Tackle giant Fishtec to close down

THE UK’s ‘biggest’ mail order fishing tackle retailer is to cease trading.

Near to closing – Fishtec is big in online sales, mail order brochures, and a well stocked shop.

In a surprising move, Fishtec embarked upon a major ‘closing down’ sale, ready to cease its operations at some point early in 2020.

The discounting blitz, via its base in Brecon in mid-Wales, is seeing huge savings off many top-brand items.

Fishtec has marketed itself as the ‘UK’s largest and best mail order fishing tackle retailer’.

Its retail outlet in Brecon will also close after the big clearace sale. It’s there that bargain hunters have been snapping up price-slashed items over recent weeks, saving over 50 per cent.

Fishtec, is part of the much larger BVG Group Ltd, also based in Brecon.

BVG runs a number of mail order, internet, catalogue and goods distribution businesses covering sports, home and gardens and nutrition.

BVG also have the Total Fishing Gear brand, popularised by big carp ace Dave Lane and in the past by popular all-rounder Matt Hayes. TFG will be kept.

With over 750 employees, BVG remains strong and is one of the largest employers in the area. It was visited by Prime Minister Boris Johnson soon after his initial appointment in May.

BVG boasts of having over 30 million visits to its various websites each, has distributed four million orders overall to its customers, and has annual sales of £140 million.

Why Fishtec chose to close

Allan Crawford-Plane, marketing director of Fishtec: “The decision to close Fishtec was based on declining sales and the impossibility of making a profit on general fishing tackle retail.

“With the growth of sales with low prices on places like Amazon and eBay, the profit margins are too small.

“The only way forward is to focus on growing our particular brands like Total Fishing Gear. These will continue to operate using their own websites.

“We will guarantee all existing customer orders at Fishtec and will run a closing down sale with tackle of other brands marked down at up to half price.

“No staff are being made redundant as they are being absorbed into the other brands like TFG,” Allan added.

In a totally seperate move, BVG’s Airflo brand, which makes fly-fishing tackle, has been taken over by the American company Mayflower Outdoors. It will continue to operate under the Airflo brand name, still based in Brecon.

Angling Direct’s latest growth

2019 will go down as another very difficult year for much of the fishing tackle retail trade. Shops to go included the big, original Erics Angling Centre in the north and long-established The Friendly Fisherman in the south.

But as news of the Fishtec closure broke, ever-expanding tackle chain Angling Direct opened a new store. The latest AD branch is in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

The company revealed they achieved record performance during the ‘Black Friday Week’ at the end of last year. Total sales were up 11.3 per cent to £1.86 million from £1.67 million in 2018.

During this period, Angling Direct supplied 5,868 new customers. Profit during this period was up 49.5 per cent on 2018.

AD chief executive Darren Bailey said: “We are excited to have opened our latest store in Barnsley, which supports the recent opening of the Rotherham store.

“The new store offers products for all disciplines across this very enthusiastic angling community.

“As we seek to cater for all anglers across the UK with a new and modern retail offering, we are continuing to strategically expand our store footprint, as well as enhance our online offering in terms of products, experience and education in order to help raise the profile of angling.”

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