19 December 2019
Hornby's pop-up shop departs London St Pancras station on Christmas Eve. BRM visited to see how this retail outlet has been working.
Where beer was stored after its journey from Burton-on-Trent, you'll now find a parade of high-end shops catering for the needs of international travellers heading to Europe on the Eurostar trains leaving the platforms above. The last four months have seen a new addition to their ranks - Hornby.
In the run-up to Christmas, the firm has tried an experimental temporary store stocking train sets, Scalextric, diecast cars and Airfix kits. From the display, the helpful team will chat about the products and explain how they work - essential since the majority of people will be tourists or travelling for business and not enthusiasts. It might be the first time that many have seen models like this.
This isn't a static display either. One cabinet is home to a Micro-Scalextric circuit with a pair of cars thrashing around. When we asked how many they had worn out over the duration of the display, the answer was a surprise - none! It seems the re-tooled system is proving very reliable.
At the other end of the stand, we find a working model railway layout. Tim Mulhall, COO of Hornby Hobbies, tells us this has been popular and there are several requests a week to sell it. It's not for sale, but it shows how popular model railways can be if someone about to board a train would consider adding this to their luggage.
The pop-up closes for the last time on December 24, but it might be a sign of things to come. Hornby has been very pleased with its performance. As well as generating sales, it's also generated enquiries from landlords and retailers looking to work with the brand. We met with Tim a couple of months ago to discuss plans to see the brand move beyond traditional outlets.
For the moment, you have only a few days to enjoy the pop-up Hornby experience, but who knows what the future holds?