Global Edition

Direct Golf UK Aims for Next Level

9.17am 4th April 2013 - Corporate

Neil Bell and John Andrew (DGUK) with Craig Bebbington and Andrew Croasdell (RBS)
Neil Bell and John Andrew (DGUK) with Craig Bebbington and Andrew Croasdell (RBS)

Direct Golf UK has secured a £3.5 million funding package backed by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to take their award-winning business to the next level.

British Class AA PGA Professional, John Andrew, set-up and established Direct Golf UK in 1991 and 22 years on it remains 100% privately owned by its founder. Now Chairman, he has taken the business from one store in Huddersfield to 21 stores across the UK, employing over 300 staff including 50 PGA Professionals, a 75,000 sq ft warehouse and the largest, most responsiveness, database of golfers to become the leading multi-channel golf retailer in Europe.

Chairman John Andrew said: “We are delighted to have made the move to RBS after being with our previous bank for 22 years. The professionalism and real desire to support our established business was evident from Craig Bebbington and his team at RBS in Leeds and this made the decision very easy.”

Since 2010, Direct Golf UK has added nine new retail outlets, including seven Nevada Bob’s sites, taking their portfolio from 12 to 21 stores as well as posting consecutive year-on-year growth figures and increasing turnover upwards of 70%.

“Our aggressive retail openings in the last few years were funded purely from our own cash flow. A poor summer in 2012 increased this pressure on our cash flow, which meant I had to personally inject over £500k into the business – although I am sure many SME’s did the same. As a result, we sought funding to allow us some room to breathe and this funding package with RBS allows us to focus on the future of our business, to pay our suppliers and take our settlement discounts, which add up to a considerable amount over a period of 12 months” added the Direct Golf Chairman.

Despite the challenging economic backdrop, the British-based retailer had remained on-course to post a fourth-consecutive year with record revenues (up 23%) for the first half of the 2011-2012 financial period. However, the wettest summer on record for 100 years, led to the number of rounds of golf played being down by over 30% during the key season and therefore golf-equipment sales were hugely affected.

With bumper online and in-store Christmas sales, Europe’s leading multi-channel golf retailer has made a positive start to 2013 and with the new funding package, is excited about the next phase of growth.

“The support in funding has given us the room to grow and develop our award-winning business to the next level. We’ve got some exciting plans for 2013 and the next phase in our growth” concluded Andrew.

Craig Bebbington, Relationship Director, RBS Corporate and Institutional Banking, said: “Direct Golf has a 22 year history and is now one of the largest specialist golf retailers in UK and Europe, with a presence that continues to grow across the country. The firm is led by a dedicated and golf enthusiastic management team, including many PGA professionals, with a thorough understanding of the market. We are delighted to be able to support the expansion of this sector-leading UK company and are confident that going forward our team will work hard to help the company continue to realize its ambitions.”

Direct Golf UK www.direct-golf.co.uk

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