War games are a serious business

The Investment Column

Forget the moonies and Freemasons. Fantasy war games are the cult of the Nineties - especially for all those boys out there who have never quite grown up.

Tom Kirby, chief executive and soon-to-be executive chairman of Games Workshop, is one such chap.

Founder of the highly successful games company, he shuns grown-up City clothes for jeans and T-shirts and talks excitedly about the new Gorkamorka game where green-skinned miniature monsters with long tusks do battle riding around in buggies.

Unlike conventional toy companies such as Bluebird, which struggle to keep pace with the passing whims of fickle children, Games Workshop's toys - miniature fantasy collectibles - are a serious hobby for dedicated enthusiasts.

Three-quarters of buyers are males over 12 years and, of those, a quarter are adults.

In fact, the Games Workshop business is more akin to a razor-and-blade company such as Gillette.

For every pounds 50 an average devotee spends on the basic games kit - a board, a few miniatures and a rulebook - he will spend another pounds 500 over the next two years building up the collection. What's more, the appeal seems to cross cultural barriers.

Yesterday's full-year numbers to June - profits rose 26 per cent to pounds 11m after a pounds 5m currency hit, leaving the shares 6.5p higher at 575p - showed rapid expansion in continental Europe, now more than a third of the total, particularly Germany and Spain. Business has also been growing quickly in Australia.

Japan, with its tradition of often-violent fantasy "manga" comics, should be an ideal war games market.

Meanwhile there is plenty still to do in the UK. Mr Kirby says there is room to add another 100 shops here, doubling UK capacity.

With like-for-like sales growth of more than 40 per cent, Games Workshop can certainly justify the plans.

House broker Credit Lyonnais Laing forecasts pounds 13m profits next year. On a forward PE ratio of 22 next year, falling to 18 times, the shares are still good value.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk