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UK retailer posts record sales but expansion costs it dear

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Angling Direct reported record store and online sales last year, but slid to a loss following investment in its expansion strategy.

The UK’s largest fishing tackle retailer recorded a loss for the year ended January 31st, 2019 as it continued to invest in new stores and online sales.

Angling Direct reported a near 40% rise in group sales of £42 million compared to the previous year, helped by increased sales from both its physical stores and online. However, it showed a £266,000 pre-tax loss after administrative expenses of £11.2m. In 2018 it reported a profit of £159,000.

Online sales grew 30% to £22.3m (£17.1m), while revenue from its stores increased by 50% to £19.7m (£13.2m), including like-for-like store growth of 6.1%.

“It has been a transformational year for Angling Direct, achieving record sales across the store network and online,” said Martyn Page, Executive Chairman. “The successful £20m placing in October has enabled us to accelerate our expansion strategy with three stores opened in the period, cementing our position as the UK’s number one fishing tackle retailer.

“As the UK market consolidates, we are seeing a corresponding increase in our margins as the level of discounting from competitors decreases. Coupled with this are encouraging customer habits both instore and online as Angling Direct becomes the retailer of choice.

“We are excited by the sales growth outside the UK through our native language websites, which will be a key focus for the group in 2019. The European market is highly fragmented with limited competition online. We expect to increase our market share through targeted marketing campaigns, unrivalled customer experience and carefully considered merger and acquisition opportunities.

“The company has made an excellent start to the fiscal year and, in the first two months, like-for-like sales were up by 28.5% and overall sales increased by 50.7% compared to the previous year. We will continue to build on this momentum with exciting new store openings planned and continued targeted online growth. Our plans for the summer season are progressing very well and the board is confident that the company is on track to meet its full year targets.”

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