Fishing Republic expands into the South

Fishing Republic's CEO Steve Gross is keen to expand the chain into the South
Fishing Republic's CEO Steve Gross is keen to expand the chain into the South

​Fishing Republic, one of the UK’s biggest fishing tackle retailers, is to expand into the South of England with the purchase of Cotswold Angling.

The Rotherham-based firm said it has raised £500,000 through a share placing to pay for the deal and to fund the opening of a new store in Crewe as it presses ahead with its national expansion plans.

​Steve Gross, chief executive of Fishing Republic, said the acquisition of Cotswold Angling will establish Fishing Republic with a presence in the South of England and the new store in Crewe will complement the company's existing outlets in the North of England.

Both moves are part of the company's strategy to build a significant market presence through acquisition and organic growth.

The deals follow the announcement last month of the firm's expansion into the West Midlands with the opening of a store in South Birmingham, and the upgrading of its Hull outlet to new larger premises.

Established in 2000 and based near Swindon, Cotswold Angling operates from a 4,100 sq ft site at a light industrial unit and caters for all types of fishing disciplines.

In the year to September 2014, Cotswold Angling generated sales of £43​0,000​ and made a marginal operating profit.

The total consideration for the acquisition is £170,000 (subject to a stock value of at least £170,000), payable in cash on completion. The co-founder and director of the business, Trevor Gunning, will be joining the senior management team of Fishing Republic as a regional operations manager.

The store in Crewe is an 11,000 sq ft site close to the M6, and located next to a fishery. The store offers an extensive display area and Fishing Republic expects to launch the outlet in March 2016.

​​"I am delighted to announce Fishing Republic's first acquisition since we joined AIM in June and the planned opening of a new store in Crewe," said Mr Gross.

"The acquisition of Cotswold Angling establishes our presence in the South of England while the new outlet at Crewe complements our existing store network in the North of England. Both outlets readily fit our 'destination store' model, which is designed to attract fishermen from a wide area.

"Our aim is to build a substantial presence in a market which is highly fragmented, and we will continue to look for further opportunities to expand our geographic footprint whilst also building our online offering."

​The ​c​ompany also announce​d​ the appointment of Russell Holmes as its finance director. Mr Holmes takes over from Robert Tippett, with the handover taking effect on January 1.

"Russell has been working with Fishing Republic since 2008, prior to which he has held roles in private practice and industry," said Mr Gross.

"The board would like to thank Robert, who will resign from his position on December 31, for his contribution to the company, particularly during the IPO process."