// Angling Direct posts net loss before tax for the last financial year
// Group sales for the year rose 27 per cent up to £53.2 million
Angling Direct has recorded a net loss before tax, which it blamed on new store acquisitions and a difficult post-Christmas trading environment.
For the 12 months to January 31, the fishing equipment retailer reported an EBITDA loss of £500,000 and a net loss before income tax of £1.5 million.
The “exceptional winter flooding” at the beginning of the year reduced fishing activity in the UK.
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Despite the net loss, group sales for the year rose 27 per cent up to £53.2 million, with store sales rising 42 per cent to £27.9 million and a like-for-like store growth of 12 per cent.
Online sales rose 14 per cent to £25.3 million, with international sales seeing an eight per cent surge.
Angling Direct opened 10 new stores during the period, which brought its estate to 34.
For the period since February, Angling Direct reported strong sales before the lockdown was implemented.
It also opened two further UK stores in Warrington and Bristol.
Since the coronavirus pandemic struck, the specialist retailer said that online sales were “materially ahead” in April versus last year by 24 per cent.
The retailer said it was also “progressing towards safe reopening of stores” on June 15, in line with government guidance.
“Last year was a period of rapid expansion for Angling Direct, with major investment going into the opening of ten new stores, three of which were acquisitions, as well as delivering further upgrades to our online business and our own brand products,” Angling Direct executive chair Martyn Page said.
“All of these initiatives are designed to enable us to grow market share, protect our margins and improve our customer experience.
“The impact of Covid-19 led to the closure of our 36 stores, but our online business has seen excellent growth and we have been able to fulfil the increasing number of orders as a consequence of the prior investment made in automation within our distribution centre, as well as our online customer experience.
“We are now in the process of preparing to open our stores safely, as we work in accordance with government advice to protect our staff and customers.
“Covid-19 aside, the board has taken progressive steps to create further operational efficiencies and address the challenges inherent in all rapidly growing businesses.
“We continue to focus on these steps and the opportunity to grow revenue and margins both in the UK and internationally.”