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Moonpig plans £1bn flotation as sales soar amid pandemic

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Moonpig/PA</span>
Photograph: Moonpig/PA

Online greetings card and gift retailer Moonpig is planning a £1bn stock market flotation, after the coronavirus pandemic sent its sales and profits soaring.

Moonpig Group, owned since 2016 by private equity firm Exponent, could announce its intention to list as early as next week. The company, which also trades as Greetz in the Netherlands, is believed to be targeting a valuation in excess of £1bn. Moonpig declined to comment on the planned initial public offering, first reported by Sky News.

A decision to float would follow a record Christmas for the group, best known for its humorous greetings cards, which added a million customers during the first lockdown in 2020.

It sells cards for a range of occasions, most of which can be personalised, before being posted directly to the recipient. Its website also offers gifts including flowers, champagne and chocolates.

Moonpig delivered 45m cards in 2020 in the UK and the Netherlands, bought by 12 million customers, with the British market representing around two-thirds of its business.

The retailer has reported a surge in sales and profits have soared during the last year, rising 137% to £33m, as multiple lockdowns closed the doors of many of its high street competitors such as Clintons.

Moonpig’s fortunes contrast with the misery of bricks and mortar retailers including card and stationery chain Paperchase, which filed a notice to appoint administrators at the start of January.

The retailer is chaired by Kate Swann, who was previously chief executive of high street stationer WH Smith, and it has been advised on a potential listing by investment banks Citi and JP Morgan.

Moonpig was founded two decades ago by Nick Jenkins, who named the firm after his schoolboy nickname, using money earned while a commodities trader at Glencore.

Jenkins made £42m in 2011 from the sale of the business to online photo printing company Photobox, which was subsequently bought by private equity firms Electra and Exponent.

Photobox and Moonpig were split into separate businesses in 2019, with Moonpig the more successful of the two.

The UK’s online greetings card market leader, Moonpig believes there is still huge growth potential in the online cards sector where it competes with brands including Funky Pigeon. The retailer also expects to continue its recent success in the first few months of 2021, as the UK remains in lockdown and non-essential stores are closed, and it is already anticipating a successful Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.