american golf, Europe’s leading multi-channel specialist retailer of golf equipment and accessories, said sales rose 20% to £86.6m in the 12 months to January, as the nation’s amateur golfers continued to shrug off the economic gloom to improve their game.
The company, which operates a portfolio of 83 stores with a geographical bias in the North and Scotland, said a combination of positive like-for-like (LFL) sales, the acceleration of its store rollout and refit programme and the strong growth of its online channel were fuelling its performance.
Commenting on current trading, the business said LFLs had accelerated sharply, reporting a 13.9% increase over the 13 weeks to 1st May.
It said the launch of several major product innovations, such as TaylorMade Golf’s new ‘white’ woods with 3D tuning technology* which debuted this season, were driving footfall and sales, together with better weather in the first quarter of the year, the success of European players in the major tournaments and the impact of the brand’s TV advertising campaigns on Sky Sports.
Following the acquisition of SW Golf Limited, the operator of the onlinegolf.co.uk brand, last March, american golf said its internet channel now represented over 15% of total sales, with further investment online planned over the next six months designed to accelerate its contribution in both UK as well as overseas markets, which now represents over 30% of the business’ online sales.
Nick Wood, Chief Executive Officer of american golf, said: “We’ve made excellent progress with our growth strategy over the last 12 months despite one of the toughest climates for retail for several decades.
“Our clear proposition as a specialist, multi-channel retailer – with the broadest range, superior product knowledge, a quality in-store execution and unrivalled value – has helped us achieve strong and sustained growth across both our store and online operations. This has enabled us to continue to drive our market share and improve our leading position.
“Looking ahead, we have an excellent opportunity to grow further by expanding our footprint in the South of England where our brand is less well represented. Our store rollout strategy, combined with further development potential in Europe through our online channel, places the group in a strong position to continue its growth.
“European players such as our own Lee Westwood and Luke Donald have risen to the pinnacle of the world game over the last two years following the dominance of US golfers like Tiger Woods. Their success is fueling domestic interest in the sport and having a positive effect on the UK golf equipment market.”
Commenting on the 25% rise in members of american golf Club, he added: “Golf benefits from a loyal, established and relatively affluent customer base of passionate amateur players, cutting across almost all age groups. The sport has a unique and enduring appeal for millions of men and women, for whom the game will be a lifelong pursuit of perfection. Our customers are increasingly turning to our brand as a trusted partner to help them on that journey. It’s not about selling clubs, bags and balls – it’s about backing the amateur golfer – week in, week, out – and helping them improve their game.”
Financial highlights in summary
- Total sales +20% to £86.6m (2010: £72.3m) to YE 31 January 2011
- Like-for-like (LFL) sales +13.9% in the 13 weeks to 1st May 2011
- Seven new stores opened last year, portfolio now at 83; six further openings planned during FY 2011/12 with more scheduled for South of England
- Over 15% of total sales now generated from online platforms, with 30% from overseas markets
- american golf Club members +25% to 713,500 (2010: 570,000)
- Technology innovations from major golf brands having positive impact on market
- Dominance of European golfers in world tournaments drives revenue growth
- Good seasonal weather conditions and TV advertising campaigns also boost product sales
american golf www.americangolf.co.uk
*TaylorMade’s white technology creates maximum contrast between the black club face and the white crown of the driver, while eliminating high-intensity ‘hot spots’ caused by reflected sunlight on gloss-finish metalwoods. 3D tuning technology allows the user to vary the lie, weight distribution and face angles of the club to provide the ultimate tailored product for their game.