The start of 2020 has seen a huge rise in the world of e-commerce, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The most recent reports suggest that online shopping was up more than 30% in the first six months of 2020 when compared to the same period last year.
This presents an opportunity for savvy investors and business leaders to capitalise. Philip Rodrigs has been fast to bolster his already-strong Raynar Flagship portfolio with new, timely additions within the online shopping and property market sectors.
By taking advantage of the structural trend towards online shopping and working from home, he has made a smart move and is sure to reap its rewards. As such, the well-known name has acquired significant shares in three leading businesses; Purplebricks, Gear4Music, and Angling Direct in recent months.
The move comes after much consideration surrounding the changes that Covid-19 has brought about. “It seems that a lot of people have reassessed the personal living space,” Philip Rodrigs recently told Investment Week, as well as saying that he was “a firm believer that working from home has structurally increased permanently”.
Purplebricks and the Changing UK Property Market
Back in July, Philip Rodrigs bought shares in the company, Purplebricks. The landmark move helped the business move up from around 12% to more than a fifth of the overall fund. The influx of cash enabled the British online estate agents to strengthen their finances and it has helped with the business’ balance sheet.
In the wake of the global pandemic, the company has seen a couple of major changes. First of all, there has been a pause in stamp duty in the UK, meaning many buyers no longer have to pay arbitrary tax on their property purchases of more than £300,000.
Aside from that, as lockdown measures are lifted in the country, there has been a fast surge in demand, meaning that more property investors are now flooding the market. All of the above means that the property market in Britain is set to rise in the coming months. Businesses, like Purplebricks, have already seen a surge in buyers.
Gear4Music and the Boost in Online Retail
Of course, one of the biggest sectors to have benefited from the Covid-19 pandemic is e-commerce. The boost in online sales has made it clear that this is an industry, which will continue to grow as we move forward into the coming years. For that reason, it should come as no surprise that Philip Rodrigs has invested heavily in the area.
“It is unarguable that delivery of retail and services through the internet has structurally increased. It was structurally increasing anyway, but there’s been a massive acceleration and a lot of people who maybe hadn’t tried it before have been forced to try it and that has materially opened up the scope for that trend,” Rodrigs recently told Investment Week.
Gear4Music is an online seller of music equipment. That places the online retailer in a prime position to capitalise on the spike in people learning music from the comfort of their homes. When the pandemic hit, the retailer saw a strong surge in demand for its equipment, as people around the world began to take up new, home-based hobbies.
Thanks to that change, Gear4Music has almost quadrupled since March, making it the perfect investment opportunity. That left space for Philip Rodrigs to step in and purchase shares. After he did so, the business almost doubled in value once more.
Angling Direct and a Modern Approach to Retail
While Gear4Music purely sells equipment online, Philp Rodrig’s next purchase takes a different approach. Angling Direct has both brick and mortar stores as well as a strong and growing online presence. Philp Rodrig told Investment Week that the business had “a modern approach to retail in what is a very traditional mom and pop retail industry”.
Since sign-ups to fishing clubs across the country rose amid the pandemic, the angling retailer seemed like an obvious choice for any smart investor. Philip Rodrigs noted that there had been a steady growth in the sector and it had seen an increase in sales after the physical stores were able to reopen in June.
“They have a very prudent balance sheet and at one stage their cash balance was half of their market capitalisation. So, [Angling Direct is] a very strongly capitalised business that is benefiting,” said Philip Rodrigs.
The Raynar Portfolio is going strong, having surpassed £50 million in assets. Philp Rodrigs has said that he is ‘delighted’ with this growth and has been ‘positively surprised’ by the number of inbound inquiries into the business. After starting a mere eight months ago, it’s evident that this is a portfolio and, indeed, an investor that should be on our radar.
Formerly a partner in UK Equities, Philip Rodrigs is proving himself to be one of the most intelligent portfolio managers of his time. By seeing opportunities in the market and following trends brought on by the pandemic, he is primed for investment success.
What’s more, it seems he has his sights set on big things. “We are looking to build steady performance over time, so it is great that we have got sector-leading performance in the very short term, but that is not going to change our approach,” he told Investment Week.