Fishing Republic returns to profit but says full year results will fall short of expectations

Fishing Republic, one of the UK's biggest fishing tackle retailers, has returned to profit as it cashes in on the craze for fishing following the popularity of programmes such as ITV's The Big Fish Off.

Fishing Republic's CEO Steve Gross said the group is accelerating investment across the business, including multi-channel

The Rotherham-based firm said revenue jumped 34 per cent to £2.5m in the six months to June 30 and it reported a pre-tax profit of £157,000, compared with a loss of£150,000 this time last year following exceptional costs.

However the group warned that investment costs and lower than expected summer sales mean that full year results will be below market expectations.

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Chairman James Newman said: “With the planned opening of two further stores before the year end, additional investment in our recent acquisition and the increase in resource across key areas, including multi-channel, the group’s cost base will rise significantly in the current financial year.

"This, coupled with lower than expected sales during the latter part of the summer season, means our results for this financial year are now anticipated to be below current market expectations. However, we believe that the benefits of our accelerated investment in both online and across the store network will begin to flow through in 2017 and continue to view the group’s growth prospects very positively.”

The group's CEO Steve Gross said: “During the period, we expanded our store network, opening two new stores, in South Birmingham and Crewe, and relocated our Hull store to new larger premises. We also completed the integration of our first acquisition, Cotswold Angling in Swindon, which has given us a presence in the South of England.

"The acquisition of Fantackletastic, in Lincoln, in September continues our geographical expansion, taking the group into the East Midlands.

“Following the successful placing in June, we are now accelerating investment across the business, including multi-channel."

Fishing Republic expects the benefits of this investment programme to come through in 2017.

Like-for-like store sales leapt 16 per cent in the first half of 2016 as fishing becomes an increasingly popular past time.

Mr Gross said the group has a strong balance sheet and the board is confident about growth prospects.

The firm said it will continue to consider further acquisitions and selective store openings.

"We look forward with confidence to reporting on the group’s ongoing growth," said Mr Gross.

The group said that sales to date have been broadly satisfactory with a quieter July and August followed by an encouraging beginning to September

Mr Newman said: “Since joining AIM in June 2015, we have made significant progress in working towards our ambition of becoming a dominant player in the highly fragmented fishing tackle market.

"These results show the group’s continuing encouraging progress. The additional funds raised in June support ongoing growth and we are pleased to welcome new shareholders including Bill Currie, Iain McDonald and Sir Terry Leahy."