Games Workshop sees full-year profits spike 69 per cent as staff receive £5k bonuses

A big spike in profit over the last year, confirmed plans to expand in China, and a bonus of £5,000 to each member of staff compound another successful end of year for the UK-based tabletop gaming brand, Games Workshop.

In its trading update issued this week, the tabletop figures retailer confirmed that each of its around 2,600 staff will receive £5000 in shares under its profit-share scheme following a profits spike at the company of 69 per cent to hit £151 million.

The share bonuses, issued to staff in May this year, are in total worth £12 million, marking a £10 million increase on the £2 million awards given to staff in the previous year. Meanwhile, senior executives will share an extra £1.1 million bonus pot, marking a £300,00 increase on the year before.

Games Workshop has been at the forefront of a surge in demand for tabletop gaming and RPG gaming over the last few years. While it was forced to close its 523 stores during lockdowns due to the pandemic, its online engagement, online events, and online sales helped buoy the company through the tough trading period.

As a result of consumer demand for escapism during the pandemic’s various lockdowns, and the retained audience that had turned to the hobby sector for entertainment, Games Workshop has seen its full-year pre-tax profit rise 69 per cent to nearly £151 million, while revenue came in at £353 million.

With another successful year under its belt, the retail brand has begun eyeing international expansion, detailing its plans to roll out hundreds of products across China, following delays at the border.

Chief executive, Kevin Rountree said that while China and Japan are ‘not significant contributors’ to the company’s performance yet, the firm ‘remains focused on sharing our passion for Warhammer to more people in these countries as well as the rest of Asia.’

Games Workshop to give all staff £5000 share bonus amid another strong year of sales

A boost in the hobby and hobby gaming sector over the past year and throughout the pandemic has led to another set of record results for the UK’s miniatures and tabletop gaming specialist, Games Workshop, who is set to hand £12 million worth of share bonuses to staff following the success of its current financial year.

The share bonuses will be paid on an equal basis to each member of staff, handing each around £5,000. It’s a significant increase on the bonus received by staff members in the previous year, when the UK firm paid profit share bonuses amounting to £2 million.

Games Workshop has detailed particularly strong sales in its current financial year, one that it expects will end at no less than £350 million in the year to May 30th 2021. This marks a leap of some £80 million on the year prior, fueled in large by increase demand and engagement with the hobby scene over the course of the pandemic, as well as an evolving and growing licensing arm now spanning some of the biggest entertainment franchises globally.

The hobby specialist is also expecting its full year pre-tax profit to come in at not less than £150 million, up from £89 million in the prior 12-month period. This will includes royalties receivable from licensing which are estimated to be around £15 million.

The Retail Bulletin reports that, when announcing the company’s half year results back in January, Games Workshop chief executive Kevin Rountree said the business had put in a “cracking” performance with sales rising to £186.8 million in the six months 29 November compared to £148.4 million in the corresponding period in the previous year.

In addition to its Games Workshop  website, the company operates the Warhammer chain of stores across the UK.

Games Workshop builds out entertainment business with former Hasbro exec Finn Arnesen

Games Workshop Group is delving deeper into the entertainment business with the appointment of the former Turner Broadcasting and Hasbro Studios executive, Finn Arnesen as its first head of entertainment development.

In his new role, Arnesen will get to work mining the Warhammer library of novels and short stories in order to develop live-action and animated content for broadcast channels and platforms worldwide. Arenesen will be reporting into Games Workshop’s EVP of global licensing, Jon Gillard.

Moving over from Hasbro Studios where he was most recently SVP global distribution and development, Arnesen brings with him 25 years’ experience to a role that will see him inherit an initial content slate that includes an already announced live-action drama based on the Eisenhorn series of novels. The franchise is currently being developed with Frank Spotnitz, known for his work on The Man in the High Castle and The X Files.

Gillard said: “In its almost 40-year history, Warhammer has been a leader in the field of tabletop and video gaming, growing into one of the most fully realised examples of fantasy and sci-fi world-building ever devised. The characters we’ve explored and stories we’ve told during that time, through games, books, comics and more, are crying out to be brought to the screen.

