Thursday, September 27, 2018

News: New CEO for Fishing Republic as it sinks to loss

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Rotherham-based Fishing Republic, one of the largest fishing tackle retailers in the UK, is continuing its year of transition with the hire of a new CEO.

The Eastwood company that floated on the AIM stock exchange in 2015 has raisied millions to help carry out its expansion plans. However, turnaround plans were required during 2017 to tackle "a significant deterioration in trading."

Reporting its interim results for the six months ended June 30 2018, the company said that it is in a year of transition and that financial results "reflect the challenging period, including the very difficult trading backdrop."

Revenues of £3.4m for the period, down from £4.1m in the same period of 2017, meant that Fishing Republic posted a loss before exceptional items, interest and taxation, depreciation and amortisation of £1.4m, compared to breaking even in the same period last year.

Growth plans had been based on snapping up smaller competitors, opening destination stores and boosting online sales however, following a review, bosses closed the store in Clavering, Essex in early January 2018, and in April and May, closed four further stores, in Ipswich, Mildenhall, Swindon and Huntingdon.

Closing underperforming stores resulting in £500,000 of exceptional costs. Margins were hit by clearing old product lines and surplus stock, but there was also "downward pressure as a result of the competitive environment."

Overall store sales reduced by £0.5m to £2.7m (H1 2017: £3.2m), with like-for-like store sales decreasing by 22%, having gone up by 21% in the same period in 2017.

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Online sales over the six months decreased by £0.2m to £0.7m. A new upgraded website launched in mid-May and a new head of E-commerce is in post.

The period also saw the firm take new office space at 9 and 14 Ashley Business Court in Rotherham to act as its new administrative headquarters.

In addition to the results, it was announced that Daniel Quinn will be joining the board as CEO in October. Quinn has over 26 years' experience in the retail sector, including in senior commercial roles at Tesco, and GO Outdoors, one of the UK's largest retailers of outdoor clothing and equipment, where he was commercial director.

James Newman, chairman of Fishing Republic, said: "Fishing Republic is in a year of transition. Following a comprehensive review of the Group's operations, we have taken firm action in the first six months of the financial year to stabilise the business and to implement changes to improve its performance.

"The restructuring of the business was undertaken against very difficult trading conditions - so it has been a particularly challenging period. While the sales environment continues to be tough, with strong competitive pressures, our major shareholders have supported our plans, and we remain confident of the prospects for the business as we navigate through the current challenges.

"We are pleased to welcome Dan Quinn as Chief Executive Officer. He shares the Board's vision that there is a significant opportunity for the Group to build its presence as a multi-channel retailer of fishing tackle and equipment."

Fishing Republic website

Images: Fishing Republic

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