Hotter signs up partners for new multibrand platform, Q1 is strong
Hotter Shoes owner Unbound Group said on Thursday that it has “secured a number of partner brands” to join its forthcoming online multibrand retail platform serving the 55+ demographic.
The stock exchange-listed business, which is expanding from comfort footwear into a wider shoes, clothing and — later — wellness offer, currently has customer database representing some 30% of the UK 55+ female population.
That’s clearly a big plus for potential partner brands and while it didn’t name any of its new partners, it did also release a trading update for the first quarter to early May that shows its core demographic continues to buy into its proposition.
That bodes well for the new platform that launches in September (participating brands will be named in July). But for now, it continues to perform strongly based on its regular monobrand offer.
The company said it delivered a double-digit revenue rise in the latest quarter, as well as an improvement in the gross margin.
It's also seeing the benefits of its omnichannel strategy with the performance of its stores being "especially pleasing". That follows an earlier clear-out in which the company closed a large number of its stores in order to focus on a more concise, high-performing group of shops.
And it added that its active customer base continues to grow with the email database currently adding up to more than a million people.
That has all been achieved despite the well-publicised problems facing the UK economy, including surging inflation, supply chain issues and the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The company said it expects the outlook for the external environment to be challenging for the rest of this financial year, but its own performance highlights the strength of its brand and the resilience of its business model – as well as its ability to adapt at pace.
CEO Ian Watson said: “I am delighted that the progress we have made in transforming Hotter continues to be translated into improved financial performance. The development of the Unbound Group platform is gathering pace and we have secured a number of exciting launch partner brands within footwear and apparel. We are engaged in positive discussions with a number of additional potential partners that will further develop our footwear and apparel offer and launch our wellness proposition, to be followed by other target categories in phased implementations. We continue to be guided by our unique insight of our consumer base as we curate a range of products specifically for our target audience.”
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