Thursday, June 4, 2015

News: Fishing Republic looking to snap up minnows

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Shares in Rotherham-based retailer, Fishing Republic began trading on the London Stock Exchange today as part of its clear strategy for growth, which sees them becoming a big fish by casting its net UK wide and snapping up smaller stores.

The placing of ten million new shares at 15p per share has raised £1.5m for the Eastwood company that is already one of the largest retailers of fishing tackle in the UK by floorspace.

The fishing tackle retail sector is highly fragmented, predominantly comprising a large number of independent retailers including a few established small chains. The directors believe that there is an opportunity to act as a consolidator in the sector and build a significant market presence through acquisition and organic growth.

The directors believe that Fishing Republic is the only participant in the market looking to act as a consolidator, giving the group the benefit of "first-mover advantage."

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The group currently operates a chain of seven "destination" retail outlets in the North of England, with a combined footprint of approximately 61,500 sq ft of retail and warehousing space. The Rotherham store on Chesterton Road incorporates the company's head office and over 30,000 sq ft of warehouse capacity. The online operation gives access to 16,500 different angling products and accounts for around 49% of sales. £1.7m in online sales was secured in 2014.

The business posted steady revenues of around £3.4m for the last three years and had an operating profit of £361k in 2014.

With angling the sixth biggest sport in the UK as measured by once per month participation, the sport generates approximately £3.5 billion a year for the economy and employs approximately 37,000 people. Fishing Republic's core strategy will be to broaden its geographic footprint by acquiring other specialist fishing tackle retailers. In addition, new stores are planned and sales via the group's website platform, developed in 2014, continue to grow at rates above 30% year on year.

The first move for Fishing Republic is to progress its eighth retail store, set to be in a 9,400 sq ft industrial unit in Birmingham. Trading on AIM is also expected to allow the group to offer shares as part of acquisition deals, improve credentials and raise the group's profile.

Steve Gross, chief executive of Fishing Republic (pictured), said: "I am delighted that Fishing Republic has joined AIM and I look forward to this new phase of development for our business. We see an exciting opportunity to build Fishing Republic's presence in a highly fragmented sector and the Company's admission to AIM will assist us in realising our growth ambitions.

"A major focus is on further organic expansion, including building our online and own-brand sales. However, we also have also identified the opportunity to act as a consolidator in our sector and with our wide knowledge of both the retail and wholesale markets, Fishing Republic is ideally placed to capitalise on what we believe is our first-mover advantage.

"Fishing Republic is a business that we have built from the ground up, and we are excited about the potential opportunities as a publicly listed company."

Fishing Republic website

Images: Fishing Republic

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