London-based ATTRAQT (ATQT:AIM) is a small online and mobile display and inventory control technology start-up that is leveraging its Freestyle platform to become a trusted digital partner to many otherwise traditional retailers. Superdry, North Face, Timberland, Vans and Tesco’s F&F fashion brand are customers, among others.

The company’s update on Fredhopper today, bought in March, is flying under the radar of most investors – the share price remains flat at 44.5p. But it shouldn’t.

Scale at a stroke

ATTRAQT bought Fredhopper in a £25m cash deal in January, a cloud-based provider of onsite search, navigation and visual merchandising solutions to online retailers. That deal forced the company to suspend trading in its shares under listing rules because the deal constituted a reverse takeover, or in other words, when one company buys another business which is much larger in size. Share dealing resumed on completion of the acquisition on 8 March.

In short, integration is now complete across a number of levels from executive team, sales and account management and product development, with the group offering both Fredhopper and Freestyle merchandising products. Interestingly, a new vice-president of sales in North America has also been appointed, spearheading efforts in one of the key markets for international growth.

‘ATTRAQT had done well in the smaller and mid-tier market while Fredhopper had been most successful in larger retail organisations, generally those with their own IT department and infrastructure,’ explains Peter Roe of the TechMarketView website.

‘Whilst the deal with Fredhopper was primarily about creating scale to more effectively exploit the global growth opportunity, the group confirmed the potential for significant cost savings through better management and forward planning of the hosting infrastructure,’ explains Tintin Stormont, analyst at N+1 Singer.

Interestingly, Stormont points out that while ATTRAQT has yet to quantify this amount, ‘there is little in our forecasts by way of cost,’ she says.

The broker is anticipating maiden full year pre-tax profit from ATTRAQT in 2017 of £1.1m, a big step up from the £1.8m equivalent loss the 12 months to 31 December 2016. Revenues this year are set to go from £3.6m to £14.9m. Sales and pre-tax profits in 2018 are pencilled in at £20.4m and £2.6m respectively.

Shopping future is online

The internet is fast becoming the destination of choice for shoppers. Online sales across the entire retail sector, excluding food, have been outpacing in-store growth for some time. Online sales grew 18% last year (2016) and have soared by 27% over the past two years, according to figures from BDO, an accountancy firm. Bricks and mortar shop sales fell over both periods.

That represents a massive opportunity for ATTRAQT, with its best in class technology demonstrably improving client sales conversion rates, improving repeat business and streamlining benefits behind the scenes.

‘The combination with Fredhopper has transformed ATTRAQT in terms of its scale, financial profile, and market opportunity,’ says N+1 Singer’s Stormont.


Issue Date: 17 May 2017