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Gloucestershire Business News

Angling Direct results prove fishing is on the up

Fishing equipment retailer Angling Direct has posted its latest trading results, revealing strong sales growth despite Covid-19 related disruption.

Although it's retail stores were forced to temporarily close again at the beginning of the year, total revenues rose 19.4 per cent to £38.4 million in the six months to July 31, after jumps of 54 per cent and 3.1 percent respectively in Q1 and Q2.

Angling Direct said smaller growth in the second quarter was down to performance being compared to unprecedented demand in the year prior following the unlocking of initial coronavirus restrictions.

UK online sales also grew by 15.8 per cent, but German, French and Dutch website sales fell 34.2 per cent. Angling Direct blamed this on post-Brexit issues on bait sales and significant customers disruption.

In-store sales from its 39-outlet portfolio rose by an impressive 40.1 per cent.

Angling Direct chief executive Andy Torrance said: "We are pleased to have delivered a robust financial performance in the first half of the year, building on the operational and strategic progress made last year,"

"Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, we have remained focused on driving operational excellence and taking our seamless omnichannel proposition to new and existing angling communities.

"Our market leading offering means we are well positioned to leverage the growing interest in fishing, and we look forward to further updating shareholders at the Interim Results in October."

Stroud and District Angling Club also told Mark Cummings from BBC Radio Gloucestershire that demand for the sport had exploded. Membership numbers had reportedly shot up and the club hoped to soon be competing in European competitions.

Nigel Philips, member of the club's executive committee, said: "When lockdown happened people couldn't get out in the fresh air and you couldn't fish.

"But once the angling trust made an agreement with the government that anglers could get out because its generally solitary occupation, everybody's thought 'I can go fishing'."

"So a lot of people returned to fishing last year, and of course when competitions could start again, that side of things shot up too.

"We found that this year, we virtually sold all of our licences within a couple of weeks when they went on sale in April.

"The competition side of things has really taken off again too, more like in the 60s and 70s when it was really busy."

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