Monday, September 25, 2017

News: Sales up as Fishing Republic continues with expansion plans

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Rotherham-based retailer, Fishing Republic, expects to move back into profit this year as the high level of investment in expansion begins to pay off in the second half of the year.

One of the largest fishing tackle retailers in the UK, the Eastwood company floated on the AIM stock exchange in 2015, raising millions to help carry out its expansion plans. A new share placing during 2016 landed a further £3.75m.

Fishing Republic is acting as a consolidator and expansion plans involve new larger format stores and snapping up smaller, often family-owned fishing retail businesses.

Seven stores have opened this calendar year, with the network growing to 19. New store openings replicate the "destination" store format, catering for all types of fishing disciplines with an extensive product range, and are located in light-industrial estates with convenient access and good car parking facilities. New locations for stores are being reviewed, as are potential acquisitions.

Reporting its interim financial results for the six months ended June 30 2017, the Eastwood firm said that revenues were up 64% to £4.09m from the £2.5m in 2016, with like-for-like sales up by 22%. The investment in expansion meant that overall a loss before tax was posted of £0.12m. The same period last year saw a profit before tax of £0.16m.

Fishing Republic continues to execute its multi-channel growth model, focusing on transitioning the majority of online sales to its own websites, where margins are higher and direct relationships can be created with customers. Website sales accelerated in the first half of 2017, with sales up by 140% year-on-year. Total online sales, including revenues through third party platforms, rose by 23% to £929,400.

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James Newman, chairman of Fishing Republic, said: "Fishing Republic continues to deliver on its ambitions to materially expand its presence, both physically and online, in the fishing tackle marketplace. This is evident in the strong revenue growth achieved in the first half of the year, as store sales rose by 83% and sales via the company's own website grew by 140% in the period.

"The opportunity for Fishing Republic to establish a dominant position in its highly fragmented sector is exciting and the group remains very well-positioned for ongoing growth, both in store and online."

Steve Gross, CEO at Fishing Republic, added: "I am delighted with the progress we have made so far this year. We have continued with the expansion of our "destination" store network, opening five new stores in the period with a further two opened in August. Our estate now stands at 19 stores and covers new geographic regions, including South East Midlands and East Anglia, which will also help to support our online strategy.

"Online sales are also a key focus and we continue to transition away from third party platforms to our own websites, particularly www.fishingrepublic.net. Sales via our own sites grew by 140% and we are supporting them with significant new investment in our site functionality and services. The average customer basket value on our own site was £70.59, compared to £14.54 average basket generated by third party marketplaces.

"We remain excited about the opportunity for consolidation, given the fragmented nature of the sector, and continue to consider complementary acquisitions, as well as organic growth opportunities.

"We look forward to a second half of continuing strong progress."

Fishing Republic website

Images: Fishing Republic / Google Maps


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