National Vision Holdings Inc. surged in its trading debut after raising $348 million in an initial public offering, more than it had first targeted.
The shares climbed as much as 32% and were up 26% to $27.68 at 2:37 p.m. in New York Thursday.
Investors were willing to pay up for a piece of the KKR & Co.-backed eyewear retailer and its 62 straight quarters of same-store sales growth. National Vision sold 15.8 million shares on Wednesday for $22 apiece, above the marketed range of $18 to $20 each.
With 980 stores in the U.S., that consistent rise resulted mostly from an increase in the number of customers, not merely from existing customers spending more, the company said in its latest IPO filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
National Vision Chief Executive Officer Reade Fahs said in an interview Thursday that the company plans to open about 75 new locations a year. That includes America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, Eyeglass World and the Vision Center at Wal-Mart locations. At the same time, he plans to capitalize on a shift in U.S. employers’ spending on benefits.
As the cost of health care continues to rise, companies are looking to further limit costs — sometimes scaling back on employee benefits. While purchases covered by vision insurance makes up some of National Vision’s business, it has focused on customers who are paying out of pocket, Fahs said.