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Hotter Shoes to expand beyond footwear after float

Lauretta Roberts
17 August 2021

Hotter Shoes will expand beyond its core market of comfort footwear into the realms of wellness and active apparel after its planned float later this year.

Parent company Electra Private Equity is set to demerge its hospitality brand, TGI Fridays, into a new entity called Hostmore, leaving Hotter Shoes as the sole brand owned by Electra.

Electra will then launch on London's junior stock market AIM later this year, when it will rebrand as Unbound Group PLC (it is seeking permission from shareholders for the name change).

Unbound intends to leverage Hotter's brand and reputation in the market to create a marketplace "delivering a range of products and services that support the wellbeing and active lifestyles of our chosen customer community."

The range of products on offer will include apparel and wellness brands alongside third party complementary brands.

"Unbound will be the parent company of Hotter and the foundation of a fast growing e-commerce business serving and enhancing the lifestyles, health and wellbeing of our targeted customer community.  We anticipate that Unbound will offer its first products beyond footwear from H1 2022," Electra said in a statement.

Hotter Shoes has been refocusing its business with an emphasis on its digital channel with a line-up of strategically placed physical retail stores. Its focus customer is the over-55 age group which is rapidly increasing in digital literacy, more focused on health and with a high disposable income.

In the first six months of its financial year to January 2022 Hotter's UK direct to consumer sales have grown 39% on the comparable period in 2020. In the same period overall sales growth has been 25%. 

As part of the transition to Unbound, Hotter has appointed Dan Lampard as the new Chief Financial Officer, effective from 30 August 2021. Lampard has performed a number of different financial and commercial roles, most recently as CFO Glanbia Performance Nutritions.

Hotter CEO Ian Watson commented: "We are delighted with the progress we are making and welcome Dan to our team at this important time for the business. His track record of success in on-line, direct-to-consumer retail businesses will help drive our transformation as we work towards our listing on AIM and focus on delivering growth across our platform."

Electra chair Neil Watson added: "It is an absolute priority for the Electra Board that, having already successfully delivered significant value for shareholders in our realisation strategy, the value realised for our final two investments should also exceed expectations.

"Whilst we can't determine the value that the market will ascribe to Hostmore and Unbound, what we can say is that we are delighted to be planning for both companies to embark on their separate journeys as independent listed companies with the management, strategy and financial position to deliver real value growth in both the short and longer terms.

"Both businesses have the opportunity to become leaders in their chosen markets and we have every confidence that the management teams that are in place can deliver their plans - and with them significant shareholder value."

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