THE UK’s first ever publicly quoted tackle retailer, Fishing Republic, has published its results for the first half of this financial year and they present a healthy picture of continued growth and expansion.

Fishing Republic predict they will have to have specialised tackle shops in the future and move away from general mixed stores.

While accounts showed a small pre-tax deficit of £0.12 million, this was fully in line with management expectations and was mainly due to the heavy capital investment of £0.88 million in new stores.

Fishing Republic chief executive Steve Gross (pictured) commented: “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.

“Total store sales were up 83 per cent to £3.17m with like-for-like sales up 21 per cent and overall revenues up 64 per cent to £4.09 million.”

Fishing Republic’s new stores

Steve continued: “Our new ‘destination’ stores opened in Milton Keynes, Ipswich, Reading, Kings Lynn, Clavering Lakes in Essex, Gloucester and Huntingdon and our geographic reach extended into new regions, including South East Midlands and East Anglia.

“The transition to our own website sales (from third party platform sales) progressed well with our own website sales up 140 per cent and accounted for 57 per cent of all online sales (2016: 29 per cent), and we launched an enhanced www.fishingrepublic.net site on March 1, 2017.

“We started life a few years ago with just six stores in the north and have grown quickly and while I can’t reveal specific details, the group remains very well-positioned for further growth, with acquisitions under active consideration.

“Our model is to build large stores of around 4,000 square feet where people can drive to and sample the widest possible range of equipment but we also are willing to consider taking over larger existing tackle shops where appropriate like we did in Swindon.

“We now have two large stores actually on fisheries, one in Crewe and one at Clavering Lakes in Essex and this is a model we are also happy to develop as they cater for fisherman actually there to fish as well as visitors.

“I’m sure existing small tackle shops will also survive alongside the bigger outlets but I predict they will need to become more specialised, he concluded.

Fishing Republic’s ambitions realised

James Newman, company chairman, commented: “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 per cent and sales via the company’s own website grew by 140 per cent 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 on-going growth, both in store and online,” he added.

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