Tuesday, April 12, 2016

News: Fishing Republic remains bouyant

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Revenues are up but profit has fallen as Rotherham-based retailer, Fishing Republic reports its first year results since it floated on the stock exchange.

The placing of ten million new shares at 15p per share in June 2015 raised £1.5m for the Eastwood company that is already one of the largest retailers of fishing tackle in the UK by floorspace. Floating on AIM, the directors believe that Fishing Republic is the only participant in the market looking to act as a consolidator and snapping up smaller, often family-owned fishing retail businesses.

"Encouraging results in line with market expectations" have now been reported for the year ended December 31 2015.

The results show that sales for the year as a whole increased by 22% to £4.12m, compared to the £3.39m in 2014, with sales in the second half after launching on the stock exchange rising by 45% year-on-year. The group said that this rise reflected the benefit of additional resources spent on online sales and marketing activity as well as improved stock availability in stores having invested the funds raised at the IPO.

The additional costs of being a quoted company and increased marketing expenditure meant that the group reported profit before tax (which includes expensed IPO costs of £299,000) was £5,700, down from £295,000 in 2014. However, the group's gross profit increased by 21% to £1.88m (2014: £1.55m).

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Further funds have been raised to support Fishing Republic's store expansion strategy and the first acquisition was completed in December, purchasing Cotswold Angling, near Swindon. New stores in South Birmingham, Crewe and Hull (replacing an existing, much smaller outlet) have recently commenced trading, in time for the start of the 2016 fishing season.

As well as building online sales (which are up 30% year-on-year), the group said that it has a strong pipeline of opportunities to expand the store network and their geographic reach. Progress is expected to be made over the current financial year.

Steve Gross, chief executive of Fishing Republic, said: "It has been an exciting year for Fishing Republic, with our admission to AIM marking an important step in the business’s development. The funds we raised at admission have helped to support a 45% increase in sales in the second half year-on-year and, along with the additional new funds raised in December, we have also been able to expand our store network and to grow online sales.

"The business is well placed for the new fishing season and we remain very optimistic about prospects as we look to continue to develop the business."

James Newman, chairman at Fishing Republic, added: "The Group has made encouraging progress since joining AIM last June, benefiting from both the deployment of additional funds and a greater market profile. Trading in the first few months of the new financial year, seasonally our quietest quarter, has been in line with the Board's expectations. The Board has a strong pipeline of opportunities to expand the store network and we expect the Group to continue to develop over the current financial year."

Fishing Republic website

Images: Fishing Republic

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