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Cost of living crisis hits UK’s largest fishing tackle retailer


Sales for the first half of this year at retailer Angling Direct showed a small increase on the same period last year, with comparative profit falling by 6.5%, as performance was impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.

As a result of what the company describes as ‘unprecedented trading conditions’ caused by an adverse economy and political uncertainty, the UK’s leading omni-channel tackle retailer has lowered its revenue forecasts for the year to ‘not less than £73.8m’.

Angling Direct reported revenues of £38.9m for the six months ended July 31st (compared to £38.4m in 2021) and a gross profit of £13.4m (£14.4m).

Aided by a period free from COVID restrictions, like-for-like store sales increased by 4.6%, but online revenue dropped by 7.9% to £17m. However, UK online sales of £15.3m remained 61% ahead of pre-COVID levels in the first half of 2020.

In Europe, online sales grew by 36.9% driven by the key European territories of Germany, France and the Netherlands.

Gross margin dropped by 280 basis points as a result of competitive pricing in the UK and Europe.

During an eventful first half, Angling Direct’s new European distribution centre (main picture) became fully operational and the company opened its first store in North East England, in Washington.

“The Board remains optimistic about the long term growth prospects and believes that continued strategic investment now will leave the group best placed competitively when consumer confidence returns,” said CEO Andy Torrance.

“The group will only continue to strategically invest in a controlled manner and only to the extent that it retains both strong liquidity and a robust balance sheet.”

Angling Direct’s first half half report also said that the current uncertain consumer environment, coupled with the company’s fundamental strengths, mean there is a significant opportunity to gain market share in a weakening competition landscape.

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