Investors happily shopped for RetailMeNot’s shares in its public market debut

Everybody loves a good deal.
Everybody loves a good deal.
Image: Courtesy of Nasdaq
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It’s one of the most beloved words in the english language, and the new Nasdaq ticker symbol for RetailMeNot: SALE. Shares of the online coupons company have risen by more than 30% today in its debut as a public company. Its performance after its IPO gives it a valuation of about $1.4 billion.

RetailMeNot’s performance also helped competitor Groupon, whose stock rose almost 1% today, even as the Nasdaq fell by nearly that much. The two online coupon companies have different business models, though. Groupon offers deals of the day, delivered by email, often from local merchants. RetailMeNot has several websites with searchable databases of coupons from more than 60,000 retailers and brands.

Last year, RetailMeNot’s revenues grew to $144.7 million. Its net income rose from $2.3 million in 2010 to $26 million last year. With more than 450 million visits last year, it’s now the biggest online coupons marketplace.

Online coupon company LivingSocial isn’t faring as well. Still private, it followed the daily deal model of Groupon. But as daily deals waned in popularity, Groupon branched out, and LivingSocial fell behind. Groupon is becoming more like RetailMeNot, beefing up website deals and getting into mobile payments.

Meanwhile, LivingSocial laid off employees after posting a net loss of $650 million, when it let go of about 400 staffers. Its poor performance is bad news for its backers, including Amazon, which recently made an additional $56 million investment to boost the company. LivingSocial may be knocking on Amazon’s door again soon.