Angling Direct eye global expansion as £14.6m sales boom is announced

Darren Bailey pictured with the Angling Direct team. Picture: London Stock Exchange

Darren Bailey pictured with the Angling Direct team. Picture: London Stock Exchange - Credit: London Stock Exchange

A business started as a hobby by two friends has reeled in stellar sales thanks to Black Friday trading and is plotting global expansion from its Rackheath base.

Angling Direct was founded by Martyn Page and William Hill in 1986, who bought a single fishing tackle shop in Wroxham.

But more than 30 years later, the company has revealed a 31.5% rise in sales to £14.6m in the four months to November 30, while in-store like-for-like turnover increased to £4.96m.

This quarter, online revenue rose 24.3% to £6.7m, with sales in Black Friday week rocketing 55.8% to £1.3m.

Its performance comes in stark contrast to rival Fishing Republic, which has announced its intention to appoint administrators.

However directors at the firm, which was established in Wroxham in 1986, are not resting on their laurels with managing director Darren Bailey saying they 'have worked really hard,' but 'would've liked a bit better.'

The fishing equipment outlet now has 23 stores, and will open 20 more in the next two years thanks to an institutional investment round last month worth £20m.

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Mr Bailey puts the company's success down to the fact that 'staff reflect the ideas of the board'.

He said: 'As a board we can ensure stock management so that our staff have the best stock in their shop and can offer the best store experience possible.

'Our new stores look fantastic – we won't have people walking into smelly or old shops. It's important because when customers come in they're not just getting fishing tackle, they're getting advice and the tools they need to make their most of their time fishing.'

International sales were up 96.1% during the period, driven by Angling Direct's new German language website.

'The French website will be launching soon, and a BeneLux site after that. A challenge will be to ensure that these customers get the same level of service that those in the UK do,' Mr Bailey added.

'For the time being we'll be supplying out of Rackheath, but in the next 18 months we'd like to open a European Distribution centre – perhaps earlier depending on Brexit.'

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