Bike etailer Wiggle has clocked up surges in sales and profit and is considering an IPO or sale.
In the year to January 31, EBITDA is understood to have climbed from £7.5m to £10.5m and operating profit to have jumped 40% to £10.2m. The retailer’s accounts, still to be audited, show turnover should have rocketed 55% to £86m.
Wiggle chief executive Humphrey Cobbold said trading since year-end had remained “healthy”.
Wiggle – which lists helmets, clothing and inner tubes as its best sellers – has hired advisory firm Rothschild to explore strategic options. The etailer, which has appointed former Asda boss Andy Bond as chairman, has been valued at £200m.
Backer Isis Equity Partners wants to sell its majority share holding within the next 12 months.
Cobbold said he was “open minded” about whether to eventually opt for an IPO or a sale to a trade or private equity buyer, but said a stock market listing was a definite possibility. “There’s clearly a demand for online stocks with an international growth story. We’re an attractive business,” he said.
It is thought potential trade buyers have expressed initial interest, as well as private equity houses.
Cobbold said Wiggle’s appeal to the “serious hobbyist or enthusiast” had helped drive sales as interest in cycling and triathlons grows.
“That side of the market has been doing very well,” he said. “It’s a moderately growing market – and we’re contributing to that growth.”
Half of Wiggle’s sales come from its 88 overseas territories, up from just a quarter this time last year. Cobbold said international operations would remain a focus and the website is being translated into more languages soon.
“Over time, the UK will just be one of a number of geographies,” said Cobbold. However, he added that the UK’s “highly competitive” market remained important and that Wiggle continued to gain share.