The specialist fishing tackle and equipment retailer increased its network to 34 stores from 24 in the 12 months to January 31, 2020, and since then its store estate has grown to 36.
Group sales leapt by 27% to £53.2mln for the 12 months to January 31, 2020, with like-for-like store sales increasing 12%, and almost half of its sales are now coming online with 14% growth during the year, including 8% from its native-language sites in Germany, France and the Netherlands.
The AIM-listed group saw the previous year’s profit of £0.3mln flipped to an underlying (EBITDA) loss of £0.5mln after post-Christmas trading was hit by exceptional flooding, as well as wider margin pressure and a more prudent approach was taken to some legacy costs.
Net cash that stood at £6mln at the end of January, 2020, after operating cashflow swelled, however, by 41% over the year and liquidity had increased to £6.4mln by the end of May, with access to an undrawn £2.5mln short-term credit facility until September.
“Last year was a period of rapid expansion for Angling Direct, with major investment going into the opening of ten new stores, three of which were acquisitions, as well as delivering further upgrades to our online business and our own brand products,” Martyn Page, Angling Direct’s executive chairman said in the results statement.
“All of these initiatives are designed to enable us to grow market share, protect our margins and improve our customer experience.”
During the enforced closure of its stores due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Page said the online business has seen excellent growth, up 24% year-on-year in April and strengthening further in May.
“We are now in the process of preparing to open our stores safely, as we work in accordance with government advice to protect our staff and customers,” he added.
“COVID-19 aside, the board has taken progressive steps to create further operational efficiencies and address the challenges inherent in all rapidly growing businesses. We continue to focus on these steps and the opportunity to grow revenue and margins both in the UK and internationally.”
New chief executive Andy Torrance, who started in February, said the board's financial and operational priorities for the coming year are “maintaining momentum with our growth, a focus on protecting our margins and leveraging on the investments we have made to help us build resilience into the business and capitalise on the opportunities we encounter”.
Shares in the company jumped 6% to 66p in early trading on Wednesday.