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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There has been a lot said on here recently about the pros and cons of high street tackle shops vs. internet retailers. As a former shopkeeper myself, I know the difficulties that face the retail trade. But I thought I would share with you some recent experiences.

For a while now I have been thinking of treating myself to a new rod for a birthday present (next week). I can't afford a limitless budget, but I am a bit of a self-confessed tackle tart. So I started looking around. Of all the local shops near me in Lincolnshire, not one has anything approaching a full range of any of the "tarts' favorites", such as Century, Daiwa, AFAW, etc. Some have one or two examples, some have none at all. Having been on holiday this past week, I have looked as far afield as Bridlington (4 Centurys, best selection I have found) up in Yorkshire and Hunstanton down in Norfolk. If it weren't for the Internet I wouldn't know that some brands even existed, let alone made so many different models. Zziplex rods seem to be available exclusively on Mars (or on the Internet).

And it's not just rods. I also wanted to buy a couple of bulk boxes of hooks for the winter. Best I could find was a box of 30 Sakumas this afternoon. If it weren't for the Internet, I wouldn't even know you can buy aberdeens in boxes of 100.

I don't pretend to have carried out an exhaustive survey (the wife wouldn't let me). There is at least one shop I am familiar here on the east coast that I have been unable to get to, and there are probably more. But if what I have experienced is typical of the country as a whole, long live the Internet. Of course not every shop can afford to be as big as Summerlands, Gerry's, Spotty Dog, et al. It is logical that shops will only stock what they can sell. But it makes it hard for the manufacturers to bring their products to the attention of prospective customers, and impossible for customers to see what they are getting before they pay for it.

I don't believe this situation benefits any one, but I can't see an immediate answer. I don't want to start another interminable argument, but I would appreciate constructive comments.
 

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When you say "former shopkeeper" was that perhaps many moons ago and that you are now out-of-touch with modern tackle? If so then welcome to my world and I truly commiserate with you.

It is guys with your honesty and experience that other will listen to but I cannot believe that something such as hooks in boxes of 100 elude you.

Who wants to supply the link from 2 days ago that relates to hooks per 100?

Other than that, I truly comprehend your frustration.
 

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First to say I like you have been in the trade for a number of years.

The question will always be why do I need to go to a shop other than for fresh bait. Even this can now be obtained via the postal services.
Every day that passes the cost of travel goes up and up one way or another. The internet provides all the choice one could desire in all manner of goods. In most cases it is even after including P&P far cheaper.
The trader has far less overheads and can pass the saving on in a lot of cases.
Provided the purchaser always remembers "buyer beware" "if it looks too good to be true it probably is" etc there are some great deals to be had from all over the world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First let me say, I was a retailer and my father before me, but not in the tackle trade. Until the 1980's we sold menswear, however the problems of stockholding vs. making a profit remain the same.

As for the hooks, I have so far found just one shop selling boxes of 100, and they were an uptide pattern that was of no use to me. Apart from that, hooks round here come in tiny packets, and in large sizes that means as few as 3 hooks. That to me is stupid.

I also appreciate that running a high street shop is expensive, but keeping prices artificially high and stocking a dramatically restricted range of goods is not the answer. Customer service is worth a premium over what the internet retailers charge, but not the kind of premiums I have encountered - as much as 25 percent.

I don't know what the solution is, but I believe the manufacturers have a contribution to make. It cannot be in the interests of the big names in fishing to have no high street presence across a huge swathe of prime fishing territory.

I believe the market is there for at least a few more large-area stores. Not far from here, one retailer has taken over an entire unit on an industrial estate. 90 percent of the stock is dedicated to coarse fishing, and the shop is busy - on every occasion I have been there, mid-week and at weekends, there have been two sales staff constantly serving. So why should sea fishing be so different?
 

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one retailer has taken over an entire unit on an industrial estate.

I must admit in my industry I am seeing more and more of this due to the overheads being so much lower when compared to a high street location, trouble being most businesses in industrial units seem to struggle in getting full retail permission from the local council.
 

