Hotter Shoes’ owner to rebrand as Unbound Group and relist on the AIM this month


Electra Private Equity today confirms its intention to be renamed as Unbound Group, an online multi-brand retail platform supporting the lifestyles of the 55 plus demographic, and be relisted on AIM with effect from 31 January 2022.

Electra shareholders approved the relisting on AIM at a General Meeting held on 30 December 2021.

Unbound Group PLC

Unbound said it will build on the solid foundation of its current main business, Hotter Shoes, to grow value through its curated multi-brand retail platform supporting the active lifestyles of the 55 plus age demographic with a range of products and services. Unbound’s expanded offering beyond footwear is expected to feature apparel, wellness and lifestyle products and services, with third-party complementary brands featuring alongside new Unbound brands, as well as Hotter.

Whilst continuing to develop Hotter’s footwear offering for all consumers in its targeted age demographic, Unbound intends to leverage the highly attractive customer database and scalable digital infrastructure of Hotter to support sales on the new Unbound platform of its own and third-party brands and products with related customer benefits to the same target demographic. This development of the curated platform will be through working with similarly focused partners to provide a range of products and services that support the wellbeing and active lifestyles of Hotter’s customer community.

Unbound will be led by Ian Watson who is currently chief executive officer of Hotter Shoes and will become chief executive officer of Unbound Group on the Company’s admission to AIM.

Summary of Unbound strategy

Unbound said its strategy to provide optimal opportunity for value creation included:

Following a repositioning of the Hotter business from predominantly retail to predominantly online in 2021, Hotter now sells its footwear products to over 29% of the UK 55 plus female population through its direct-to-consumer channels. Building on the strong brand, customer trust and loyalty enjoyed by Hotter, and with current digital revenues exceeding over 75% of turnover, Unbound is building a curated portfolio of partner brands to offer a selected range of products and services that will enhance the enjoyment and wellbeing of customers in the 55 plus demographic.

Cultural and demographic shifts provide a significant opportunity for Unbound to address a customer audience that is materially under-served online with the characteristics of:

  • rapidly increasing digital literacy – 55 plus demographic now generating over 30% of overall internet participation;
  • long-term structural growth in older demographics, significantly in excess of growth in younger demographics;
  • focus on health, wellbeing, leisure and recreation with a more acute need for comfort over performance; and
  • high concentration of UK wealth in the demographic results in focus for product selection being on value rather than price.

The digital platform being built by Unbound allows the development of a low risk, mutually beneficial arrangement with select partners which will provide customers in the targeted 55 plus demographic not only with relevant and lifestyle enhancing products and services but ultimately also a community platform.

Initially targeted Unbound brand partners have been identified and commercial negotiations are in progress with multiple parties.

First Unbound revenues from sales of products other than Hotter footwear expected in Q2 2022, with medium-term ambition to generate more than half of Unbound’s profit from non-Hotter products.

Hotter Shoes’ recent trading

Ian Watson, Hotter chief executive officer, Unbound chief executive designate, commented: “The creation of Unbound, and its admission to AIM, will be a significant milestone and we are excited about the opportunities ahead.

“We continue to gather excellent momentum with our new Unbound partnership strategy, and we are in early discussions with a number of potential partners.

“Hotter has continued to deliver strong growth during November and December, with revenues being +9% compared with the previous year and gross margin continuing to perform positively at 65.5%. This robust performance despite supply chain cost and availability issues, coupled with the negative impact of Omicron suppressing high street demand in the latter weeks of December is encouraging.

“With our unique focus on our 55 plus customer base, underpinned by the strength of the Hotter brand and cultural and demographic tailwinds, we believe there is a significant growth opportunity for Unbound, and we look forward to creating long-term value for our existing and new shareholders.”