Toy Company Cuts Production to Recover from Loss

August 25, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. essential / əˈsɛn ʃəl / (adj.) – important
Example: A company’s employees are an essential part of its organization.

2. complication /ˌkɒm plɪˈkeɪ ʃən / (n.) – something that causes problems
ExampleComplications in the project led to delays.

3. topple / ˈtɒp əl / (v.) – to take down someone or something from a higher position
Example: The company toppled its rival in the industry.

4. renowned / rɪˈnaʊnd / (adj.) – famous
Example: The president of the company is renowned for his contributions in the field.

5. venture / ˈvɛn tʃər / (v.) – to do something risky
Example: She ventured into the restaurant business after leaving the company.


Read the text below.
UK toymaker Hornby plans to cut down its production in an attempt to recover from its losses.

Founded in 1901, Hornby is best known for producing model trains and railways loved by both adults and children.

After incurring losses worth £13.5 million in 2015 and a 65% dip in share price in the same year, the company announced a plan to return the company to profitability. The first step in the plan is to cut down its production by 40%, bringing down its toy lines to around 1,500. Hornby will continue production of its toys, but they will focus on those that are essential for hobbyists and collectors.

The second step is to raise £8 million through share placing to pay for its restructuring. The plan is under the direction of its new Chief Executive Officer Steve Cooke. Finally, the company has also decided to stop selling in stores and will instead focus on its online shop to keep up with the times.

Hornby's Chairman Roger Canham attributed the losses to complications in a new software system and supply problems in China, which were brought about by the company’s reorganization and issues with its suppliers in China. Another possible reason why Hornby toys were toppled from their position could also be the rise of video games and applications, which many people are starting to prefer over traditional toys.

Although the company is renowned for its model trains, its first product was a model construction system called Meccano. The company later ventured into the production of other toys, such as Airfix, a brand of model airplanes, toy vehicles called Corgi, and Scalextric, a line of racing car toys.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Aside from those mentioned in the article, what could be other reasons why Hornby and other traditional toy brands are losing sales?
·         Are video games or applications better than traditional toys? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What are popular toymakers and toy shops in your country?
·         What are some traditional toys that are unique to your country? Describe them. 

August 25, 2016