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As for the hooks, I have so far found just one shop selling boxes of 100, and they were an uptide pattern that was of no use to me. Apart from that, hooks round here come in tiny packets, and in large sizes that means as few as 3 hooks. That to me is stupid.
Did you ask the shop if they could get the hooks in bulk for you? 99% of anglers want small 'cheap' (although more expensive in the long run) packets of hooks, in my experience anyway.

As a former retailer you will me more then aware that it impossible to stock things of higher value on the off chance someone will come in and want it, and with there being such a massive range of hooks from various companies it would be impossible to have everything in. If you do have some in you can guarantee it's not the pattern that the chap is looking for.

Most shops should be able to get a box of hooks for you within a couple of days, at worst a week and most would price match. If they wont then they need to start to get with the times and deserve to lose your custom. But if folk don't at least ask and give the retailer a chance then they have what can they do?

I understand exactly where you are coming from though and it is more frustrating for us not being able to stock everything but it is just impossible for most small retailers who 99% of the time, are trying their very best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I do understand the problems retailers face, but it is a chicken and egg situation - if anglers don't know a product exists, they are not likely to ask for it. And my enquiries about anything not in stock have so far fallen on stony ground. There is surely an opportunity here, for both retailer and customer, but how best to exploit it?
 

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Lets take the rods first. It would be next to impossible to have on display an example of every rod from every manufacturer that is used for sea fishing. Both cost and space required would be prohibitive, not withstanding the fact that some manufacturers want to supply on a bulk basis or use only certain outlets.

As for the hooks, my guess is that they are catering mostly for visitors to the area who only need a small number of hooks either to replace losses or to try something different. Again, you need to look at the cost of having boxes of 100 hooks of every size and pattern.

How many people in any particular area of the country are going to be needing these bulk items on a regular basis? Add to this list reels, line rig making bits, leads etc and you have a huge capital outlay. Something a traditional retail unit cannot cope with and even a megastore would struggle.
 

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I do understand the problems retailers face, but it is a chicken and egg situation - if anglers don't know a product exists, they are not likely to ask for it. And my enquiries about anything not in stock have so far fallen on stony ground. There is surely an opportunity here, for both retailer and customer, but how best to exploit it?
It's a shame to hear you weren't helped out-there really should be no excuse, aside from the fact that we tend to have minimum orders got get carriage paid, but even then it can't be too much more then a week before a shop orders again? But then again thats the way i do it but others may differ?

The only opportunity for retailers to exploit has already been exploited to the full and that is the internet. As i said before the only thing a small retailer can do is to try their best and get what they think is a good range in stock bearing in mind financial and physical restraints.

You mentioned before that maybe manufacturers have a responsibility to help out the smaller shops. I can obviously understand that and see where you are coming from but the reality of the situation is that most don't. The more you buy the cheaper you get it. Taking advantage of economies of scale is standard business practice and although it doesn't help anyone but the biggest it is a reality of business. I think folk should appreciate this when they talk of a '25% premium' in a tackle shop-it is generally because we have had to pay 25% more then the big boys. It's a bit crap to be honest as it only helps the big boys get bigger and the small guys get smaller but again, it's just basic rules of business and there is nothing anyone can ever do about it. We just need to make a bit less money, stop moaning and get on with offering good quality advice, good fresh bait and good customer service.
 

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If you wanted to buy a top-end rod from a shop you could do a lot worse than speaking to Steve Allmark at Channel Angling in Deal.

His rod-rack is verging on pornographic for a man who loves nice gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Unfortunately Deal is a long way from here, about 4 - 5 hours each way at a guess. But if Steve Allmark can do it, why not others?

Of course not every shop can stock every rod/reel/line, etc. made by one manufacturer, let alone several. On the other hand, I don't like the thought of a world in which I have to wait for the next issue of a national magazine to see what new innovation is about to hit the beach, then trawl the internet to find who is selling it cheapest. I buy on the internet because it gives me a choice I can't get elsewhere at low prices, but at the risk of buying a pig in a poke.

