Model railway enthusiasts will soon be able to pick up online orders from Hornbyat real-life railway stations.
Hornby, best known for its replica train sets, has signed a deal to let customers collect their orders from shops at stations. The shops are run by Doddle, whose 34 outlets target busy commuters who want to receive, return or send parcels from stations.
The deal will allow model rail hobbyists to pick up their items while experiencing actual delays, penalty fares and aromas emanating from fast-food outlets.
Doddle is owned by DPD, a parcel delivery company that will also take items to customers’ homes or let them collect their goods at retailers.
Doddle’s shops in stations are mainly in London and south-east England but it also has branches in Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham. It plans to open five more in August and September, according to its website.
Richard Ames, Hornby’s chief executive, said: “The delivery of these projects will strengthen our business model and ultimately benefit our customers. With Doddle as a partner, enthusiasts will have the convenience of being able to collect their model train purchases from a major train station near them.”
Hornby, which also makes Airfix, Corgi and Scalextric, supplies hundreds of independent model shops and sells direct to customers. It returned to profit for the first time in three years last year.
Ames has set up a separate digital team to improve services and systems to attract more online business. Click-and-collect services, which let customers order online and pick up items from shops or other locations, have grown in popularity in recent years.