June 12, 2006, 12:00 AM

E-retailer gets a hobby: Nailing new niches

Pure-play HobbyTron.com is adding categories and products with the aim to lift sales from $8 million to $50 million in five to seven years.

Executives at HobbyTron.com are grabbing their dolls and plastic models and getting ready to play. And they’re relying on both science and magic to help them play nice.

The pure-play retailer, a division of Absolute Toy Marketing Inc., is increasing the number of categories and products with the aim to lift sales from $8 million in 2005 to $50 million by 2013. Currently it’s adding several product categories, including dolls and plastic models, and dramatically expanding its science, magic and other categories. And there’s more in store.

“Historically, new categories and products have dramatically boosted our sales and profits,” says CEO Tim Gibson. “We rapidly add hundreds of new items; increased sales that stem from additions we then use to develop systems and become more efficient. It’s a beneficial cycle, though we truly are infants in this growth model. However, we see solid long-term prospects due to the small size of our niches-and there are thousands of niches to expand into.”

HobbyTron.com is No. 409 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites. Sales have been flat for the company, which racked up $8 million in both 2004 and 2005. The company predicts sales of $10 million this year.

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