I would hate to see the demise of the local tackle shop that does as much trade in local bait and local knowledge as in hooks, lines and sinkers. I really do see the shopkeeper's point of view here. But why should the customer have to either a) choose from a limited selection, none of which may be suitable but which the shop will push because it has to make a profit or b) risk buying over the internet on the strength of the "word on the beach" or just take a punt because the photo looks good?

Just as there is a place for the local shop, so too there is a place for a few more "angling superstores" where the customer can at least see what he is getting. Here's a thought that will upset a few tackle dealers (sorry, bigman, I really do appreciate what you say): When Apple wanted to bring their products to the customer, instead of just discounting to move the metal, among other things they launched the international chain of Apple stores that market the Apple lifestyle experience. It will never happen, but what if the likes of Pure Fishing, or even Messrs. Chilcott and Shambrook were to do the same?

Sorry to go on about this, but I feel as though both tackle shops and anglers are in a cleft stick the way things are at the moment.
 

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Unfortunately Deal is a long way from here, about 4 - 5 hours each way at a guess. But if Steve Allmark can do it, why not others?

Of course not every shop can stock every rod/reel/line, etc. made by one manufacturer, let alone several. On the other hand, I don't like the thought of a world in which I have to wait for the next issue of a national magazine to see what new innovation is about to hit the beach, then trawl the internet to find who is selling it cheapest. I buy on the internet because it gives me a choice I can't get elsewhere at low prices, but at the risk of buying a pig in a poke.

I would hate to see the demise of the local tackle shop that does as much trade in local bait and local knowledge as in hooks, lines and sinkers. I really do see the shopkeeper's point of view here. But why should the customer have to either a) choose from a limited selection, none of which may be suitable but which the shop will push because it has to make a profit or b) risk buying over the internet on the strength of the "word on the beach" or just take a punt because the photo looks good?

Just as there is a place for the local shop, so too there is a place for a few more "angling superstores" where the customer can at least see what he is getting. Here's a thought that will upset a few tackle dealers (sorry, bigman, I really do appreciate what you say): When Apple wanted to bring their products to the customer, instead of just discounting to move the metal, among other things they launched the international chain of Apple stores that market the Apple lifestyle experience. It will never happen, but what if the likes of Pure Fishing, or even Messrs. Chilcott and Shambrook were to do the same?

Sorry to go on about this, but I feel as though both tackle shops and anglers are in a cleft stick the way things are at the moment.
I can't see a single thing that you have said that i disagree with. I absolutely agree with what you say about superstores and why shouldn't anglers be able to see what they want but let me try and give you my opinion on the difficulty in setting up such a big store.

I have been taking all sorts of free business courses with other young retailers from all around the county and i can tell you for a 100% fact that the margins that we are dealing with are by far and away the worst that anyone has ever heard of. Not a single other retailer i have spoken to would even dream of taking on anything with less then a 100% margin. On higher value gear i can give you a guarantee that any tackle shop would be doing well to be making half of that. Even less if you have to price match something from wegivefishingtackleawayfornexttonothing.com

To make a shop of that size (and pretty much anysize)viable not only would you have to stock a 'full range' of sea fishing gear but also match, carp and fly and to have everything for each of those disciplines would take a lottery win size of investment.

But that said these shops do exist in America so maybe it could happen at some point? I'm not sure if it would as the Americans embrace capitalism whole heatedly but we British seem to be much more traditional in our shopping.

There are shops out there that have everything from everyone in other fishing disciplines but not so much in sea fishing. I speak from my own experience here but i suspect that it is the case throughout most of the country when i say that sea anglers spend less then match anglers and carp anglers do. Sea anglers spend more on individual rods and reel but after a bit of luggage, tripod etc we have all we need but the carpists and matchmen need so much more guff to take with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am glad you see it that way, bigman. With your approach there is hope for the tackle trade yet. Let me return to the nearest thing we have a superstore around here, the tackle shop that occupies an entire industrial unit. They focus on coarse fishing, and have presumably done their homework. I would guess that they have between 100 and 200 rods in stock, from top-end Shimano kit to cheapies, and at least 100 reels, as well as vast quantities of terminal tackle, pre-packed baits and a clothing section that would not look out of place in a high street department store. Sadly their sea fishing section is negligible. Are sea anglers really not worth bothering with?

