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Cole Haan Plans to Raise $100 Million in IPO

Cole Haan Inc. is throwing its name into the IPO ring.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission dated Feb. 14, the footwear and accessories maker announced plans to raise $100 million in an initial public offering of its common stock. The Greenland, N.H.-based company intends to list on Nasdaq under the ticker “CLHN” and offer all proceeds raised from its IPO to its selling stockholders.

“Today, the Cole Haan brand is resonating across the globe. Our customers believe in the promise of our brand and are demonstrating increased demand for our breakthrough products,” CEO Jack Boys wrote in a letter accompanying the filing. “With our foundational investments in place, Cole Haan is now a modern enterprise built for the digital future. I believe we have the scale and capabilities for sustainable and profitable growth.”

Cole Haan had begun the process of filing for an IPO back in August. Last week’s filing comes seven years after Nike Inc. sold the heritage shoe label to private equity firm Apax Partners LLP for $570 million. Apax, which also owns specialty retailer Rue21 and luxury platform MatchesFashion.com, is a major investor in the fashion and footwear spaces.

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In the year through June 1, Cole Haan reported revenues that jumped 14% to $686.6 million, while profits surged 43% to $33.1 million. More than 30% of the brand’s total sales come from e-commerce through its website and wholesale partners’ sites.

As a growing number of women are demanding both comfort and fashion-forward footwear styles, Cole Haan has capitalized on the booming athleisure movement by adding more casual shoe styles.

Its new offerings have found favor among a range of consumers, including Generation Zers, millennials and baby boomers, while the company defines its core consumer as those between 24 and 44 years old. The label has also expanded from its dress shoe offerings to casual, outdoor and sports products, which now comprise 53% of its footwear revenues.

The lead-up to Cole Haan’s IPO comes during a period of uncertainty for the footwear industry, which continues to battle with tariffs on Chinese imports (although the levies have been tempered since the height of the trade war last year), as well as broader retail challenges evidenced by high-profile bankruptcies and widespread store closures. Other fashion enterprises that have launched IPOs in the past couple of years have had mixed results, including online luxury marketplace Farfetch and denim purveyor Levi Strauss. Some retailers, such as Hudson’s Bay Co., are even opting to go private. The last major footwear IPOs were Crocs and Heelys, both in 2006.

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