“Getting Finn on board, with his wealth of expertise and knowledge across both programming and wider IP use, combined with his sheer energy and passion, will continue to cement Warhammer as one of the most unique and distinctive fantasy settings ever.”

Arnesen added: “This is a hugely exciting time to be joining Games Workshop, and I am relishing the opportunity to work with such an established yet, in terms of entertainment, relatively unexplored universe as Warhammer. There is a tremendous appetite at present for series set in unique, fantastical worlds, so, with Warhammer’s thousands of stories, numerous worlds and countless memorable characters, our options are virtually limitless.

“I was delighted to discover there are already early discussions in place with a variety of production companies around the world, from LA to Japan, and an array of highly sought after writing talent, to bring the vast Warhammer universe to all platforms.”

According to reports, the Warhammer Animation TEam is currently working with animation studios to help develop official animated content for the Warhammer Community, with three shows now nearing completion. It is expected that word on how this content will be delivered to fans will arrive later this year.

Andy Smillie, EVP digital and community at Games Workshop, said: “Over the decades, Warhammer has attracted the most dedicated and passionate fans of any gaming and publishing franchises. Every day they reach out, asking for more ways to enjoy Warhammer. This new project will offer Warhammer fans everywhere rich, unique content to meet their insatiable demand.

“Combined with the mainstream entertainment strategy, we will soon be successfully delivering more Warhammer, more often, in multiple ways for dedicated and casual fans alike.”

Games Workshop valued at £3.8bn as hobby demand fuels its latest sales surge

Games Workshop, the British firm behind the wildly popular Warhammer tabletop miniatures gaming franchise, has reported blockbuster sales and profits driven by the stay at home messaging of the last year and the surge in the hobbyist and gaming markets.

The company’s chief executive, Kevin Rountree has billed its 2020 results as “another cracking performance from a truly amazing global team”, as it rang in sales of £186.8 million and a profit of £91.6 million for the six months to November 29th, 2020.

The results outstripped the estimated figures, equating to around a 25 per cent surge in sales and a leap of 53 per cent in profits year on year. Games Workshop is now valued at £3.8 billion on the stock market – £1 billion more than Marks & Spencer.

The group managed to turn around the initial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic that saw Games Workshop stores closed during the UK’s first lockdown period last year. Most of the group’s 529 shops around the world have been closed, causing some initial concern over how it will reach its active customer base over the course of the year.

A surge in demand for the hobby market, and a particular rise in board gaming and the gaming sector, as well as the lean into online shopping saw Games Workshop’s online sales grow by 87 per cent. To meet customers in the digital space, the group also hosted a series of live-streamed online preview events to showcase new products and its own team of creatives.

Covid-19 has delayed production on some of Games Workshop new releases, such as titles like Death Guard Codex and pieces for the Age of Sigmar franchise, however the firm has promised fans that these will go on sale fortnightly from next week.

Chief executive Rountree has commended the global team for the success of the Games Workshop brand over what has been a challenging year for the retail sector overall, and has said that the company will continue to “focus on what is in our control” as it builds upon the success over the coming months.

“Like every other company we have our internal plans as to our future performance, which show a range of outcomes which are not shared with the stock market; predicting the future is always a risky business,” he said.

“We will focus on what is in our control; delivering on our operational plan rather than worrying about, for example, any short term share price or the weather.

“Our biggest risk is senior management becoming complacent, I will continue to do my best to ensure that does not happen.”

Looking to the months ahead, Rountree gave little away: “Like every other company we have our internal plans as to our future performance, which show a range of outcomes which are not shared with the stock market; predicting the future is always a risky business.”

“We will focus on what is in our control; delivering on our operational plan rather than worrying about, for example, any short term share price volatility or the weather.”

Perhaps referring to the garlands it receives in the retail and games industry for its stellar success around the world, he added: “Our biggest risk is senior management becoming complacent. I will continue to do my best to ensure that does not happen.”

Games Workshop partners with The Koyo Store for Warhammer 40,000 collectables

The entertainment merchandise specialist, The Koyo Store, has secured the global rights to create a range of officially licensed Warhammer 40,000 collectables through a new partnership with Games Workshop.