As for whether such big stores would work if rolled out on a larger scale, I think the answer is yes. There is a saying in the retail sector that "what you don't show you don't sell". It's the principle that supermarkets operate on - how often have you gone shopping and come back with stuff you never even knew you needed? Tackle shops have always attracted anglers like magnets, offer a"shopping destination" experience and sales will increase. As for how to finance it, that of course is another matter. But I am sure it can be done.
 

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Are sea anglers really not worth bothering with?


I will share some figures with you when i made a comparison between sea and carp anglers-my 2 biggest markets. Again they are based on only my experience but first I'll tell you that i am know as a sea angling shop, in a sea angling county smack bang in the middle of the biggest (and best!) sea angling club in the county. As a guess i would say that my shop is 60% sea tackle, 30% carp and 10% match-financially and physically in tackle and space.

I recorded every single transaction for 2 months, what they bought, who bought it, how much it cost me and what i made on it.

The customers through the door were 31% carp, 59% sea and 10% match. Yet, of the profit i made over that 2 month period 56% came from the carpists, 30% from the sea anglers 14% from the match boys.

The average spend of a carpist was double that of sea angler.

I'll try and illustrate 'average' anglers for a session.

Sea: 2 x rods @ £100 each, 2 x reels @ £100 each, line @£10, luggage @ £40, hooks @ £2, weights @ £6, bait @ £5, tripod @ £25. thats £488

Carp: 3 x fishing rods @ £100 , 3 x fishing reels @ £100, 1 spod rod @ £100, 1 spod reel @ £100, Line @ £40, bivvy @ £200, bed chair @ £100, sleeping bag @ £50, cooker @ £30, branded cookware @ £40, alarms @ £200, stainless banksticks and buzz bars @ £60, luggage @ £150, barrow @ £100, bait @ £30 (easily!!) spods @ £10, marker floats @ £10, various pva @ £20, hooks @ £4, swivels @ £3, a selection of trace lines @ £14 (per 25m spool!!!!) clips and links @ £10, leaders @ £10. That's £1881 and most sea anglers have never even seen a 'proper' tackle tart until they have seen some of these boys bivvied up! I am what most would refer to as a tackle tart but i'm not even in the same league as some of the bivvy trogs.

Then there are the match boys with there £2k poles, £500 boxes plus a whole host of gubbins.

I dont want anyone to get me wrong though-i am not criticising sea anglers. I am a sea angler through and through will continue to stock my place as well as i can but business wise i'm sorry to say it's not where the money is! Why? i'm not sure but i would take an educated guess that sea anglers have traditionally always been able to collect there own bait, and excluding the last 70 or 80 years (???) have had to thus have always taken a more thrifty route?

It makes a nice change to have a sensible debate on here!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I know the focus always seems to be on coarse, especially carp fishing, rather than sea angling. It often amazes me that shops in seaside towns just a stone's throw from the beach are filled with freshwater gear, and can only offer a couple of handlines and some disgusting kit to fish off the local harbour wall. That sort of experience does more harm than good in the long run.

Don't forget that there are tackle tarts on the beach as well. Consider this: 2 Zziplex rods at £350 each, 2 Daiwa 7HT Mags at around £200 each (plus a spare, of course), a couple of spools of F1 at £14.00, tackle box with backrest, £50 plus another £50 in hooks, rigs and leads, a decent tripod at £45 and a shelter at £55 (if you can find one), a top of the range headlamp at £100 plus, and at least £30 in bait. That brings you up to getting on for £1700, without taking into account the spare matched pair of Centuries sitting in the rod rack waiting for winter, with a pair of 525 Mag Xtras to go with them. Or the occasional bulk order for 100 peeler crab.

I'm not saying sea angling will ever displace carp fishing, but the potential is there. The question is, how to exploit it.
 

