Less than a year ago, the shares of the two largest online florists, 1-800-Flowers.com and FTD.com, appeared headed for penny-stock status. As if sprayed by a quick-grow potion, the values of their stocks have since grown more than fivefold.
The latest sign of the companies' growth spurt came Wednesday, as FTD.com reported its fourth consecutive profitable quarter and projected that it would remain in the black for the rest of the year.
Shares of Downers Grove, Ill.-based FTD have steadily risen from a 52-week low of just over a dollar in December to a closing price Wednesday of $8.02. Rival 1-800-Flowers.com has climbed from a low of $2.50 in November to $13.30 on Wednesday.
Both companies say they owe their turnarounds to their ability to keep costs low, the flower-buying public's familiarity with their brand names, and the broadening of their product offerings to more than just flowers.
"Our gift business grew 140 percent from the same quarter last year," said Michael Soenen, FTD.com's chief executive. "The non-floral segment is now 10 percent of sales."
Non-floral gifts are such items as chocolates, wreathes and greeting cards. Ken Young, a spokesman for Westbury, N.Y.-based 1-800-Flowers.com, said non-floral gifts make up about 40 percent of that company's revenue.
Michael Soenen, FTD.com CEO and President, talks to CNET Radio's Brian Cooley about where success in the
Young said 1-800-Flowers.com, which has not yet shown a profit, expects next month to report a second-quarter profit on an EBITDA basis, which is earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.