The deal marks a major success for The Koyo Store as the range will not only be sold through Games Workshop’s own High Street stores, but also available for fans to buy direct at

The initial Warhammer 40,000 product line-up, available in-store and online and encompassing a range of pin badge collections based on popular characters and artifacts in the game world, will include Mystery Faction Pins, Paint Your Own Space Marine pins, and a Space Marine Chapter Icon 12 pin collection.

The New Year will see the addition of a selection of Artifact 3D pins, A Diorama pin set, and a Legendary Character 12 pin set.

Games Workshop is the latest major IP owner to join The Koyo Store’s burgeoning collectables line-up, which also includes partnerships with Ubisoft, (Rainbow Six Siege), PUBG, Toei (Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super), Capcom (Street Fighter) and HBO (Game of Thrones)

“We are absolutely thrilled to be working with Games Workshop and the Warhammer 40,000 brand,” said Lee Townsend, founder and CEO of The Koyo Store. “We’re rapidly expanding our roster of first-class licensing partners, both within the video games industry and the wider entertainment markets. We are excited by what 2021 has in store. We already have three new licenses in the wings that are under NDA.”

The Koyo Store’s high-quality pin badges, coins and other unique merchandise have proved a hit among games, Esports and TV and film fans who are looking for great collectibles and the opportunity to claim bragging rights within their peer groups.

Based in Lancashire, the firm’s team has a strong and varied skillset, with designers, retail experts, gamers and pop culture fans working to produce epic merchandise and collectibles.

Games Workshop sees trading beat expectations as the hobby franchise finds growth in online sales

Games Workshop is continuing to play its role as the Great British success story, having reported that trading in the three months to August 30th was ahead of the board’s expectations thanks in part to a solid online performance.

The miniature wargaming company has said current estimates show sales of around £90m during the period, up from £78m in the same period a year prior. The manufacturer, retailer, brand and franchise owner said that sales had been driven by a healthy growth in its online and trade channels.

Games Workshop’s retail channel is still in recovery mode having been closed due to Covid-19 measures earlier this year. Eventing and gaming spaces like this have taken a knock during the lockdown measures, however there is hope that with tighter rules around group gatherings now in place, this can start to see a pick up.

Meanwhile, the Warhammer franchise saw a boost in celebrity endorsement when the British actor, Henry Cavill outed himself as a Games Workshop fan via YouTube.

Operating profit for the business before royalty income is now estimated at around £45m, up from £28m in 2019 and royalty income is expected to rise to £3m from £2m.

“The board recognises that this performance is better than the prior year but is also aware that it is still early in the financial year,” said the firm in a statement. “A further update will be given as appropriate.”

Games Workshop declared a 50p per share dividend, in line with its policy to distribute truly surplus cash. This will be paid on 23 October for shareholders on the register at 18 September.

Games Workshop sees £269m revenue in ‘best financial year in its history’

Games Workshop is celebrating what it has hailed ‘the best financial year in the company’s history,’ having reported a revenue of £269.7 million for the 12 months to May 31st 2020. That’s an increase of over £10 million on the £256.6 million it totalled for the same period in 2019.

The miniatures manufacturer and name behind the globally popular Warhammer franchise also saw pre-tax profits grow from £81.3 million to £89.4 million over the financial year.

Commenting on the results, chief executive officer, Kevin Roundtree, said: “An amazing set of results – the best year in Games Workshop’s history, so far.

“You can once again see from these results that our business and the Warhammer hobby are in good shape. We look forward to the year ahead and will face any challenges head on and learn from our mistakes.”

Headquartered in Nottingham, Games Workshop’s business had been closed for more than a month at the height of the UK’s lockdown measures, including its high street retail outlets.

However, a ‘particularly strong’ appetite for the latest Warhammer launch and an around 40 per cent jump in user numbers on the Warhammer website to over 8 million appears to have helped the miniatures company maintain its momentum.

Games Workshop’s Roundtree added: “We thank our staff and customers and other stakeholders for their continued support during these uncertain times.”


