Victorian Plumbing shares fell today after Britain’s largest online bathroom products seller warned of “unpredictable” short-term trading prospects.
The wiping caused stocks to plummet up to 45% from 155p to 90p on the worst trading day since the retailer’s bumper-floating in June.
The scale of the collapse took analysts by surprise as it was surprised by relatively positive results, with sales up 29% for the year through October and an underlying profit of £ 40.1 million.
The company’s £ 850 million initial public offering was the largest ever on the Junior AIM stock exchange and made a fortune for founder Mark Radcliffe who owned £ 212 million stock from his 72% stake sold.
Like other online home retailers, it thrived during the pandemic when banned homeowners spent the money saved on recreational activities and meals to upgrade their properties.
However, the company said consumers have been spending more on leisure and less on buying household goods in recent months.
Radcliffe said, “This has been a milestone year. While the near-term outlook is difficult to predict as the world normalizes from the events of the past two years, it is inevitable that consumer buying behavior will continue to shift online.
“The board remains confident about the medium to long-term growth prospects for Victorian Plumbing.”
The decline was back to around 35% by noon: Bloomberg reported a block trade of 2.1 million shares at a market value of £ 1.97 million as part of a huge increase in volume.
Broker Numis said, “The embargo has driven channel shift and product demand, but both have returned faster than expected.
“This period also gave our direct competitors a lifeline and fuel. Taken together, circumstances that have led to a significant reassessment of the outlook for VP.
“Backed by its own brand, size and technology advantage, we still see VP as a long-term winner in the UK bathroom sector, but the journey looks to be more difficult than we had hoped. “
Radcliffe started his business selling cell phone parts on eBay in the backyard of his parents’ home in Merseyside and founded VP in 2000.