Angling Direct full year trading buoyed by 100,000 new fishers amid pandemic

Angling Direct has announced it has made progress despite all retail stores being closed at the beginning of the year amid Covid-19.
Angling Direct operates a total of 39 stores across the UK.
// Angling Direct swings to a pre-tax profit of £2.6m in year to January 31 – up from a £1.5m loss a year earlier
// Boosted by 100,000 new fishers amid pandemic which gave 40% boost in online sales to £35.3m
// Angling Direct also saw 15% hike of in-shop sales – growing to £32.3m, despite the lockdowns.

Angling Direct has posted bumper sales and a return to profits after being boosted by more than 100,000 new fishers that took to the waterways to escape the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fishing specialist retailer said the UK had seen a 17 per cent rise in annual fishing licences, and these new anglers visited its website – and shops when they were open – in huge numbers.

Angling Direct said revenue from online sales jumped 40 per cent to £35.3 million, helping it swing to a pre-tax profit of £2.6 million in the year to January 31 – up from a £1.5 million loss a year earlier.

READ MORE: Angling Direct bolstered by strong online sales

However, while online revenue has jumped across many retailers during lockdowns, when people were shut inside and shops were closed, most high street businesses suffered.

This was not the case at Angling Direct, which said it had a “flood” of demand in the summer to thank for a more than 15 per cent hike of in-shop sales – growing to £32.3 million, despite the lockdowns.

“The large pent-up demand built up whilst fishing was prohibited released with a flood of business from mid-June when stores reopened, whilst our online business continued to grow at pace,” chairman Martyn Page said.

“This proved that demand for well-located physical experiential stores, manned by trained enthusiastic colleagues, remains strong in our sector.”

In the months since January sales are up 54 per cent compared to the same period last year.

This included a 42 per cent online and 75 per cent offline boost.

However these figures are partly measuring against a period last year when the pandemic was at its worst, all stores were shut and Britons were confined to their homes.

The retailer said it was in a good place to grow revenues again this year, but cautioned investors against expecting a repeat of 2020.

“Assuming no further lockdowns, the group is well-placed to deliver profitable growth in revenues, albeit at a lower rate than the prior year as trading conditions and sales mix begin to normalise,” Angling Direct said in a statement.

The company will focus on Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria this year, which it said were key areas where it can grow.

Chief executive Andy Torrance said: “As the health and wellbeing benefits of angling become more widely recognised and its popularity grows around the world, we are ideally positioned to fulfil our ambition of becoming Europe’s first choice omni-channel fishing tackle destination for all anglers, regardless of their experience or ability.”

with PA Wires

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