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Fishing Republic Corporate Information
Fishing is one of the UK’s largest participation sports, attracting approximately four million participants over the two years to 2012 and generating approximately £3.5 billion per year on average in direct and indirect sales. There are a number of bodies promoting the sport and, in 2012, Defra and the Environment Agency commissioned the Angling Trust, the representative body for anglers in England, to compile a national strategy for the future of angling participation, resulting in the publication of ‘Fishing for Life’, which sets out a five year plan to promote fishing in the UK.
In a highly fragmented market, Fishing Republic is one of the largest retailers of fishing tackle in the UK by floorspace. The Group’s origins date back to 1985 when its Founder and Chief Executive, Steve Gross, aged 13 years, established a business selling fishing flies and fly tying materials to fishing tackle wholesalers. Operating from physical stores and online, the Group today caters for all types of anglers (coarse, carp, game and sea fishing), supplying a comprehensive range of product, including leading brands.
The Group currently operates a chain of seven retail outlets in the North of England, with a combined footprint of approximately 61,500 ft2 of retail and warehousing space. Stores are typically located in out-of-town light industrial sites with car parking facilities, and sales staff are able to provide advice on products and share an interest in fishing. The Directors believe that the wide range of products and knowledgeable staff serve to make the outlets ‘destination’ stores, which draw customers from a wide area.
Fishing Republic generates approximately 49 per cent. of its sales online via third party online retailers and its own websites. The Group has also developed a range of own brand products, including Klobba for clothing and Theseus for fishing tackle. In addition, the Group has established third party, cost effective manufacturing in the Far East for own brand products.
The fishing tackle retail sector is highly fragmented, predominantly comprising a large number of independent retailers including a few established small chains. The Directors believe that there is an opportunity to act as a consolidator in the sector and build a significant market presence through acquisition and organic growth. The Directors believe that Fishing Republic is the only participant in the market looking to act as a consolidator, giving the Group the benefit of first-mover advantage.