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Online sales make up for four months of store closures at Angling Direct


Despite restrictions which included the closure of its stores to normal trading for more than four months, one of Europe’s top retail chains says it expects to report a 27% increase in revenue for last year.

UK-based Angling Direct, which has 38 stores across the region, says its sales reached £67.6m (2020: £53.2m) driven by ‘robust momentum’ in online revenue which grew 40% to £35.3m (£25.2m). UK online sales increased 62% while sales in the company’s key European territories of Germany, France and Netherlands grew 35%.

The number of unique visitors to its UK website increased by 2.5m in the year to 7.4m, as many people returned to fishing or took up the sport..

Total store sales, which included call & collect, increased 16% to £32.3m (£27.9m). Like-for-like store sales were down 8% as a consequence of the store trading restrictions imposed for over 30% of the financial year.

Despite significant management time being invested in dealing with the unique challenges presented by COVID-19, the Board says it remained focused on delivering the group’s long-term strategy of profitable growth and made good progress in the key areas of developing margin, reducing promotional activity, increasing own brand sales penetration, improving working capital and leveraging operational efficiencies from previous supply chain and store investments.

Its adds: “As a result of these actions and the strong trading performance in line with recently upgraded market expectations, the Board expects to report a pre IFRS-16 EBITDA of at least £3.8m for the year, a significant improvement on the previous year (pre IFRS-16 EBITDA loss of £0.5m).

“The balance sheet resilience was strengthened in June 2020 through a placing, raising £5.5m gross proceeds. Management has maintained tight working capital discipline through the pandemic and this, combined with the strong trading performance and associated cash conversion, has led to a significantly improved cash position as at January 31st 2021 of £15m (£5.9m).

“The new financial year has started with lockdowns in place across the UK and in many of the company’s key European markets. In common with other retailers and despite rigorous preparation, the company has also experienced some post-Brexit disruption to logistics as well as less predictable Far East supply. Notwithstanding the current abnormal trading conditions, which will impact the first half, the Board believes that Angling Direct’s leading omni-channel model, combined with its strategic and operational progress in FY21, leaves it well placed to benefit from the heightened interest in fishing. The strong balance sheet means Angling Direct is well positioned to withstand further challenges, while also continuing to seize opportunities to invest in key growth areas.”

Andy Torrance, CEO of Angling Direct, said: “On behalf of the Board, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Angling Direct employees who have worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, often in challenging circumstances, to deliver for our growing customer community. I am pleased with the performance that we have delivered through FY21, with good progress made on all fronts, both operationally and strategically, and look forward to reopening our stores in April, in line with the Government’s roadmap.

“The actions taken in FY21 ensure that the company is well positioned to withstand future challenges and I firmly believe that when we are through the other side of the pandemic, our market leading omni-channel offering and scale will enable us to continue on our growth trajectory in the UK and internationally, as angling grows in popularity.”

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