UK’s largest shoe manufacturer with a strong focus on comfort and service

 

Investment valuations

As at 30 September 2021
£m

2020
£m

2019
£m
2018
£m
Investment valuations 30.3 5.8 35.0 15.0

The Hotter Business provides footwear with uncompromising focus on comfort and fit, delivered through the use of differentiated technology, to consumers in the UK and US predominantly in the over 55 plus demographic. Founded in 1959, originally as a slipper manufacturer, Hotter today offers a wide range of men’s and women’s footwear with a focus on comfort technology. The Hotter Business now operates as a digitally-led omni-channel proposition through online and wholesale channels, supported by a strategically selected network of 17 technology centres and six gardens centre concessions across the UK.

Having undergone a significant transformation which started before the Covid-19 pandemic, the brand has pivoted towards digital channels whilst maintaining a right-sized and profitable store portfolio. The result is a digitally-led business which is agile, flexible and scalable, yielding strong returns from its leading online business.

Hotter’s mission is to provide footwear that enhances its consumers lives by allowing them to do more of what they enjoy. Whilst operating from a lower revenue base in the financial year ended 29 January 2021, Hotter is now a digital-first brand with higher quality revenues as a result of the successful repositioning of the business following its strategic transition to an e-commerce focussed direct to consumer business. Hotter now serves over 29 per cent. of the UK’s female population over the age of 55 direct to their home. In the first six months of its current financial year to January 2022, Hotter's direct to consumer sales have grown by 39%. on the corresponding period in 2020.

Following the implementation of a technology infrastructure to support its developing e-commerce ambitions, Hotter has established digital partnerships with a number of parties that serve a wide demographic - including Hotter’s targeted consumers. 

Sales through these partnerships have grown by 28%. in the six months to 31 July 2021 compared with the same period in the prior year.

Hotter continues to demonstrate delivery as an e-commerce focussed business and with further product improvements being introduced on an ongoing basis the Directors have confidence that a standalone Hotter has the opportunity to deliver value well in excess of that assigned to it in recent valuations. The demonstration of sustained growth and profitability in its new model and the resilience and performance to date give the Directors grounds for confidence in its development as an increasingly profitable digital business serving its target demographic of 55 plus in the UK, the US and beyond. 

Current Hotter trading has remained strong and extremely pleasing in light of the market wide supply chain issues and other headwinds facing e-commerce businesses. For the half year period ending July 2021, the Hotter Business generated EBITDA of £2.5 million from revenue of £25 million (on an FRS basis). Over the 12 months to October 2021, the Hotter Business generated revenue of £50.4 million with gross margins and costs consistent with those envisaged in the medium-term guidance given at the Unbound Group capital markets day on 15 September. 

In the third quarter we have seen a continuation of the key trends underlying the Hotter Business, including direct to consumer driven revenue growth, gross margin expansion and a rapidly accelerating capture of email addresses taking its database to over one million, up from 850,000 in September 2021. App downloads continue to accelerate and there is a continuing recovery in sales within our retail channel.

The Hotter Business is seeing an improvement in the supply chain disruption which occurred at the start of the Autumn/Winter season in August and September 2021. The Hotter Business’s UK manufacturing facility has provided additional resilience and the reopening of supplier factories following Covid-19 lockdowns in India and Vietnam has allowed product availability to recover in October 2021, with further progress expected before the key November 2021 trading period. Product demand has remained high during this period of disruption and the Hotter Business’s direct-to-consumer focussed model allows some level of back-orders to be accumulated that are being satisfied as components and finished goods become available. 

The impact on costs arising from the supply chain disruption has been primarily in relation to incoming freight costs to accelerate raw material delivery on the reopening of supplier factories. Supply chain disruption has resulted in increased levels and costs of air freight. These costs are reflected in the trading results over recent months, but also represents future opportunities for cost reduction as the supply chain reset continues and supply via sea freight is restored. 

WEBSITE:

www.hotter.com

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER:

Ian Watson

VALUATION:

Based on multiple earnings

 
 
 

DATE OF INITIAL INVESTMENT:

January 2014

 
 
 

TYPE OF DEAL:

Buyout