The initial public offering market is seeing an influx of activity, and although the retail and apparel sectors made scarce appearances on the New York Stock Exchange last year, 2018 might be one for the record books.
As fashion continues to flirt with Wall Street, the industry is seeing an increase in the number of companies with the potential to go from private to public. Here, the IPOs to keep an eye on this year.
1. Rent the Runway
Despite co-founder Jennifer Fleiss’ exit last March, the clothing and accessories rental business appeared to be poised for an IPO, especially after it managed to raise a $60 million Series E investment in late 2016, led by mutual fund corporation Fidelity. (According to Forbes, it was the largest round that year for a female-helmed startup.) More recently, Rent the Runway landed a $20 million investment from Alibaba co-founders Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, valuing the company at just under $800 million. With the capital influx, its logical next steps would be to continue to pursue international expansion, launch more brick-and-mortar stores and possibly go public.
Last year, rumors surfaced that the luxury fashion e-tailer was in the process of preparing for an IPO that would value it at up to $5 billion. Now that figure has reportedly risen to $6 billion. (For reference, main competitor Yoox Net-a-Porter Group boasts a market value of 5 billion euros, or nearly $6.2 billion. And notably, NAP founder Natalie Massenet joined the Farfetch team as co-chairwoman last February.) According to the Financial Times, the London-based company has already been in talks with bankers from JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs. Farfetch also recently entered into a multiyear e-commerce deal with British department store chain Harvey Nichols — the latest in a string of partnerships this year — as speculation of a public offering continues to grow.
Formerly known as JustFab Inc., TechStyle Fashion Group is the parent company of a number of membership-based brands, including footwear subscription service ShoeDazzle and Kate Hudson’s athleisure line Fabletics. Hudson herself took to Recode‘s Code Commerce event in late 2016 to express her desire for TechStyle to go public, but it wasn’t until reports of Rihanna’s collaboration with the company on a lingerie label that talk of a public offering truly emerged. The celebrity-driven brand would certainly boost the company’s platform should it decide to file for an IPO.