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Angling Direct: Attempt to consolidate fishing industry

Angling Direct is the largest specialist fishing tackle and equipment retailer in the UK. The company had humble beginnings, starting as a single tackle shop in the Norfolk Broads. As of 2018, it sells a comprehensive range of over 21,500 fishing tackle products and associated angling paraphernalia, including its successful own brand, ‘Advanta’, launched in March 2016.

In July 2017, the company cast off into the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on the London Stock Exchange, entering the next stage of growth. The initial public offering raised GBP9m ($11.6m) to fund further  expansion, with GBP7.4m ($9.5m) going towards new stores, takeovers of three rivals and extending Angling Direct’s online operations.

At a time of great uncertainty on Britain’s high streets, with some of the best known names in retail struggling or going bust, Angling Direct is opening more shops. Its 23rd shop opened its doors to customers in Guildford on 1 September 2018.

In addition to its brick and mortar shops, the company sells online via its own website and other third party websites. Angling Direct already exports to more than 40 countries and launched a German website in June 2018. Other European websites are to follow later in the year with local customer service teams to support them.

The rapid growth in sales is mostly due to the expansion and investment, both in stores and online, rather than an explosion of people taking up fishing as a hobby. Acquisitions into new areas of the country with a strong angling demographic are another way of expanding for Angling Direct.

Despite the adverse winter weather earlier in the year and the very hot summer, Angling Direct’s combined online and store sales jumped to GBP21.9m ($28.2m) in the six months to 31 July 2018. This was a 56% year-on-year increase. The company is in prime position to consolidate the industry, currently made up of 1,800 privately owned shops.