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Angling Direct looks to reel in European business after jump in revenue

PUBLISHED: 11:50 21 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:04 21 August 2018

The team at Angling Direct, a fishing tackle and equipment retailer based in Rackheath. Picture: Angling Direct

The team at Angling Direct, a fishing tackle and equipment retailer based in Rackheath. Picture: Angling Direct

Angling Direct

From Rackheath to the Rhine – the UK’s largest fishing tackle specialist is casting its net wider as it looks to take on the European market.

Angling Direct has seen sales in its stores and through its website grow by more than half in the past six months, to £9.93m and £11.69m respectively – and with its UK business on solid ground is now pumping investment into European websites.

Its first, in German, launched in June and initial feedback has been positive, laying the foundations for growth on the continent.

In the six months to July 31, the company – which has stores in Norwich, Wroxham, Beccles and Colchester and a warehouse in Rackheath – saw turnover rise “ahead of management’s expectations” to £21.94m – a 56% year-on-year increase.

The company attributed this to strong sales in-store and online, which both climbed by 60% over the half-year period.

In a stock market announcement on Tuesday, Darren Bailey, chief executive of Angling Direct, said: “The company’s performance for the first half of the year is extremely positive and, despite adverse winter weather earlier in the year and the very hot summer, it is pleasing to deliver like-for-like sales for the period up 4.2%.

“We have demonstrated that our strategy to operate both online and retail stores works coherently together in niche markets. We remain focused on our strategy of consolidation, as well as the roll-out of new e-commerce platforms in Europe, in order to continue to deliver value and growth.”

Angling Direct’s expansion has already seen the creation of around 15 new jobs in Norfolk in its marketing, warehouse and logistics teams.

Looking ahead to the rest of 2018, it is pushing ahead with further store openings in popular fishing locations. Its 23rd store in Guildford is due to open at the end of August with more to follow soon.

E-commerce is also getting further investment with the new European websites – after its German launch more sites are expected to be operational before the end of the year, with local customer service teams to support them.

In the first half of the year Angling Direct’s UK website saw unique visitor numbers increase by 30%, with online conversion up to 5.24% from 3.74% a year earlier.

The company will publish its interim results on October 8.

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