Shock closure of Hattons model railways and what it says about the industry
The news none of us expected... Hattons Model Railways is to close for good.
The frankly staggering news was announced on Monday 8th January with the business having struggled with supply chain issues amongst many other things.
As one of the behemoth businesses in the UK model railway scene... what does it say about the industry today and where it is headed?
- An opportunity for some?
The closure in my mind doesn't necessarily say that the industry is in any trouble per se, but it is likely that businesses that take gambles on growth and diversification run the risk of that gamble backfiring. I don't pretend to know the ins and outs of the Hattons situation, but clearly a business heavily invested in product manufacture will suffer more as an effect of supply chain challenges. Meanwhile, it's a big gap in the market for other traders to fill.
- Are we turning more to smaller retailers?
It is just possible that more of us are enjoying the model shop experience again, maybe as a result of missing it during lockdowns. Hattons of course, had a store in Liverpool... but most of their trade will have been online. But how many shoppers have been visiting their local shops and exhibitions instead of buying locos online?
- What does it do to prices?
Well for the loco and rolling stock buyers less competition may not be a good thing for prices... only time will tell. Less price matching, manufacturers seeing a dent in their sales... neither of these things tend to lead to lower prices for consumers.
So how about little old RAILstuff? Well we have never really competed with the likes of Hattons due to our speciality outlook, but 2024 looks good for us as a business. Heading towards 3 years of trading the sales trend remains positive, albeit with a slightly slower growth trajectory than hoped. 2024 will see us focus on some new products online, bundling of items for greater value, working on efficiencies of shipping and attending more large scale shows up and down the country.
I will finish on this note...
However we feel about today's news, people will be losing their jobs, and that is always a tragedy. Everyone at RAILstuff wishes the employees of Hattons all the best for their future.