London, Nov 8 : Model giant Hornby is banking on James Bond and Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton to provide it with a pre-Christmas trading boost.
Despite increasingly tough trading conditions in many of its markets, Hornby said sales of Scalextric were expected to benefit from demand for McLaren cars and James Bond 'Quantum of Solace' licensed products.
It is also planning the launch of an Airfix kit featuring McLaren and its star driver Lewis Hamilton, who became Formula One world champion last weekend.
Hornby reported pre-tax profits of 1.8 million pound for the six months to September 30, down on the 2.7 million pound seen a year earlier because of tough trading conditions and costs from its acquisition of model car firm Corgi.
Hornby also said problems with supply at its model railway business caused group half-year sales to fall to 24.2 million pound from 24.5 million pound.
In the UK, sales of both Hornby and Airfix were higher than a year earlier, but Scalextric was down on comparisons with a strong period a year ago.
Boss Frank Martin said business was "challenging" but was confident "heavyweight hobby brands" would help it succeed, The Sun reported.