Women’s apparel company J.Jill on Friday filed for an initial public offering, returning to Wall Street after more than a decade under private ownership.
J.Jill has applied to list its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “JILL”; the number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined, according to a press release.
Women's retailer Talbots Inc. paid more than $500 million for then-public J.Jill in 2006. Private equity firm Golden Gate Capital acquired the struggling brand three years later for a reported $75 million; London-based PE firm TowerBrook Capital Partners LP purchased J.Jill in 2015, a deal reportedly valued around $400 million.
J.Jill's IPO filing is said to have been in the works since last year, when The Wall Street Journal reported the retailer was taking steps to go public. This official announcement is a rare positive step for specialty apparel retail in recent months, as stores including Aeropostale, American Apparel, Wet Seal and The Limited have all filed for Chapter 11. It doesn’t look like American Apparel, Wet Seal and The Limited stores will be back any time soon, and J. Crew is struggling.
The filing is also a rare turnaround success for private equity, which has been blamed of late for some of those troubles as retailers take on pricey debt and aren’t afforded the time they need to turn their business around.
J.Jill's full fiscal-year 2016 revenue was $617 million, up from $432 million in fiscal year 2012, according to the Boston Business Journal. The company said in its filing that digital sales grew 15% from $23 billion to $46 billion in 2015, while its brick-and-mortar sales were flat. J.Jill expects its overseas sales to grow 4% percent annually.
J. Jill was founded in 1959 as a single store in the Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts and now encompasses more than 260 stores as well as e-commerce operations in New Hampshire, according to its website.