Angling Direct hooks in hefty profits as fishing flies

fishingMortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing might not be the Love Island generation’s idea of a fun watch but it seems to have caught the imagination of many others after retailer Angling Direct has reported profits have more than doubled over the past 12 months as it develops its omnichannel offer.

The specialist fishing tackle and equipment retailer saw pre-tax profits rocket to £1.5m in the year to 31 January, up from £700,000 the year before, while sales jumped 10.2% to £81.7m, boosted by a 9% rise in UK revenue to £77.4m and a 36.3% surge to £4.3m in European online sales.

Angling Direct boosted its gross margin to 34.9%, driven by improvement in ranges and development in own-brand lines helping to offset increased levels of store theft.

It attributed part of its growth to the launch of its omnichannel loyalty club MyAD, which has gained over 200,000 members during the year.

Angling Direct chief executive Steve Crowe said: “The last 12 months have seen us further expand market share and grow sales, despite the continued industry headwinds.

“Throughout the period, we have made good progress against our strategic objectives. Through a prudent and considered investment strategy, we have continued our store rollout plans in the UK and, for the first time, into mainland Europe.”

Crowe said the opening of its Utrecht store in the Netherlands was a “significant milestone”, adding: “We are pleased that our European customers can now participate in the full omnichannel proposition. I am excited by the significant progress since the launch of MyAD and the opportunity this creates to build Europe’s largest and most engaging fishing club, harnessing the passion of a thriving angling community.

“The board remains optimistic about the long-term growth prospects of the group, and despite the challenges we have seen in consumer confidence, inflation, and sub-optimal weather, the angling market remains resilient.”

The profits surge is the perfect antidote to the retailer’s 2021 woes, when it was hooked by a major hack attack which saw its website, and social media accounts compromised, with customers being redirected to adult site Pornhub.

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