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Global growth and risk reversal to thank for Angling Direct's record year

PUBLISHED: 12:02 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:02 13 May 2019

The team at Angling Direct, a fishing tackle and equipment retailer which has grown to the biggest in the UK. Picture: Angling Direct

The team at Angling Direct, a fishing tackle and equipment retailer which has grown to the biggest in the UK. Picture: Angling Direct

Angling Direct

Growth at one of Norfolk's best-performing businesses has hit new highs as Angling Direct reported sales of £42m for the last financial year.

Angling Direct chief executive Darren Bailey, at the Rackheath distribution centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAngling Direct chief executive Darren Bailey, at the Rackheath distribution centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Wroxham-born company has boomed over the past few years meaning it is now the country's largest online and in-store specialist retailer of fishing tackle.

Having started as a single tackle shop on the Broads, the company now has 27 stores with a further five sites identified for further openings.

Chief executive Darren Bailey, said: "Every year has been record-breaking and it looks like we're on track to do the same in the first quarter of this year.

"We're keen to keep the quality and culture of Angling Direct the same across all stores, irrespective of how long they've been open."

Online sales have contributed to the company's significant growth with sales up 30% to £22m.

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Bricks-and-mortar store sales were also up 50% to £19.7m with international trade leaping by 112% thanks to new German, French and Benelux websites.

However orders are coming in from further afield with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Denmark bringing in sales in excess of £800,000.

"In the next few years I believe we'll open a European distribution centre as currently we do all of our distribution out of Rackheath. Delivery charges in the UK are around £9 whereas to France it's around £30, so we see fewer returning customers in those regions," Mr Bailey said.

Repeat custom is a huge driver of growth, with 55% of all store customers returning on average every 31 days.

"Customers return because we have such a focus on stock and making sure there's always enough in store. If you go into a shop and you don't see what you want you're less likely to go back," Mr Bailey said.

The company also has a strong outlook for its 2019/20 financial year having acquired Chapmans Angling for £1.4m in February 2019 - adding two stores to its account books.

And the company has a recipe for success when identifying successful store locations.

"We use data from the Environment Agency to see where fishing licenses are being requested," Mr Bailey explained. "It's like risk reversal because we know there's an angling community there."

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