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Don't forget that there are tackle tarts on the beach as well. Consider this: 2 Zziplex rods at £350 each, 2 Daiwa 7HT Mags at around £200 each (plus a spare, of course), a couple of spools of F1 at £14.00, tackle box with backrest, £50 plus another £50 in hooks, rigs and leads, a decent tripod at £45 and a shelter at £55 (if you can find one), a top of the range headlamp at £100 plus, and at least £30 in bait. That brings you up to getting on for £1700, without taking into account the spare matched pair of Centuries sitting in the rod rack waiting for winter, with a pair of 525 Mag Xtras to go with them. Or the occasional bulk order for 100 peeler crab.
That list doesn't even begin to amount to the tackle in some sea anglers garage (including mine) but you can then go and say the same about the tarty carp anglers. A bivvy trog in my town had his stuff nicked about 6 months ago...£20k!!!!!!! and i wouldn't even say that he was kitted out with the very best of everything.

I'm really not trying to be pesemistic about sea anglers and sea angling but i'm afraid the retail situation as it is at the moment tell's it's own story.

But if you gave me £2 million a unit the size of a good supermarket i would have a bloody good go at it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If I had the cash, you and I would already be in partnership and I would no longer be sitting in front of a computer all day. But such is life. It is always the retailer who suffers most in a recession, but that only makes the situation worse. If there were more places to buy top-end gear off the shelf at sensible prices, there would be a lot more sold ..... however, I have enjoyed the discussion, bigman. Many thanks for your take on the tackle world.
 

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Hi guys,
Just come across the post and looking at all that has been said I must agree with Rich. He and I are in exactly the same position, small shops in small towns and as such you have to try and cater for all disciplines of fishing. We have a ranges of carp, sea, fly, match etc but the trouble is all of these things take up space. When you have a small shop it is difficult to know what to stock because if you ordered 99 per cent of rods, reels, line etc etc you can guarantee that the next 10 people through the door want the 1 per cent that you haven't got!
The only way the likes of us can compete with the so called big buys is with buying power for discounts. This can only come from sales and sales are reliant on service and price.
I'm not going to go banging on about support your local tackle shop etc as that argument has been done to death. The main thing is that for people to compare small tackle shops to big warehouse retailers such as Veals is a little unfair.
As Rich says we are all trying our best and we can all get products in if we are asked but as far as stocking shops go, we have to cater for the majority who unfortunately are not going to spend hundreds of pounds all the time.
I think the key is, ask! You can only be told no but you might be surprised at what the little guys can do!
Rambling over! lol!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi guys,
Just come across the post and looking at all that has been said I must agree with Rich. He and I are in exactly the same position, small shops in small towns and as such you have to try and cater for all disciplines of fishing. We have a ranges of carp, sea, fly, match etc but the trouble is all of these things take up space. When you have a small shop it is difficult to know what to stock because if you ordered 99 per cent of rods, reels, line etc etc you can guarantee that the next 10 people through the door want the 1 per cent that you haven't got!
The only way the likes of us can compete with the so called big buys is with buying power for discounts. This can only come from sales and sales are reliant on service and price.
I'm not going to go banging on about support your local tackle shop etc as that argument has been done to death. The main thing is that for people to compare small tackle shops to big warehouse retailers such as Veals is a little unfair.
As Rich says we are all trying our best and we can all get products in if we are asked but as far as stocking shops go, we have to cater for the majority who unfortunately are not going to spend hundreds of pounds all the time.
I think the key is, ask! You can only be told no but you might be surprised at what the little guys can do!
Rambling over! lol!
Hi mate, I am not saying you and Rich a re wrong, far from it. The world would be a poorer place without small, local tackle shops selling local bait and local knowledge as well as hardware. But from the customer's point of view, how do you know what to ask for if you haven't actually seen the kit in question? Of course you can't stock it all, but where else should we look?
 

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I think the solution would be to have more tackle shows throughout the country. There are lots that cover coarse and game tackle but the current tackle shows offer very little sea tackle. If we had decent tackle shows throughout the country with all the major tackle manufaturers present we could get to look at and handle all the latest gear. You could have a casting field where you can try all the rods and reels that way when your ready to buy a new rod or reel etc you can go to your local shop and order with confidence.
 
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