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As the IPO Market Heats Up, Here Are the Fashion & Footwear Companies Going Public in 2021

The IPO market is flourishing in 2021. In many cases, footwear and apparel companies are leading the charge.

In August alone, footwear brands Allbirds and On filed for initial public offerings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The following month, On priced its IPO above its target range to raise $746.4 million, selling 31.1 million shares for $24 each.

Additionally, Authentic Brands Group, which owns numerous fashion and entertainment brands, filed for an IPO in July. And plus-size retailer Torrid, which also has a shoe line, also filed in the same month.

Overall, a favorable retail environment is spurring these fashion and footwear IPOs at a critical juncture for many companies.

Across the board, major retailers and shoe brands posted sales increases and earnings beats in recent quarters, highlighting recovery across the industry. In many cases, record-breaking sales numbers spurred a renewed desire to invest in the retail sector.

“Investors are looking for companies with strong growth potential,” said Matt Powell, senior sports industry adviser for The NPD Group Inc. “The footwear business is strong right now, so there is a lot of interest.”

From Affirm to ThredUp, here are the most notable fashion and footwear IPOs this year so far. Check back for more updates.

Affirm

Affirm Holdings Inc., which provides installment loans for online shoppers, filed to raise $935 million in its listing in January. The company, founded by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin in 2012, sold 24.6 million shares of its Class A stock at $49 apiece. In April, Affirm acquired returns platform Returnly after it made a 2019 investment in the platform.

Allbirds

When it filed for an IPO in August, sustainable footwear brand Allbirds outlined an ambitious new eco-friendly structure for going public that would help the company prioritize environmental and social goals. In its filing, Allbirds highlighted net revenue growth, from $126 million in 2018 to $219.3 million in 2020. However, the company also revealed a net loss of $25.9 million in 2020.

Authentic Brands Group

ABG, the company behind multiple headline-making brand and retailer acquisitions, filed for an IPO in July. Helmed by Jamie Salter and Nick Woodhouse, the firm has a portfolio of more than 30 brands, including Nine West, Forever 21, Juicy Couture, Frye, Eddie Bauer, Tretorn, Bandolino, Sports Illustrated, Marilyn Monroe and Shaquille O’Neal, who helped the company secure its newest acquisition target: Reebok.

Dr. Martens

The heritage boot maker has been on quite a ride during the past few years. Propelled by a strong performance by its e-commerce platform and sales increases in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as China, the company debuted on the London Stock Exchange in late January and raised $1.8 billion, or 1.3 billion pounds.

On

In September, running brand On priced its initial public offering above its target range to raise $746.4 million, selling 31.1 million shares for $24 each. In its filing, the Roger Federer-backed Swiss running brand described itself as “one of the fastest-growing scaled athletic sports companies in the world,” with net sales growing at an 85% compound annual growth rate. Analysts are currently split on their recommendations regarding On.

Poshmark

Peer-to-peer shopping platform Poshmark Inc. raised $277 million in its January IPO. In its filing with the SEC, the company noted that revenues during the first three quarters of 2020 increased 28% to $192.8 million. It also saw a profit of $20.9 million over the same timeframe, compared with losses of $33.9 million in the year prior. Like ThredUp, Poshmark benefitted from a pandemic-driven surge in resale.

Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway, a fashion rental firm founded in 2008, filed in July. The company raised $357 million in its IPO in October, for a valuation around $1.5 billion. Rent the Runway’s stock market debut comes after the company canceled its unlimited subscription model in September and announced that it would close units in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago to focus on its digital operations.

ThredUp

Shares of ThredUp Inc. opened 30% above the listing price on its first day of trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market in March. The Oakland, Calif.-based resale platform sold 12 million shares and raised $168 million at a valuation of about $1.3 billion. In 2020, ThredUp’s revenue grew 14% year-over-year to $186 million. At the end of 2020, it had 1.2 million active buyers. ThredUp currently powers resale for major players such as Walmart, Madewell and Vera Bradley through its resale-as-a-service technology.

What Else We’re Watching:

Saks, the e-commerce arm of Saks Fifth Avenue, is said to have started preparations to file for an IPO. The luxury retailer’s e-comm business is reportedly targeting a valuation of around $6 billion in the first half of 2022.

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