby as well. (Not to mention being another indicator of poor sales forecasting by Hornby, losing them money through the cost of producing and holding excess stock.)

 

Enthusiasts like us aren't the core market for Fenwicks' toy department, that's absolutely true. I doubt it's going to matter in the least to the store when Hornby clear out; in fact, the apparent slow turnover of stock makes me suspect Fenwicks might well have asked Hornby to leave sooner or later, if they hadn't been pre-empted. Nor am I bothered at the prospect of losing access, during a brief visit to Tyneside every couple of weeks, to a restricted range of Airfix kits that I can easily buy at home in shops that stock a good deal else besides: picking my way through the cosmetics department and up three escalators to eyeball the stock and the Humbrol paints that I've not used for 15 years hasn't usually been that much of a temptation, to be honest. It seems to me that it's only Hornby who are going to lose by this, in the long term. If there is one.

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