Motor manual maker Haynes Publishing has said a series of new general interest books, including one about Wallace and Gromit, has helped its UK sales return to growth.
UK sales increased by 1% in the quarter to November 30, thanks to the popularity of new releases, including Wallace and Gromit Cracking Contraptions, a manual about the Star Trek USS Enterprise and a review of the Formula 1 racing season.
Sales slumped 12% in the previous quarter after demand for Haynes manuals was hit by the weak car market and retailers reduced their orders, the company said.
The Yeovil-based group has been producing Haynes manuals that give step-by-step instructions about how to repair cars since 1960, but in recent years has started printing books about other subjects such as history, health, wellbeing and even outdoor survival.
Chief executive Chris Oakley said: “The diversification into other products that build on the Haynes brand, such as books about Wallace and Gromit and Spitfires, has been quite an important development and one of the areas we will be looking to expand on.
“The car market has been quite soft and it’s when people change cars that they look to buy a new manual.”
The market place was difficult in the first quarter, with heavy returns from retailers and aggressive discounting, but a series of popular new books helped to recover some of the shortfall in the second quarter.
Group sales, which include Europe, Australia and the US, were down 2% to £15.7 million in the half year, while pre-tax profits were flat at £2.7 million.
Chairman John Haynes wrote and published his first book on building an Austin 7 Special when he was still at school in 1956 and went on to write two more manuals while on National Service in the RAF.