Type to search

Angling Direct: European expansion will not divert attention from UK


Angling Direct – the UK’s largest fishing tackle omni-channel retailer – says that its further expansion into mainland Europe will not divert its attention away from growth in its domestic market.

The company, which has announced that it will be opening its first store outside the UK in Utrecht, Netherlands in the Spring and has already started recruiting for staff there, has revealed it has an aggressive growth plan for the UK.

Speaking exclusively to Angling International just days before the company also announced the acquisition of Cheshire-based HF Angling, Angling Direct COO Craig Jones (below right with Marketing Manager Oliver Harper), revealed that the company is to open a ‘material number’ of stores in the UK this year – its biggest since 2019 when ten were added to its portfolio. The first of those opened its doors in Cannock, Staffordshire last month.

Angling Direct announced a satisfying set of financial figures for the year ended January 31st 2024, which included a 10.2% hike in group revenue (£81.7m) and 9% increase in UK retail store sales (£44.4m). Jones said: “Angling Direct has continued to gain market share in the UK and we believe there are significant further growth opportunities by continuing to invest in our digital and physical footprint in the UK.”

Angling Direct has been trading in the European market for a number of years through its French, German and Dutch websites. In March 2022 it opened a large distribution centre and European headquarters in Venlo, Netherlands (below). In the year ended January 2024, its European online sales increased 63% to £4.3m.

Jones said that the time is now right for it to have a bricks and mortar sales outlet in Europe. “We were always planning to take this step, but I have been vocal that this is a trial for us and will be our only opening in Europe this year. Things have also stabilised since COVID and Brexit, making the timing right.

“With our European distribution centre in Venlo, it made sense to go to the Netherlands. We researched the area, looking at the population, licence sales and took a view. Utrecht is just over 30 miles from Amsterdam, which is a major catchment area.

“We believe the Angling Direct model can work as well outside the UK as it has within, where our retail footprint has grown to approximately 50 stores.

“The new Utrecht outlet will be based on our current store format (above). It is designed to make it an experience for the angler. Tackle shops can be difficult and intimidating environments to navigate. But our new stores are laid-out in such a way as to make them much more user-friendly so that everything is easy to locate and help is readily on hand. Our experienced retail colleagues will cater for everyone including beginners, holiday anglers and long-term fishermen.

“The area is a hotspot for carp and predator fishing, so those will be well catered for in the Utrecht location with fresh bait and products at compelling prices.

“There are initiatives that Angling Direct offers which are not available in tackle stores over there, including our MyAD loyalty card which offers exclusive products, offers and competitions. That will make a big difference for us,” added Jones. Since its launch in June last year, subscribers to MyAD has risen to over 230,000.

Over the last six months Angling Direct has been looking at the retail fishing market in the Netherlands to understand the difference in how suppliers work and to cater for those needs ahead of the big brand opening. “We want to work with suppliers in the Netherlands and believe we can help them grow their business,” added Jones.

Angling Direct will be using all marketing channels, including social media and fishing magazines to promote its arrival on a new stage. “We plan to drive as much traffic as possible to welcome new customers to our very first mainland Europe store,” said Jones.

Why we bought HF Angling

Craig Jones has revealed why the UK’s largest omni-channel fishing tackle retailer has chosen to add the Cheshire-based HF Angling to its growing store portfolio.

He told Angling International: “HF Angling is a fantastic store with a big reputation with extremely experienced and knowledgeable staff in an unserved catchment area for Angling Direct. We believe that this combination means we can continue to support the community and provide an unmatched level of shopping experience for our customers.

“The store will receive a significant investment as part of its introduction to the Angling Direct portfolio to improve the customer experience and lay-out. We will also be improving the range of products and pricing through the introduction of MyAD loyalty card offers across the store to the benefit of our customers who shop with us.”

He added that a large store reopening is planned for Saturday March 9th.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *