Top dog: Shares of online pet store Chewy soar in debut

Chewy, the online seller of pet food and squeaky toys, made its stock market debut Friday

NEW YORK -- It was raining cats and dogs on Wall Street.

Its shares soared 59% Friday under the symbol "CHWY," putting the company's market value at about $14 billion.

Chewy may bring to mind the failed online pet stores of the 1990s. For starters, it has never made a profit. Last year, it lost $267.9 million on revenue of $3.53 billion.

Founded in 2011, Chewy and was bought six years later by pet store chain PetSmart for more than $3 billion. Even after the initial public offering, PetSmart is Chewy's largest shareholder.

The company, based in Dania Beach, Florida, says most of its sales come from shoppers who have signed up for automatic shipments of their pet supplies. That gives Chewy a steady stream of revenue and additional time to plan shipments from its seven warehouses around the country.

Despite its losses, demand for Chewy's IPO was high. It raised just over $1 billion, with 46.5 million shares sold at $22 each. That was above the stock price the company had expected to fetch.

Shares closed at $34.99 Friday after rising as high as $41.34 during the day.