The stock of the maker of Tootsie Pops has spiked to a record as retail traders pour into heavily shorted issues fueled by excitement over GameStop's meteoric surge.
Shares of Tootsie Roll Industries soared as much as 53% into record territory Wednesday, adding to its gains this week, and triggering a brief trading pause. As of 11:23 a.m. in New York, the stock had pared its advance to 14%. A spokesman for the company didn't immediately comment.
The company, which makes its namesake candy along with other consumer brands like Junior Mints, has had a challenging year as traditional candy consumption events like Halloween and birthday parties were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales fell 14% in the latest quarter and both planned and impulse purchases of the products declined.
But while falling retail sales traditionally lead to lower share prices, Reddit-charged day traders have been piling into previously unloved tickers in recent sessions, driving them to record highs. Short interest in the candymaker is 46% of its float, with 22 days to cover, according to data from S3 Partners.
Ellen Gordon, the 89-year-old chief executive officer, owns just over half of the company's common shares and 81% of its B shares, according to company filings. Her stake in the business, which she owns both directly and on behalf of other family members, is now worth more than $1.8 billion at current levels.