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RNS Number : 1745L

Unbound Group PLC

12 May 2022

Unbound Group plc

Update on Hotter Shoes trading and progress on Unbound partnership strategy

12 May 2022

Unbound Group plc (the "Company" or the "Group"), which was admitted to trading on AIM in February 2022, is pleased to provide a trading update for Q1 of the financial year ending 4 February 2023.

The Group's aim is to capitalise on the digital strengths, customer loyalty and powerful database of its core trading business, Hotter Shoes, to create a curated online multi-brand retail platform serving the 55+ demographic. The Group's growing (currently 4.6m) customer database represents some 30% of the UK 55+ female population.

Initially, the Group plans to launch its partner brand offering within footwear & apparel categories followed, in due course by a wellness offer. The Group is pleased with the high level of interest shown in the Unbound platform and, since it launched its partnership strategy in January, has secured a number of partner brands to join. The names of new partners signed to date will be announced in due course, ahead of the planned introduction of the platform, at the end of July 2022. There will be a full autumn winter launch of the platform from early September 2022.

Hotter Trading Update

Hotter has performed strongly in Q1, delivering a double-digit increase in revenue against the comparator period last year as well as an improvement in gross margin. The Company is seeing the benefits of its omnichannel strategy with the performance of the retail estate being especially pleasing. The active customer base continues to grow, with Unbound's email database exceeding 1m.

Hotter has achieved this strong performance despite the macroeconomic backdrop of rising inflation, supply chain challenges and the impact of the Russia / Ukraine conflict. The Board believes that the outlook for the external environment continues to look challenging for the remainder of this financial year, the performance highlights the strength of the Hotter brand, the resilience of the business model and the ability to adapt at pace. The Group aims to continue mitigating some of these risks while continuing to grow.

Costs are being tightly managed with marketing, variable and fixed cost efficiencies being delivered as revenue continues to grow.

The Company believes its ability to manage its cost base, its right-sized omnichannel model and in-house manufacturing give it the capability to adapt to challenging market conditions.

The Group's full year outlook remains unchanged.

Ian Watson, Chief Executive Officer, commented:

"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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ENQUIRIES

Unbound Group plc

Dan Lampard

020 3874 8300

Stifel Nicolaus Europe Limited (Nomad and Joint Corporate Broker)

Ash Burman, Nick Adams, Stewart Wallace, Francis North

020 7710 7600

HSBC Bank plc (Joint Corporate Broker)

Simon Alexander, Sam McLennan, Alex Moraru

020 7991 8888

Vico Partners

Sofia Newitt

020 3957 5045

NOTES TO EDITORS

Unbound Group plc

Unbound Group plc is the parent company for a group selling a range of brands focused on the 55+ demographic. Unbound Group will build on the solid foundation of Hotter Shoes, its current main business, to grow value through its curated, multi-brand retail platform supporting the active lifestyles of the 55+ demographic with a range of products and services. Unbound's expanded offering beyond footwear will feature a broad range of active lifestyle products and services, with third-party complementary brands featuring alongside new Unbound Group brands, as well as Hotter.

Hotter Shoes

Hotter Shoes, an Unbound Group plc company, is one of the UK's leading specialist footwear brands, selling over 1.4 million pairs of shoes per year. Hotter's footwear has an uncompromising focus on 'customised comfort' and perfect fit through the use of its differentiating technology, including its e-commerce platform, 3D foot scanner and augmented reality app which enables the consumer to try products virtually from home. Hotter has been transformed from a retail to a digitally led, omni-channel business over the past 3 years, selling its footwear to over 4 million customers via online, its direct mail order channel and its targeted 17 Technology Centres and 7 garden centre concessions in the UK. With its clearly defined, large and growing target demographic, Hotter now reaches 29% of the female population in the UK over the age of 55. Digital partnerships have recently been established with several online retailers including Next, John Lewis, The Very Group and M&S.

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May 12, 2022 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)

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