Angling Direct – the UK’s leading supplier of fishing tackle – has reported a slowdown in sales in the second quarter of its financial year.
Reporting a 1.3% increase in sales compared to the previous half year, the Norfolk-based business has blamed the ‘inevitable’ impact of the ongoing cost of living pressures and declining consumer confidence on trading, which saw sales reduce by 1.6% against the previous comparable Q2 period.
It added that alongside the significant unforeseen macro-economic factors, adverse fishing conditions caused by the heatwave and its resulting effect on river levels and fish health also impacted trading in the usually busy month of August.
“The same factors have also affected growth and profitability to a similar extent in Europe as the company continues to invest in the early stages of our European roll-out,” it told investors this morning in its half-year trading update.
Angling Direct maintains that while facing similar economic challenges to the UK, the highly fragmented European market remains a very attractive strategic priority for the group to accelerate market share.
“To deliver on our strategic objectives, we have continued our planned investment to drive customer acquisition and have invested in margin, where appropriate, to further establish a competitive position.”
Following the opening of its European distribution centre in the Netherlands earlier this year, Angling Direct saw online sales growth of 55% during the six-month period on its native language websites in key territories – Germany, France and the Netherlands – and 87% in the second quarter, highlighting the long-term growth opportunity for the group.
During the first half of the year Angling Direct opened one new store in Washington, in the north-east of England, and now operates 43 stores across the UK. A further two are scheduled to open in the third quarter of the year.
It added: “Despite the current exceptional macro-economic circumstances, the board continues to proactively manage operations and believes the company is gaining market share and demonstrating resilience in the UK.”
Angling Direct expects revenue for the full year to be ‘marginally below current market expectations’.
Angling Direct H1 2023 results: