From 1986, the Founders started to acquire interests in a number of small fishing tackle shops in Norfolk. In 2003 the founders, through Hillages Limited, acquired the freehold of the current Norwich premises and opened a ‘‘superstore’’ on this site, which was the first retail unit to be branded ‘‘Angling Direct’’. The Angling Direct website to support the retail activities was launched in May 2000.
In November 2008, the Company acquired an interest in J. Simpson (Angling) Limited which operated an existing fishing tackle store in Waltham Cross. The Company acquired HL & S Limited in May 2012, which operated an existing fishing tackle store in Chelmsford. At the same time, Hillages Limited agreed to transfer all of its fishing tackle retail business to the Company. Between May 2014 and November 2016 the Company continued to roll out new stores across the country including a fishing tackle store in Sheffield through the acquisition of Climax Fishing Tackle Limited in July 2016. The Company has funded the opening of new stores and the acquisition of existing stores through a mixture of investment from existing Shareholders, debt and working capital.
In March 2016, the Company formally launched its own brand, Advanta. All of the brand’s products, with the exception of bait, are manufactured in China. The Advanta brand is primarily focused at the carp angler.
The Directors believe a key milestone in the history of the Company was the opening of the Company’s central distribution centre in Rackheath, Norfolk in March 2015. The opening of the central distribution centre by the Group was necessary to support the core online growth strategy of the Group moving forwards.