Angling Direct swallows up Fosters of Birmingham

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

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Angling Direct is now the largest specialist fishing tackle and equipment retailer in the UK with 17 stores.

The news of their growth comes hot on the heels of giant tackle chain Fishing Republic revealing its own period of more impressive growth.

Fosters of Birmingham is a huge enterprise in its own right with a massive 17,000 sq ft superstore, and is one of the largest tackle retailers in Europe.

Holding £1.2 million of stock, Fosters caters for all forms of fishing, and is located just five minutes from J6 of the M6 and just 3.5 miles from Birmingham city centre in the West Midlands.

In the year to March 31, 2017, Fosters generated revenues of £5.9 million and had an operating profit before tax of £460,000, with net assets of £1.1 million.

Within net assets is the freehold property of the Fosters store, which has been recently valued at £500,000.

The acquisition increases Angling Direct’s presence in the Midlands, adding to its Halesowen and Willenhall stores.

Angling Direct’s reaction to the Fosters deal

Darren Bailey, CEO of Angling Direct, commented: “Fosters is a long-established and very successful business with a loyal customer base and knowledgeable team.

“The acquisition will be earnings enhancing from day one and validates Angling Direct’s long-term strategy – to consolidate the fishing tackle market whilst expanding our business through acquisition.

“We look forward to working closely and supporting the Fosters team with the integration over the coming months.”

Following completion of the acquisition, Mark Foster, will remain with Fosters for a few weeks to ensure a smooth handover, and Richard Foster, will continue to work in the business on a part-time basis.

The angling trade today

Naidre Werner, chairman of the Angling Trade Association, remarked: “Although this purchase reflects a trend towards a larger organisations, I don’t think anyone has anything to fear from this.

“There are still a lot of good, strong smaller retailers out there and good entrepreneurs who can make a success with new innovations.

“These large stores often in retail parks help to raise fishing’s profile with families out shopping tempted in to have a look and give fishing a try, but there will always be a place for more local specialist knowledge.

“Overall the trade is quite steady with carp and lure fishing the growth areas and our latest survey of the trade overall should be available by the end of the year,” she added.

ATA’s last national survey of the tackle trade in 2015 showed there had been in increase of revenue to £571 million, up £30 million from four years previously. But there was a small decline in the number of shops in the same period, a trend which looks likely to continue.