European retailers cautiously optimistic about 2012 trade
Europe’s angling retailers are remaining cautiously optimistic about trading prospects for the year ahead, according to a survey in the latest issue of Angling International.
As manufacturers begin making their plans for EFTTEX, the message from retailers in the three biggest European economies, Germany, France and the UK, is that anglers will still buy tackle in 2012 but there is a continued trend towards high value, low cost items.
Manufacturers that adapt to the new realities of the market will prosper, the retailers say. Those that do not move with the times, or who are already struggling to make a profit, will find the next year extremely challenging.
For those manufacturers preparing to showcase new products at EFTTEX, the advice is clear, especially from host nation France.
Laurent Vallenet, the Director General of French retail group Europêche, says: “The market has changed. Anglers are looking harder for the best prices and they are buying fewer high investment products like rods and reels.
“It’s important to react. When there is less available money then you have to adapt and make less expensive products available.”
Bertrand Bouis agrees. As the International Fishing Range Manager of Caperlan, the angling brand sold through the Decathlon chain of stores, he also offers some extra advice to manufacturers.
Says Bouis: “Anglers will focus their spend on products that have a real promise of high added value. For that reason, I think that even if the environment becomes tough there will always be a place for innovative brands that provide something very new.
“In the year ahead, companies will need to be more and more innovative with their products and also the way they sell them.”
Paul Devlin, the MD of the Glasgow Angling retail chain in the UK, says there are still opportunities for growth – for the strongest businesses. He says: “Whilst people are spending less, and more cautiously, there is still a lot of business to be won and it will be the survival of the fittest.
“I am very optimistic about the future for my business. We are still growing and reaping the benefits of constant reinvestment in our infrastructure.”
Meanwhile, the message from Germany is even more upbeat. Dieter Willenbruch, the man behind the Fisherman’s Partner franchise operation, says: “We are closely involved in the retail business in Germany and Austria – two markets which are doing very well.
“We do not have the same economic crisis at the moment that is causing problems in the rest of the European Union. On the contrary, our unemployment rate is the lowest it has been for many years and the prospects for most companies are quite promising.
“We intend to open at least five new shops this year, so over all, I am quite optimistic – at least for our organisation.”