Angling Direct reels in punters in record start to the year

Angling Direct has hailed a record start to the year as the firm announced the opening of its first fishing tackle “destination store” in Nottingham.

Britain’s largest fishing tackle retailer said like-for-like store sales were up by 29.5% in February and March while overall sales were up 28.5% compared with the previous year.

Online orders for January and February were up by 27% and the company’s German, French and Dutch websites helped European sales surge 66%.

Angling Direct’s new Nottingham store, located in a popular fishing area with strong angling communities near the River Trent, is part of an expansion drive that will see 20 new locations open this year and next as the firm bucks the gloom on the high street.

The group now has 27 UK stores.

Chief executive Darren Bailey said: “We are very excited to have opened our Nottingham store, which is set in a very popular angling area near the River Trent. The location also offers a good number of local lakes which all cover a broad range of fishing disciplines.

“As we seek to cater for all anglers across the UK with a new and modern retail offering, we will continue to strategically expand our physical geographical footprint, as well as enhance our online offering in terms of products, experience and education in order to help raise the profile of angling.”

Earlier this year, Angling said it expects to post a 39% jump in revenue to £42 million for the year ended January 31 thanks to higher sales both in store and online.

Angling Direct has been helped by its main rival, Fishing Republic, collapsing into administration in December after it failed to raise emergency funding.

It will announce full-year results in May.