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Angling Direct delivers growth despite ‘significant’ headwinds


Robust store sales and a return to growth of mainland European online sales following the opening of a distribution centre were the headline positives as the UK’s largest fishing tackle retail chain delivered a 2.2% increase in revenue for the year ended January 31st, 2023.

Angling Direct says that sales of £74.1m (2022: £72.5m) was achieved despite ‘significant’ consumer headwinds, including inflation and cost of living pressures, across all of its key markets.

Store sales grew by 6.8% to $41.3m as Angling Direct’s store roll-out strategy continued. The total number of outlets increased from 42 to 45 in the year, with the new ones contributing £0.9m of sales. Like-for-like store sales were £38m, flat against the year before, as a result of the previously mentioned disruptions and the unusually hot weather in the UK and Europe during August.

Total online sales decreased by 3% to £32.8m (£33.8m) with the UK – representing 90% of online business – dropping by 4.8% driven by tough first half of the year comparatives. However, it returned to growth over the last six months of the period. The group pointed out that online sales in its domestic market were still 57.9% above pre-COVID levels, illustrating a significant step change in its omni-channel offering.

Following the opening of its European distribution centre (main image) in March, Angling Direct saw a return to profit as sales increased 18.4%, with revenue in the key European territories of Germany, France and the Netherlands increasing by 32.3%. “The Board is pleased with its progress in recent months in Europe and going forward expects this market to play an increasing role in the growth of the business,” it said.

Andy Torrance, CEO of Angling Direct, told investors: “We are pleased with the progress achieved in the last financial year despite the difficult macro-economic environment. Following the opening of our European distribution centre, it was particularly pleasing to see such strong sales growth in Europe, which is further evidence of the opportunity that lies ahead for the group.

“Angling Direct’s leading omni-channel model, combined with the strategic and operational progress achieved, leaves the company well placed to benefit from ongoing consolidation in the industry. The group will therefore continue to invest, where prudent to do so, in order to drive market share growth, leveraging its strong balance sheet, to ensure it is best placed competitively to benefit when consumer confidence returns.

“Ahead of the start of the 2023 fishing season, the Board re-affirms its view that the company is well-placed to capitalise on the opportunities ahead and gain market share both within the UK and Europe whilst remaining vigilant as to continuing challenges for consumers in the macro-environment.”

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