Winter floods send Angling Direct reeling

Tackle group Angling Direct has warned over annual losses after seeing a slump in fishing activity caused by recent winter floods.

Britain’s largest fishing tackle firm saw shares slump as much as 14% at one stage after it revealed trading since Christmas has been “disappointing” amid the exceptional flooding across Britain, which will impact results.

It said the “lower levels of fishing activity meant that the higher margin, consumable products, were hit disproportionally”.

Together with a “more prudent” approach to some of its legacy costs, it said this is set to push it to an underlying loss of up to £500,000 for the year to January 31.

It comes after the UK has been battered by a wet winter so far, with storms Ciara and Dennis causing extensive flooding in many parts of Britain in recent days.

But Angling Direct said despite the post-Christmas trading woes, it expects to report a 26.5% surge in annual revenues to £53.1 million, with like-for-like trading up 12% across stores.

Total store sales jumped by 41.3% as it added 10 new outlets, including two through acquisition, taking its total to 34.

Online sales grew 13.3% to £25.2 million, with international markets now making up a fifth of website revenues.

The company has acted as a consolidator in the UK’s fragmented fishing retail market and was boosted by the collapse of its main rival, Fishing Republic, in December 2018 after it failed to raise emergency funding.

Angling Direct said it opened its first store of the new financial year in Warrington on February 13.