Asmodee Entertainment appoints Games Workshop’s Christian Dunn as interactive game licensing manager

Asmodee Entertainment has appointed the 20 year licensing and publishing veteran Christian Dunn to the role of interactive games licensing manager.

Dunn joins the team from Games Workshop and will principally be focusing on interactive licensing opportunities across Asmodee’s gaming brands, including Catan, Ticket to Ride, Dobble, Arkham Horror, Keyforge, and Legend of the Five Rings.

Based at Asmodee Entertainment’s head office in the UK, he will be forging ahead with many opportunities in PC, console, mobile and VR gaming, working closely with Asmodee Entertainment’s LA-based SVP of business development Darren Kyman.

Kyman himself is currently is focusing on developing Asmodee’s wealth of intellectual properties for TV, film and other media opportunities, while Alexander Thieme – who has recently come on board – focuses on merchandise, apparel, consumer products, publishing and other core licensing categories.

Andy Jones, head of Asmodee Entertainment said: “Recently we made the truly exciting announcement that, together with our partners at Asmodee Digital, we are opening the doors for more of Asmodee’s amazing IPs to be available in the interactive gaming space through licensing partnerships across a wide range of exciting opportunities.

“I am really pleased that Christian has joined the Asmodee Entertainment team as another key recruit to help us take this initiative from vision to reality. Christian brings years of experience plus an unparalleled enthusiasm for the opportunity, so it is a pleasure to welcome him aboard.”

To the victor: Warhammer and it’s march upon the global hobby, retail, and licensing scene

Games Workshop’s Warhammer is massively successful. Seriously. Over the past three years – since the onset of Brexit fell upon us – Warhammer has doubled the size of its business. Last year, it ended £81million in profit. Robert Hutchins talks to senior licensing manager, Zoe Smith about how the franchise is building on this success for 2020

If ever there was a Great British success story, Games Workshop is it. A company that can’t seem to keep out of the press year in year out, the Nottingham-based unit has truly bucked the trend of the UK’s retail narrative over the last few years.

At the end of 2019, Games Workshop – yes, the retailer-come-licensor of the world spanning and vastly popular Warhammer franchise – broke all of its own records when it closed the year by announcing its £257 million in sales, marking an £81 million profit for the organisation that has built its business on fantasy miniatures and orc warfare. And they tell you playing games won’t get you anywhere…

In fact, Zoe Smith, senior licensing manager at Warhammer Licensing, the consumer product licensing unit of the Games Workshop enterprise, tells ToyNews that its business has doubled
in the last three years.

Let’s put that into some context – that’s a business that has seen continual growth and profit since the on-set of Brexit. Perhaps there really is more than a hint of magic to the fantastical franchise that has the world so gripped.

ToyNews catches up with Zoe Smith to talk about the ongoing success of the retailer, its brand portfolio, and its franchise model.

Hi Zoe, so wow, not a bad few years for you. What’s business been like for Games Workshop and Warhammer over the year?

We had a really, really successful 2019 for Games Workshop, in fact it was a record breaking year. Year on year we have been seeing record-breaking results and really strong growth. Our full year results for 2019 came in at £257m in sales, marking an £81m profit. Our business has doubled in just three years, which is amazing, especially in a climate where retail is particularly challenging at the moment.

We are currently one of the top five best performing investments on the London stock exchange over the last decade (+2630 per cent).

It’s also been our biggest ever year for Warhammer Licensed products with Retail Sales of £104m. We signed 21 new partners bringing our number of licensees to 94.

A big part of our business at the moment is video gaming, from a licensed product point of view, but there is a massive focus from us – from since I started in May last year – on growing our presence at retail. We are really focusing on our retail relationships, meeting with lots of them, to get that face to face relationship.

We had some really exciting announcements, including that we are in development with a live action TV series. Then we secured our partnership with Marvel for Warhammer Comics, which will be coming later this year. Talking about Marvel and Warhammer in the same sentence is really cool, and I think – talking to retailers – it’s a great hook and breaks a few barriers.

What have been some of the biggest successes for the brand in the licensing space?

We had some great launches with our first range of Warhammer Funko Pops, which actually went on to win the Community Choice Award at the International Licensing Awards in Las Vegas, and we launched our first ever action figure from Bandai, which sold out in just 48 hours. It goes to show that when we get the product right, and it’s something that the customers want, they really invest. We are looking at how we can now broaden this out for the future.

We also had our first ever nomination in the Licensing Awards for Best Licensed Gaming property, up against some very tough competition like Fortnite or Minecraft. The nomination went to demonstrate how we are engaging with the licensing industry now more than ever.

We continue to develop stronger relationships at retail. Barnes & Noble are a good example where we have seen strong success, having launched three boardgames with them. Very soon after, these games appeared in their best sellers list for that category. For the following season B&N increased their buy significantly and we have been able to recognise their support of the brand by directing our fans to B&N via our marketing channels.

We saw reports at the end of the year of another successful run for Games Workshop – why do you think it is resonating so well with audiences at the moment – be that through its retail operations, Warhammer gaming, or overall licensing business?

One of the great things behind our success is that the core business is still a vertically integrated business, meaning that everything still happens here in our Nottingham HQ. We manage every stage apart from the actual printing of the packaging.

Over the past three years we have established incredibly strong marketing channels including a Warhammer Community site. We have an extremely dedicated fan base and they are highly engaged via these channels. We see much engagement and response from our fans. We are not just about sales, we host videos on how to paint your miniatures, gaming demonstration videos; it’s a real community that focuses on the hobby.

We are not driven by the next big film or TV series release, but we are driven by our own product release cycle and therefore our customers keep coming back for the products they want and love. It means that we can be an evergreen brand, and our customers are never restricted – there’s always something new for them to sink their teeth into.

Even though the gaming space is getting crowded with a lot of successful gaming properties, there is still nothing quite like Warhammer. People love the uniqueness of this franchise, and look at it, it is unique.

We are now seeing growth coming from international markets, with America being our biggest single market, while Japan and China are our two fastest-growing territories with still lots of untapped potential out there for us.

Warhammer caters for different types of audience with our core pillars of collect, build, paint, play. We also have an extremely successful publishing division (the Black Library) where we have over 2000 individual titles including multiple NY Times Best sellers, an extensive video game portfolio and various other consumer products such as board games, card games and so on. The thing is, however you like to indulge in the hobby of Warhammer, there is something for everyone.

The IP has a real strength and depth and it is all so cohesive, so whether you are playing the video games or reading one of the books, it is all connected.

How does Games Workshop tap into a current consumer demand for hobby gaming and pop culture?

We have really benefited from the growth in gaming and pop culture globally, which is a really growing trend at the moment. As a brand with more than 40 years in the gaming space, we are seeing fans introduce their children and grandchildren to Warhammer.

We have managed to remain really relevant, and we are seeing new generations getting into Warhammer now – this is a brand that still resonates as something cool, edgy, and timeless with audiences.

How has the success of the last year set you up for 2020? What will be some of the biggest moves to come from you guys this year?

A big thing for us will be to keep building on the successful partnerships that we
have in place, those with Funko, Bandai, the upcoming Marvel partnership that will introduce Marvel Warhammer comics in Q4 this year.

At the same time, we will continue to develop and release all new examples of the finest plastic model kits in the world and the accessories used to build/paint and play games with them.

With all of this behind us, we hope that 2020 will see us doing even more with retailers. We have had some really good conversations with retail at various shows, and I would like to see some of that coming through this year and increasing our presence within retail for the brand.

How are you adapting to the changing demands of the licensing space today, and how is this helping you maintain your position as leaders in the field?

We are one of the most prolific video game licensors at the moment, and you will definitely see us building on the success of some of the recent AAA releases such as Warhammer Total War 2 and Vermintide 2 with some more big budget, high quality titles on the way in the next couple of years.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned, Warhammer fans are driven by quality rather than price. This applies across the whole licensing space. As we’ve already mentioned Funko, Bandai, Marvel, we will be focussing on working with best in class category leaders across a broad range of consumer products.